When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

Strict boss talking with secretary

Written Transcript/Summary – When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

AYL Podcast #5 Summary

Category: Leadership Style

When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

Introduction: Welcome to the Advance Your Leadership podcast with Leadership Coach Bev Benwick… A dialogue meant to enhance the leadership of our listeners….a contribution to greater business success

All podcasts along with additional information are available on Bev’s website at advanceyourleadership.com

Hello – Bev Benwick here from Advance Your Leadership – Welcome.

I would like to chat today about leadership styles. More specifically I will be discussing one particular style – the controlling leadership style.

Actually I refer to it as Command and Control. Others may refer to it as a Coercive style, but whatever the name, this style has its negative aspects, but also its positive influence on people, and the overall company/or organization

What do I mean by Command and Control – Here are the behaviors we see most often from this style of leadership…

      • A highly ”telling” style.
      • Unwillingness of sharing the authority.
      • Highly directive.
      • Usually the controlling leader is overwhelmed….their plate is more than full.
      • Generally they are poor delegators? Why – no one else can do the work like they can – no one else can get things done as effectively and efficiently.
      • In their style they do not show up as promoting collaboration.
      • Often leaders who operate heavily from this style are not good relationship builders in the company/organization.

There is a positive aspect to leading from Command and Control…

      • In times of chaos….this leader’s highly directive style can readily move people along to meet deadlines.
      • Think of it like this and I will take it out of our normal work context…… If there was a fire or a massive disaster of some sort, who would you want leading the process? This is the leader who with take charge and bring order to chaos in an efficient and timely fashion.
      • Sometimes, in my role as an Executive Coach I have subordinates or peers of such a leader who tell me – but I know exactly where I stand with this person because they are so direct – and I like that about dealing with them. And yes…sometimes I (Bev) see this as true. But, from my years of coaching leaders I often find that while direct, there can be a big piece that is held back by such a style, particularly if the style is in place to strategically push people away. I am speaking here, where it may have been a modis operandi for years – as a way to protect oneself – for whatever that means to this leader. In such a case….you may never really hear exactly what they think relative to the relationship or relationships around them. Their actual plans for those relationships may be held very privately, and can blindside the intended when actions are put into play.

So yes, there is a positive influence here with this style. This should be ONE of the leadership styles used, and for very specific times and situations.What are the trust levels in this type of leader’s organization, company, division, office?

Overall, if the leader leans heavily on this style it produces a ‘low’ trust environment. The leader doesn’t exhibit behaviour that demonstrates that they trust their people to take on key pieces.

Those that report to such a leader pick up on that low trust and their behaviours in turn are a reflection what such leadership brings on to others.

How do you think this type of style impacts those around this type of leader?

      • People will feel devalued.
      • People will be uninspired.
      • People may be exhausted by the style.
      • Peoples insecurities may arise.
      • Clearly they will be unhappy.
      • Growth and opportunity may well be minimal here, particularly because we likely have a leader who is unable to shift to a coach like style to create a learning environment for those that report to them. Opportunity for new positions could be possible though as there is likely a fair amount of churn, meaning people moving on.
      • It’s a matter of time before really talented people are looking for a change….either a redeploy within the company….or quite often they self – select out of the company.
      • People will feel like the leader is ”steam rolling” right over top of them.
      • Depending on what emotional patterns pull for an individual when stressed, we could well see people who are running emotionally from a place of anxiety, fear, anger, even sadness and shame or any combination thereof.
      • With this style seldom does the leader take the time for ”active listening’ with their people. By that I mean given them their ear and truly seeking to question and seek to understand the other person.
      • This style will likely not show up only for those in the reporting structure, it will show up with peer groups and leadership team members, although the behaviours may be modified. Most often in these types of relationships the Command and Control leader will be seen as ”the difficult to get along” with person in the room.

I have a question for you, if this is the style you tend to lean into the most – what do you need to do let go of to bring about a different and better way of leading? Should this style of leadership be prominent in your organization, what is the impact to the people…at all levels? People can work from a place of resistance under this type of leadership. If you have been listening to my other podcasts….you will be well aware…productivity, effectiveness and contribution will be eroding – impacting your business and impacting bottom line results.

