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THE LEADER AS MAGICIAN

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Behind all the structures and policies are the symbols that are placed on organizations. Symbols come together to form the corporate culture, that “way of doing things” that drives a team. They may be the values that employees hold dear or the meaning that keeps them going back to work every day.47069_10151428646131848_2072240110_n

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz brought a cultural revival to the company after visiting many of the stores around 2007. The Starbucks culture and experience had changed after the company began using new espresso machines that blocked the customers’ view of the baristas. This and other changes commoditized the Starbucks experience and made the company feel less like a local coffee shop. In a memo Schultz wrote, “We desperately need to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks Experience.”

Such a rallying cry was symbolic but had a practical effect as the company adopted a new strategy and had a reenergized workforce. The company had been in a two-year decline, but began to earn record revenues and profits after this new vision was implemented. Employees want a bit of magic in their leaders, who can bring forth the company’s sprit and values as Schultz was able to do.

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SEEING OURSELVES AS OTHERS SEE US

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Many people work for managers who do not seem to see them or understand them. These managers do not seem to realize how they come across, and they often get tangled in hypocritical statements. They are the leaders who get ignored and see their projects stall.

These leaders suffer from personal blindness. How leaders view themselves matters much less than how others view them. They need to understand others’ perceptions of them if they want to move everyone forward. They can be more self-aware by taking the following actions:Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.34.11 pm*Ask and receive: People will open up if they are asked, but the questions should be specific to get the desired information. “What was the best part of my speech?” and “What could I have done better?” will result in more fruitful answers than “What did you think of my presentation?”

*Give gratitude: By thanking people who provide feedback, leaders will be more likely to get information the next time they ask.

*Ask before giving: Some people will be suspicious of someone who is asking for feedback, so managers may need to ease into the topic and feel out potential reviewers.

GETTING ORGANIZED

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There is no one best way to organize a company. The strategy, rules, policies, and controls should vary from company to company and may even vary from store to store. One example of this is McDonald’s, which is able to turn around food quickly and consistently across its many Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 8.18.07 pmfranchises because the company has a tight structure. That structure slipped in the 1990s, when the company stopped using inspectors to grade its restaurants on service, food, and ambience. Customers noticed–they wanted their Big Mac to taste the same no matter which McDonald’s they patronized. The company eventually brought back the inspectors (centralizing quality control), but it also allowed for tweaks in the menu by franchisees, so customers could eat McDonald’s breakfast porridge in England, for example, and McDonald’s veggie burgers in India.

However, other organizations find a looser structure is needed to be successful. The structure should fit the situation. Managers have these six basic options to choose from:

  1. Functional groups based on their knowledge or skills: This usually works best for academic settings, researchers, and engineering groups.
  2. Units based on time: Such as day versus night shifts.
  3. Groups organized by product: A tech company may split up its employees by those who work on smart phones versus those who work on tablets.
  4. Departments based on the client needs: Hospitals, for example, are broken up by the patients they serve (pediatrics vs. intensive care).
  5. Groupings around place: Global organizations may operate differently from country to country.
  6. Units divided by process: If a product or service has various steps, this setup may make the most sense.

The “right” answer for any one organization should be based on what works for the people within it and its purposes.

FRIENDS FOR THE JOURNEY

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Leaders need support from others on a variety of levels to succeed. These kinds of supporters fall into three categories:fullsizeoutput_2766

  1. Wizards are people who can offer leaders useful insights, approaches, and processes. Wizards are frequently mentors, consultants, or coaches. Wizards are often attracted to specific leaders because they want to help worthy causes or assist those they think are good leaders. The quality of generosity is one that commonly attracts wizards to specific leaders.
  2. Well-wishers are people who support others through both words and actions. Frequently, well-wishers are spouses, family members, or friends. Leaders can count on well-wishers to acknowledge their strengths, help them become their best, and accept them as the people they are.
  3. Wild cards are the least predictable kind of support as they simply turn up, or are recognized, at opportune moments. Wild cards are people who can provide needed tools or skills. Leaders who are clear about what they need to accomplish their goals are in a better position to recognize potential wild cards and take advantage of what they have to offer.

TRUSTWORTHINESS

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20170714_142853.jpgOf all the attributes leaders need, trustworthiness may be the most important. Followers will not commit to leaders they cannot trust. In a work situation, if there is no trust, the boss is just a boss, not a leader. When people do not trust their bosses they often find other jobs, and those who stay often do so grudgingly.

