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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’


I can’t stand cheap people. I don’t mind frugality, but I detest cheapness. Being frugal is not the same as being cheap. Frugality is simply being sensible with money, but cheapness is far more pervasive. It is a refusal to give, and usually people who have trouble giving monetarily hold back on everything else as well. Cheap people generally withhold affection, are not particularly helpful, they withhold information, are happy to receive but cannot reciprocate, rarely do favours for people and in my mind, are generally not very nice to have around.

In my book, Engaged for Growth, I talk about the Seven Virtues of Leadership (you can also view the Slideshare presentation of the virtues on this blog site). While all of the virtues are important, I have to say that I believe the virtue of generosity is the virtue which gives the leader the ability to leverage the most influence over others. Having a generous spirit is also pervasive. Generous people give their time, do favours for others, reciprocate easily, are helpful and supportive of others, and are generally warm and loving people.

Human nature is to want to do for those who do for you. We are socially programmed to reciprocate. For generous people, this is a no brainer. Cheap people, however, have a lot of difficulty with this concept and will always try to find ways to not have to reciprocate. They try to create loopholes that relieve them of their obligations. They make promises to give but change the criteria to suit their own needs. You cannot lead this way. Your colleagues and employees will not be able to respect you if you always do what is socially reprehensible. Most people find cheapness to be a distasteful quality. Cheap people cannot command respect, so don’t be cheap.

What should you give? Give fair compensation, give your time, give love, smile, give information and show people how to do things, buy someone a nice lunch, give sincere praise, give a referral, or give whatever you would like to be given. Just be generous and be sincere. Never give with the expectaion of receiving. That is not true generosity.

I belong to the “what goes around comes around” school of thought. I believe that treating people well brings good things into your life, and treating people badly, means you will receive bad karma. I try to do the right thing with people. I happily give a lot to people, and I will continue to give. This blog is a free gift for anyone who wants to learn and I am committed to posting informative and useful information to help people be the best they can be. It is my deepest desire to change the way employers work with their people and to enlighten those who want to lead. Leaders are models for others, and our generosity inspires those around us to be better. Failing to be generous means you fail to inspire. If you can’t inspire others, then you are not a leader.

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It may seem shallow, but we all judge books by their covers and we all create impressions of people based on what we see.  When people look at your appearance, they pass judgement about your income level, your education, your morality, your social status, your degree of sophistication, how successful you are and your trustworthiness.

How your employees perceive you will affect the degree to which they can take you seriously and that will affect the results you get from them.  If you come to work looking like you picked your clothes out of a pile at the bottom of your closet, that screams incompetence, and no one wants to follow someone who is incompetent.

Anyone who has had to hire people can tell you about the number of candidates that come through the door dressed like they’re going to a ball game or the grocery store. Managers sometimes think that because they are the boss, they can wear what they want, so they come to work with torn jeans, wrinkled shirts or stains on their clothes.

Never go to work looking unkempt or really out of style. It affects your credibility. A bad dye job or hair showing 3 inches of dark roots looks horrible. Not getting your hair cut, neglecting to shave or keep a neat beard says that you are a slob. Men with long nails and ladies who don’t wear any makeup to work create the wrong impression. Take the time to look after your appearance. Your employees will be much more receptive to whatever you have to say if you are not visually offensive.

I have seen bosses who regularly came to work smelling of booze from the night before. It’s hard to respect someone who shows no self-control in their life and doesn’t respect the work environment enough to come to work ready for the job at hand. Sorry, but no one is at their best when they are hung over.

If you don’t look right for the job, then you won’t be taken seriously, and you will have difficulty developing rapport with your employees and other co-workers.

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I regularly play a training game with my clients, which demonstrates the power of positive feedback. I divide the workshop participants into three groups and assign three leaders. The object of the game is to toss a penny against the wall and have it land on a strip of masking tape placed about two feet from the wall. The leader of each team is given a separate set of instructions which must be kept secret. One leader is to give only positive feedback to their team mates, and should continually offer encouragement by saying things like. “Good try.” “Nice technique”, etc. The second team leader is to say nothing at all. He must allow the players to just toss away pennies and make no comments of any kind. The third leader is instructed to give only negative feedback. He must make comments like, “That’s terrible!” “What are you doing?” “You suck,” etc.

I have to say that every time I play this game, the results are always the same. The team who gets positive feedback always manages to get the most pennies on the tape. The team who gets no feedback does much worse, and the team that receives only negative feedback gets the worst score of all. Interestingly, that team tries really hard to win. They support each other and offer encouragement to each other. They shut out the team leader completely, physically blocking his view of their performance. They do this every single time! It’s fascinating, and people do this at work all the time.