What can you do to enhance your leadership?

      • Drive up self – awareness with regard to your leadership style, its important.
      • Enroll in a course that can support this.
      • Hire a professional to support you in this regard. There are a number of superb assessments that can help to uncover your styles. Please ensure that you use such with a qualified professional who can do an in depth debrief with you and help you develop a resulting action plan to move forward more effectively.
      • Find a trusted colleague to talk to, one who will absolutely be authentic with you and provide meaningful feedback about how you show up for others.
      • If you are a key leader in your company and you see this style with others around you – think to what leadership styles would be more appropriate to get the results that you need in this firm. Look for a professional who can help you introduce this type of change in the company.
      • If you work with an HR or OD dept. in your organization, seek their thoughts and guidance on how this could be supported for better results.

To Better Leadership Always…

Take care.

When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

HR Challenges and How to Beat them, An Interview with Bob Benwick

Cheerful businesspeople handshaking

Written Transcript/Summary – HR Challenges and How to Beat them An Interview with Bob Benwick

AYL Podcast # 4 Summary

An Interview with Bob Benwick

HR Challenges and How to Beat Them

Introduction : Welcome to the Advance Your Leadership podcast with Leadership Coach Bev Benwick… A dialogue meant to enhance the leadership of our listeners…. a contribution to greater business success …. All podcasts along with additional information are available on Bev’s website at advanceyourleadership.com.

Bev Benwick here from Advance Your Leadership. I have a guest with me in today’s podcast. That would be Bob Benwick, an expert in the field of Human Resources and Organizational Development. You may be wondering about the last name of Benwick being a commonality here. So to end the mystery- yes – Bob is my better half! Bob has decades of HR experience with an OD (organizational development) flavor. In our Executive coaching office, R. W. Benwick Associates, he is the ‘sage” of HR solutions. Bob also imparts his wisdom and experience to the learning audience in one of our local universities. So……. I have asked him to join me today to help bring some thoughts and possible ideas and solutions to my audience which supports small and medium size business owners, key leaders and managers with regard to their leadership of people.

1. Bev: As an organization/ company grows the people challenges grow with it. You tend to look at this through the eyes of an HR professional…But….From your experience of working as an Executive Coach with this sort of company what do you see as their top 3 people challenges for leaders?

Bob: A number of things come to mind – 1. Many leaders really don’t listen when they communicate. They talk….and they have a lot on their minds and they tend to shut down when others talk. Effective leaders really need to learn to listen. The leader needs to pay attention to the non verbals too. The need to listen between the lines. 2. Leaders tend to not be very clear about terms of their expectations for their employees. What do we need to accomplish, by when do we need to accomplish this, and how will we know this is accomplished, what are the metrics for success. 3. Leaders often focus on themselves. It’s about them….not their people. They need to change this paradigm and start focusing on others. What can I start doing, stop doing or continuing doing to help you help yourself be successful in your job?

Bev: You know, you brought up some really good points there. One I want to elaborate on…we see so much going on in this regard in our coaching practise. Put what is going on in your head aside. Acutely listen…seek to understand what others are saying. This is just so critical to get the results that you as a leader want.

Bob: Absolutely key…in order to understand you need to ask questions. Most leaders don’t know how to do this….I mean asking powerful questions. Listen to what the individual is saying back. What is it that they need? What are they thinking? Have a powerful conversation. You don’t always need to approach with the solution. If this is your approach….you had better be 100% right…..and no one is that right.

Bev: No they aren’t. We are actually tapping into the area of Emotional Intelligence here. We so often believe we understand what is going on for the other individual…which is a big, big mistake. This is an assumption, we need to sit back and seek to understand…never should we overlay our assumption on what is going on for someone else because of our own prior experiences. Would you agree Bob?

Bob: Absolutely, I couldn’t have said it better.

Bev: I see so many mistakes in this area.

2. Bev: How does the young or smaller company deal with these HR type of challenges where it just isn’t possible to think of the resources for an internal HR person?