Leaders demonstrate their trustworthiness through five kinds of behaviors:

  1. They tell the truth as they understand it–they do not simply agree with two people with conflicting opinions just to keep the peace. Most lies eventually come to the surface, so trustworthy leaders stick to the truth and do not shade the facts to make themselves look better or to avoid difficult situations.
  2. They do what they promise. If a situation arises where leaders cannot follow through with their promises, they need to explain to their team members what has happened and what they plan to do about it. They must think carefully about how failing to keep a promise will affect certain people.
  3. They keep confidences to themselves. Trustworthy leaders know sharing confidential information is hurtful and unprofessional.
  4. They speak and act for the greater good. Sometimes this requires leaders to be tough to bring about changes they believe will benefit their organizations in the long run. In such cases, trustworthy leaders explain what they are doing and why.
  5. They are capable and get results. While the other four behaviors reflect aspects of leaders’ characters, the fifth reflects their competence to do their jobs. Leaders who are lacking in the skills and capabilities required for their jobs should put effort into building their capabilities through training or coaching. When it comes to results, leaders should be careful never to promise more than they are certain they can deliver.

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GENEROSITY

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Business leaders can be generous by sharing the success of their companies materially in the form of raises or bonuses, but there are many other ways to be generous. Followers appreciate it when leaders share credit, knowledge, and power, for instance. Being generous in attitude, by assuming that people act with positive intent, also creates a positive atmosphere in the workplace, making followers feel good and motivating them to do their best work.

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Sharing power and authority by delegating responsibility is difficult for many managers. Delegation requires more than assigning tasks; it involves giving employees responsibility for certain segments of work. Andersen outlines a three-step process for delegation:

  1. Preparation: The manager defines the area of responsibility to be handed off and how much autonomy the employee will have.
  2. Discussion and agreement: The manager and employee reach an understanding of how the hand-off will take place. To help an employee develop new skills, a manager can designate different areas of responsibility in which he or she has higher or lower confidence of the employee’s ability to perform. The manager can require different levels of reporting for the high-confidence and low-confidence areas.
  3. Support: The manager gives the employee feedback. As the worker demonstrates more skill, the manager will hand over more responsibility or reduce oversight for those areas.

Generous leaders hand out praise, credit, positive feedback, and rewards to make employees feel valued and to inspire them to work harder. They also ensure that employees have the resources they need to do their jobs properly, including training, technology, and a safe place to work.

COURAGE

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In folk tales, courage often involves facing a physical threat, but in a business situation, making a difficult choice requires a different kind courage. Business leaders often have to decide on a course of action without having access to all the facts or the time to gather extensive data. They have to commit to their decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.

 

The ability to make difficult choices is not an easy characteristic to develop. Many people are tempted to make excuses and find reasons not to make decisions or follow through. Courageous leaders rely on trusted advisers to help them determine the best course of action and develop positive self-talk, or mental monologue skills, regarding their ability to decide.

 

Courageous leaders put themselves at risk for the good of their enterprises. They are willing to support unpopular positions when they think it is the right thing to do, and they are willing to speak up when expressing their opinions could potentially have negative consequences. They might be risking their jobs if they make the wrong decisions, but they always do what they think is right. Followers would much rather see this attitude than to work for leaders who would sacrifice others to preserve their own jobs.

Leaders also show courage by taking full responsibility for their actions. Leaders who make excuses or blame others, on the other hand, disappoint their followers and end up with employees who expend a lot of effort to make sure their bosses cannot blame them if something goes wrong.You can attend out Leadership session by mailing training@prismphilosophy.com or visit http://prismphilosophy.com/about/

Courageous bosses understand the art of apologizing by:

*Saying, “I am sorry.”

*Speaking in the first person rather than the second person (which puts the blame onto others).

*Not making excuses.

*Explaining how they will fix problems.

*Following through on their commitments to change.

PASSION

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Passionate leaders are committed to things that are meaningful or important. Followers are attracted to passionate leaders because they believe leaders who are passionate will see things through to completion. Passion by itself can be dangerous, however, and it must be balanced with wisdom or trustworthiness.

fullsizeoutput_259ePassionate leaders commit honestly to what they believe in and inspire followers to commit as well. However, they are not dogmatic; they must be able to explain what they believe without making followers feel they are wrong to have different positions on the subject. In fact, leaders should encourage people to share opposing points of view and willingly listen to those views. The more passionate leaders are, the more important it is that they seek feedback and input from others who might disagree to be sure they are not carried away with their passions. You can attend Prism Leadership session by mailing to us at training@prismphilosophy.com

Leaders must do more than talk about their passions, however. They also need to act on their convictions. Leaders who say they believe one thing and act in a different manner are likely to lose followers. Passionate leaders also must remain committed to their beliefs despite setbacks. Andersen’s example of remaining committed to a passion involves an entertainment executive who was helping the organizers of a fundraiser for Rwanda. When organizers told her they were concerned they would not get the turnout they had hoped for, the executive personally emailed all her contacts to express her support for the event and to urge them to attend and donate. Thanks to her outreach, the event attracted an overflow crowd. visit www

FARSIGHTEDNESS

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People are drawn to leaders who can paint a picture of a future that they want to participate in, a future that will be good for all members of a team or company. fullsizeoutput_2767Followers see people who focus on the short term, who are only concerned about the current quarter, not as leaders but as people tied to the status quo. Farsighted leaders, on the other hand, provide a sense of purpose and see possibilities that others overlook. Henry Ford, for example, saw a future where the automobile was the main mode of transportation when others could not imagine cars being much more than an interesting oddity.