Think about your experiences with negative managers. How did you and your co-workers cope? Did you all gang up and complain about him/her whenever you had the chance? Were there things you tried to keep your boss from seeing? How can you use what you know about motivation to build the power of your team?

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Don’t you hate working with people who have no desire to help or do anything beyond what is written in their job description? Isn’t it frustrating to have to wait for some important information to come from a co-worker who takes her sweet old time getting things done and holds up everyone else?

I once saw a T-shirt that read, “Lead, follow or get out of the way!” I can’t tell you how many times I have come across people who made me think of that line. I do get frustrated by those who refuse to take the lead, but aren’t willing to either follow or get out of the way. How do you overcome the hurdles of working with uncooperative people? No matter what your position in a company, everyone needs to learn how to gain willing cooperation from others. Here are a few tips to help you bring about action when you need it the most:

Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Before you allow yourself to get upset about not being able to move forward on a project, take a moment to think about the other person’s priorities. The world shouldn’t have to stop and come running to help you because you have a sudden need.

Taking the time to politely explain your case and the reason why your need is so urgent, could also be helpful. Sometimes people are unwilling to do things because they either don’t fully understand why they must be done, or they don’t understand the task. Make sure you are very clear about expressing your needs. Never be demanding or hostile. That is the fast way to get shut down.

Use what you learn about your co-worker’s needs as leverage. Knowledge is power. Asking him about the projects he is working on will allow you to better understand his needs. The more you know about your co-worker’s needs the more likely you will be able to offer assistance. Offering to help him out on another project in exchange for a favour, for example, may be enough for you to get things rolling again. It’s all about give and take. You can’t expect to just take all the time. Be prepared to lend a hand whenever the need arises.

Maintain a generous spirit. People like to help likeable people. Make a point of saying hello to your co-workers and take an interest in what they have to say and the things they like to do. People love to talk about themselves, they love to hear their name and they love to hear nice things about themselves. Always be sincere in your interest and comments to others and only say nice things. The warmer and friendlier you are with the people you work with, the better your relationships will be all around.

Bring in a treat once in a while. Everybody loves a little treat. Nothing says you’re special like a surprise cup of java or a batch of cookies. It doesn’t cost much to do and the return on investment is priceless!

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Empowerment isn’t about letting your employees run amuck. It is about giving people the tools and the trust they need to make decisions that are helpful to the business. It is also about allowing them to use their creativity to find answers and take your business to new heights.

To empower your people you must first make sure everyone has lots of information. Share everything. You cannot expect great results when people don’t have a complete understanding of the business, so share the good, the bad and the ugly. Besides, withholding information creates mistrust, and no team can function effectively where there is an absence of trust.

If you want to learn more about how to empower yor employees, check out my book, Engaged for Growth. It’s a small book, but it’s packed with powerful information!

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Anyone with a background in sales and marketing will tell you we are all in Sales. People have to sell themselves and their ideas every day. This is very true, but did you know we are all in Customer Service as well? Yup. It’s true. As long as you have to work with people, or interact with people at any level, there is a certain fineness that is required to maintain a harmonious environment. That fineness involves adopting an attitude of service.

In adopting an attitude of service, you must ask yourself what you can do in the service of others, rather than what you can do to simply serve yourself. Ironically, it is in serving others that we best serve ourselves. What goes around comes around, as they say.

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Something very important is missing in our busy lives. In fact, its absence is a pretty common occurrence nowadays. We all get so caught up in our day to day rush we frequently forget to acknowledge the efforts people make in our favour.  Remember the magic word your mother taught you to say whenever someone gave you something or did something special for you? Thank you. It’s simple, isn’t it? You can say it out loud; you can write it in an email or include it in a memo. You can say it while you are walking in or out of a room, or you can pick up the phone and make a special effort to thank someone for their consideration, kindness, effort, favour, etc.  It isn’t that hard, really, and it isn’t even that inconvenient to take the time to do it. Believe me, it isn’t.

Those two words are so powerful they can completely change the emotional temperature of a room. They are so powerful they can instantly make people want to do more for you. A little appreciation goes an awfully long way.

Say thank you to your employees who come to work every day. They could have chosen to fake sick and stay home. Say thank you to your customers who give you their money. They could have chosen to give it to your competitor, or just hang onto it. Say thank you to sales reps that take the time out of their busy day to make sure you have samples and little freebies to try out. They could have just not bothered. Say thank you to your boss who keeps you working. Say thank you to your significant other for being so sweet. Thank your friends, relatives and neighbours, just because they said or did something that made you feel good.

People make efforts on our behalf all the time. Take the time to notice and acknowledge the contributions that are made. No kind act is too small to be allowed to go unnoticed. Make a call, send an email, say thank you and be grateful for all you have been given.

By the way, thank you for reading this. I really appreciate your interest.

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