Bob: Well, as you know I like to keep things as simple as possible. First of all, you mentioned smaller firms, most firms out there are smaller firms. Either individually owned or family owned. They are usually well under 100 people. They would not typically pick up an HR person until they have over 100 employees. As a result, you the leader need to get on top of this yourself. I mean get on top of the labour standards act/requirements for your area, take a course on HR management at a tech college or university. You need to get after this…you cannot give it a shrug of the shoulders should you be in a situation where the human rights people come after you for an issue. You need to be familiar with this. If you have a discomfort with this, or feel inadequate, what you need to do is go out and find an HR contractor. Find someone who is a HR consultant with about 15 – 20 years experience in a complex firm. They can help you go from A – Z without you having to go through every letter of the alphabet.

Bev: Good advice. There are some really talented people out there in this field as contractors these days. A tremendous tip to those who are listening today. It’s impossible to put the resources needed to put an HR person on staff. Often we see small and medium size business leaders just hope for the best with HR issues that arise, or at best we see leaders align HR functions with Accounting departments. I don’t really see HR and Accounting as a good fit to get the best results for the people or the company. Where do HR and Accounting come into play, maybe for budgeting, but not much else.

Bob: Absolutely

Bev: I only see that not being a good solution. I really like your thoughts about going out there to find the right HR consultant for your needs.

3. When we are looking at that HR professional to support us…what type of HR professional is the best fit for a small company?

Bob: As I mentioned before, my recommendation is to look for someone who is very very knowledgable, who has depth of skill in what your needs are. Someone who worked in complex organizations who has experience in the many functions of HR – training, recruiting, performance review systems, benefits, org development, labor relations. Eceterra.

Some who has been there, who has done that. People who have a complimentary style to your style. Do not go out and hire someone, I repeat do not go out and hire someone. Bring in someone who you can trust no matter what HR issue comes up. They can shadow consult with you. It’s all about being strategic to be successful.

Bev: What are the questions we can ask to get someone who is a fit? We can get someone to deal with the ugly HR problems that we don’t want to deal with, the dehiring, the layoffs, the labor relations issues. But….how do we find someone who steps beyond the transactional issues, who can support leaders with the transformational pieces of leadership? Is that possible with a contractor?

Bob: It’s hard to do so! What I recommend you – don’t have to get someone who does it all. For example: If you have some labor relations issues bring in an LR specialist, if you have recruiting issues bring in an excellent recruiter. If you are wanting to redesign your company bring in an organizational development consultant. If you need training and development, bring in a training and development consultant. Bring in these people, typically by word of mouth – I know if people called you Bev – you could give them suggestions as to who to call for many specialities. You could provide some great names. Business owners/leaders need to get the experts those that can help you do what you need in efficient and effective ways. Helping you keep your costs down, and get that biggest return on your investment.

Bev: Thanks….some good pieces here for consideration and keeping the budget in mind!

Bob: Yes…don’t add to your overhead!

4. At what point of growth do you see it viable for a company to put together an internal HR Dept? You said that one shouldn’t be adding to overhead, and that 100 employees is that magic number. Is that really the breaking point?

Bob: Yes…by that point you are struggling with many HR challenges. You need to be on top of the state/province legislation, labour law, recruiting, human rights. Your organization is probably sophisticated enough at this point that you probably need to bring in an internal expert, but do not create an HR empire. Keep it down to a minimum, bring in someone who is really capable and empower them to bring in the experts, so that you don’t need in house experts. Few firms can afford that, only very large firms/organizations can afford that….keep this to a minimum.

Bev: We refer to the small business here, we also have in our audience medium size business owners and key leaders. Firms running up to 600 people here. We are coaching ourselves in some similar size firms recently, and watching HR development in such. They too had very transactional people in HR for some time and then brought in very capable people who could support the transformational needs of leadership. Can you speak to this a little?