In envisioning the future, a farsighted leader does not ignore reality but aspires to something attainable. An appropriate vision should have a realistic time frame, and leaders should be able to explain what success will entail and talk confidently about what can be accomplished. Leaders must be able to speak about their visions in a compelling manner to indicate they are team projects and that everyone must contribute in order for them to succeed.

Another key behavior of farsighted leaders is the ability to see past obstacles. Leaders cannot ignore problems or become overwhelmed by them; instead, they need to devise ways to move beyond them.

DIRECTIONAL LEADERSHIP

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20170620_100936.jpgLeaders should not think they are the only ones worthy of creating and knowing corporate visions. All employees need to know their companies’ visions and how their work contributes to them. When visions are established, leaders need to build consensus. The aim must be for employees to come to work to pursue visions, not just to perform the functions of their jobs. The four challenges applying to Directional Leadership and action items related to the four challenges include:

Challenge One: Recruit support from the top 29 percent.

*Identify the top 29 percent.

*Bring the top 29 percent together as a group.

*Solicit input from the top 29 percent into the vision.

*Ask the top 29 percent to recruit the other 54 percent.

Challenge Two: Prepare the organization for change.

*Agree on unity within the leadership team. For success, all members of the team must be on the same page.

*Give the reason for the change.

*Tell employees how the change will affect them.

*Use data to tell the story — numbers and facts can be very powerful.

*Introduce the change as an improvement.

*Celebrate the past and the future.

Challenge Three: Let them know how they contribute.

*Assess how well expectations have been communicated.

*Let employees create the expectations through goal setting.

*Assess how well consequences have been communicated.

*Determine positive consequences that would drive behavior.

*Ensure the consequences motivate the behavior.

Challenge Four: Constantly communicate progress.

*Create a method to share information regularly.

*Let employees know where they stand.

*Host a quarterly vision review meeting.

MOTIVATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Employees voluntarily leave companies for many reasons, including for more money, to spend time raising a family, to move away, to go into business for themselves, or to find a better fit for themselves after a company changes direction. In fact, the vast majority of employees do not leave companies; they leave bosses. Leaders who build cultures of motivation can overcome employee disengagement and the loss of valued employees. These are the four challenges applying to Motivational Leadership and action items backing them up:

Challenge Five: Lead with positive motivation.

*Give employees something to run toward, not from.

*Ask employees what inspires them most.

*Focus on what employees are doing well and provide positive feedback.

*Focus on the best by finding ways to direct attention to the top 29 percent.

Challenge Six: Celebrate small successes.

*Create an impulsive reward system.

*Establish a dedicated time to celebrate every day.

*Establish a method to celebrate every success.

Challenge Seven: Encourage life balance for all employees.

*Take advantage of technology, such as allowing an employee to work from home.

*Change to a new mindset.

*Make a list of flexibilities that might possibly be extended to employees.

*Protect employees’ time off.

*Set the example of life balance.

Challenge Eight: Create a fair work environment.

*Compensate fairly.

*Establish equitable reward systems — the same achievements should receive the same rewards.

*Be consistent when enforcing consequences.

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP

With the wrong employees in place, achieving company growth and building for the future can be impossible tasks. In creating cultures of employee engagement, leaders must be sure they have the right team of employees in place. A strong organizational structure, with the right people in the right places, is essential to a culture of strong employee engagement. People will come and go, but organizations must be robust enough to continue pursuing their visions. These are the challenges applying to Organizational Leadership and action items for the challenges:

Challenge Nine: Identify and position the appropriate talent.

*Inventory the available talent. Determine whether the right people are in the right places.

*Determine who needs to go, but first give the culture of employee engagement a chance to work.

*Recruit appropriate talent.

*Hire for leadership needs.

*Hire for attitude.

*Be honest.

*Give challenging and meaningful work. Employees become disengaged when they think their potential and time are being wasted.

*Train employees.

Challenge Ten: Build a bridge between generations.

*Understand the generations. Learn what motivates each and why they think the way they do.

*Suspend judgment long enough to first learn about people.

*Do not treat everyone the same. Understand and cater to individuals’ needs.

Challenge Eleven: Move toward real empowerment.

*Provide information.

*Give authority with responsibility.

*Share power.

*Stop solving employees’ problems.

*Get the team thinking about problems and solutions.

Challenge Twelve: Establish a strategy to maintain success.

*Create a succession plan.

*Document procedures.