Bob: Yes, there has been a trend of late where firms are off loading a lot to those transactional HR firms, both large and small consulting firms that are out there. They can provide payroll, recruiting, and other items. The HR professionals you keep on board, the head HR person, should be at the executive table, so that the organization is constantly advancing its HR strategy. You need powerful strategy to plan for the future, making sure that the right people for the right spots are there at the right time for that organization to turn on a dime competitively. So that means, the HR person has to be there with a core group of experts, or bring in externals when they need to. Keep that group lean and mean and strategically focused.

Bev: Thanks for that. I hear you about HR being at the executive table, they need their voice. Someone has to look after the people here.

Bob: Can I intrude for a minute here?

Bev: Yes you can.

Bob: Listen, what do you think organizations are made up of? They are made up of people, it’s not plants and equipment, processes and systems. Those are all important, however, an organization/company is all about people. If you don’t have that honed you will struggle to be successful in business.

Bev: I agree with you. And you know who I am. I used to be all about bottom line results as a leader. I have to say…and I will admit to our audience…Bob changed my life in terms of how I thought about people and leadership. I had to do some big changes. I changed my whole recruiting process to tell people about who I was as a leader because – I could land with my style and turn people quite off and I just didn’t give it consideration. I don’t think I ever would have thought about putting HR at the board room table until I met you. I have had a lot of growth in my own leadership outlook in the past number of years. Please listen to Bob and what he has said in this regard, it’s vital.

5. Bev: With Advance Your Leadership it’s all about leading the people and looking at how costly our mistakes can be when we don’t really lean into our leadership role. Are we measuring the right things? As leaders in small and medium sized business we are doing a lot of recruiting, particularly as divisional leaders and managers, it is so difficult to get the right people in the right seats on bus so that we march in the right direction to grasp that vision and bring it to reality, productively and efficiently. Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share with us in this regard….in terms of getting the right folks on the bus?

Bob: Organization/companies are all about people. The organization is a reflection of the people in the organization. What you want to do, whether you can afford to or not, and that will be the discriminator here – You want to go out and recruit and select the best of the best, not the best of the worst. When you hire the best of the best, it’s like getting thoroughbreds into your organization. You want to onboard new hires effectively and get very clear once they are on board, that they understand expectations – what are the deliverables. You will be paying top dollar and benefits (which is on average 40% of total compensation), and bonuses/incentives on top of that. You need to support them well, you want to get the best out of the best that you have. You want to avoid hiring plough horses and having thoroughbred expectations. It does not work! If you spend the time up front doing that, then what you need to do is remember when dealing with thoroughbreds, you get the hell out of their way. They are clear on their expectations and you get out of their way, you are a resource to them. Saying….you let me know what I can start doing, stop doing, or continue doing to help you help yourself be successful. That is your role as a leader. This is how you get high quality results through people. Now there is a little bit more to it ….finesse what I have just shared with you. If you want to Advance Your Leadership, this needs to be your focus.

Bev: This is the piece where I have said, we need to lean into our leadership. We need to hire great people as Bob has said. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of those competitive salaries. We may have to have a more junior workforce that we develop if that is the case.

Bob: But….high potential junior workforce. If you don’t have the salary to work with, go out there and hire Hi Pos. You want to invest in them as much as possible to grow them in the role. But…you have to be very patient with these people…very patient.

Bev: But…this is the true test of your leadership skills. Absolutely the true test. You know what comes to mind here – is the quote from one of Kouzes and Posners books – if you want to test your leadership – start thinking of your employees/workforce as volunteers. This comes from such a different perspective. You are stepping into your transformational leadership skills here, this is far beyond transactional skills.

Bob: I am glad you said that, there is something that is really key here between leadership and management. Leadership is about creating an environment where people want to get in there each morning to work with you, their peers and team members. Why – because you have created a vision that is compelling and you have engaged their hearts and their heads. Management, which is very important once you are clear on what you want to achieve, is around planning, controlling, and organizing what you want to achieve. You cannot manage people, it is like herding cats. You have to LEAD people. You need to tap into people’s hearts and minds, you can’t manage people, you can only motivate people – that is leadership.

Bev: That is what Kouzes and Posner speak to with that question. You don’t have that paycheck working for you if you are leading volunteers; imagine what and who you need to be to get the results to move that organization forward.

Bob: Quite frankly, I hear things from leaders like what is going on here with the morale, we are losing money like crazy, and we are not achieving the things we want to achieve – right – because your people don’t like working there.

Bev: Exactly, you want people to get up out of bed each morning looking forward to going into work to start their day….with a smile on their face.

Bob: The most difficult job you will ever have is being a leader, a manager, and a coach to your people. There is nothing more difficult.

6. People challenges are costly for a company – how do you think this impacts the bottom line to a business?

Bob: Well, if you are making very poor leadership decisions, eventually people either quit physical or quit mentally. Now, in terms of physical quitting, voluntary turnover is an enormous cost to a company. If they quit mentally that means that people may not be showing up at work on Monday or Friday, they are not engaged fully in their work, the biggest expense you can have in a company is paying your people not to work.

Bev: We as leaders can get so focused on our results, pushing product out the door, responding to customer needs, raising money……and NOT paying attention to the people problems and not measuring these problems effectively. You as a leader have a vital role to lead the people….if you are not doing this… you have bigger issues than you probably even know. And…there is great expense attached to this that you likely haven’t even considered or yet uncovered. I have a message on my website to small and medium size business leaders – it says – are you losing 4,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000,100,000 plus a month …conceivably these are very real figures for not paying attention to such issues.

7. So, in closing here – What 3 practical tips can you give to the listeners that can start them down a positive path of getting the right people on board in this regard?

Bob: Well, with the objective of having simplicity here, firstly, get really clear as to where your organization/company is today. What structure do you have in your company currently? Where do you want your company/organization to be in 3 year, 4 years, and 5 years. Do so in strategic planning sessions. What does the structure look like in the future, what will the roles look like at that time, who would be best fit for those roles. Do a one pager on this. Let’s call it a Position Guide. List the overall responsibilities for each role, list the kinds of areas that there needs to be delivery on. Then look at the job specs – what is the minimum education required, what is the minimum experience required, what skills set are required technically, and the non technical skill sets such as high level of communication, key problem solving etc. What special skills might be required, such as certifications etc. Take your time to recruit, and be clear on what we have mentioned here. The Japanese have an expression – you have to go slow to go fast. When you go out to recruit, be in a position to take your time so you are not rushed – that is when you get into trouble. Then what happens is you move from recruiting to selection mode. When interviewing be very clear as to what you have already determined your needs are. This is when a HR professional can be very helpful to you. Make sure that you assure the success for a new person moving into your organization. You want to set people up for success by accelerating their transition into your company effectively. I know Bev that you have a number of systems to support such activity. These are the fundamentals. Get that professional to help you do this. Again…don’t hire someone to add to your overhead.

Bev: There is one piece that I want to bring forth when we talk about recruitment – that is – are they ”a fit” for the organization/company.

Bob: I am glad you brought that up. There are 3 things you look for when you are interviewing and making hiring decisions. There are a lot of professionals that don’t know this.

First is can they do the job. Well, you wouldn’t in all likelihood have brought them in for an interview if they couldn’t do so. Secondly, Will they do the job. Are they self motivated? Are they driven? Or do they need to be told what to do? Are they a person to keep you, the leader, in the loop? Thirdly, is what you brought up Bev – are they are fit for the culture – the team? A culture is – this is the way we do things around here. Is this person’s way of wanting to do things a fit for this company’s culture? Many people will quit if they are not congruent with the new organizations/company’s culture. The friction is usually with the boss or owner, and at such times, people will self – select out of the organization. Or the organization may create an opportunity to re deploy elsewhere in a larger organization or an opportunity for the person to move on.

Bev: You know I do so much research in this area. These figures are no surprise to you Bob, but perhaps are to our audience. A minimum of 9% and as much as 32% of voluntary turnover in a company can be avoided with improved leadership skills.

Bob: And…the related cost of turnover to a company is through the roof.

Bev: Another point that I was jotting down as you were speaking is – and I will mention we have seen this often in the work that we do. We have watched bad hires in key positions repeat themselves with nothing but great damage to the division, company. Bob: Often it is because smaller firms have leaders who are running at frantic paces trying to keep up – they are making less than optimal decisions – with direct costs impacting the company – not to mention the indirect costs. Other people who surround that position are trying to pick up and carry far more that is theirs to own to keep things moving forward. That can’t possibly be effective or efficient. Those kind of costs are astronomically high – that’s why most businesses are out of business in 7 years. These are non-learning organizations. Learning organizations take the time to look at these challenges and take the time to leverage their findings and resources to and make the best decisions.

Bev : These bad decisions that you have mentioned greatly impact those around a failing or failed leader. It goes beyond this. The new leader then comes in and takes a considerable amount of time before they are a net contributor to the company. If this process keeps going on because of a new leader – and another new leader – and another new leader – imagine the demotivation that goes on for the team members. How do you keep those team members inspired and motivated to carry on with leadership that is a mis-hire, a misfit, and we see this happen repetitively in the role. We have seen this go on in companies…we have seen people leave for exactly these reasons…they start to look at this as craziness. This keeps everyone who is in that reporting structure in transition, every time this happens.

Bob: this drives anxiety levels up in organizations. There is an inverse relationship between anxiety and performance. With high anxiety in an organization, performance plummets. The idea is to bring that anxiety down to a level of anxiety that is healthy. There is a level of anxiety that really is healthy and keeps everyone sharp. But…if you drive anxiety up to a dysfunctional level, it will always hit your bottom line. Look to the customer satisfaction level surveys, when anxiety is up and it impacts customers negatively in whichever way that is – you will drive customers away….and that gets to your bottom line. Leaders may say – what’s going on here – people have lousy attitudes. Non leaders operate here. Leaders understand this and drive the company/organization through the people.

Bev: Exactly – Leadership is about people. It is about prospering through the contribution, effectiveness and productivity of your people.
You alluded to chatting further about onboarding today Bob. But…we have put a lot of information out there today. I think that subject should be forwarded to another podcast in the near future.

To better leadership….always!

Take care

HR Challenges and How to Beat Them

Leadership – Change and Resistance

Overcoming challenges

Written Transcript/Summary – Leadership – Change and Resistance

AYL Podcast #3 Summary

Category: Leadership Styles

Leadership – Change and Resistance

Introduction: Welcome to the Advance Your Leadership podcast with Leadership Coach Bev Benwick… A dialogue meant to enhance the leadership of our listeners…. a contribution to greater business success

All podcasts along with additional information are available on Bev’s website at advanceyourleadership.com

Hi, Bev Benwick here with advanced your leadership. Today I’m talking about leadership and change and resistance in your organization or company. In talking about the introduction of change in your company and how to overcome or minimize the resistance of change we will realize what we can do to get the buy in of people.

Change can bring out the best in some people and the absolute worst in others. Personality type has a lot to do with this. You’ll easily recognize those early adopters of change. I say that you probably know who they already are in your company and generally they are people with a future focus. Some may have a great sense agility they can easily adapt to various situations.

Many people have this but others do not. We need to recognize who those people are and I know these names will be coming to you. We need these people to be early ambassadors. You need to reach out them to help increase the bandwidth to influence others. There’re those who prefer working in the present and the past. If it’s not broken don’t fix it kind of people. And they can really dig their heels around change and impede your progress.

Stress factors in for others. Some you may know of their stress levels. Or there maybe some great stress levels at home that are impacting there threshold for change and they may not be able to adapt to change readily. Perhaps that’s ongoing for that person. Perhaps it just kind of surprising someone isn’t readily buying in all of the sudden when every other change initiative they’ve been there for you.

So just take the time to think of the three components I will talk to you about with regards to change today. I want to set you up for success.
Doing so time and time again and having changes that are not working for you will promote the language of “oh right another flavour of the month attempt to change.” Is that a language you want for your company culture?

I don’t so. So let’s look at these three factors. And these are ones that we use in our office. We’re very small-company and we don’t have to just give consideration to large-scale changes. These can work in the smallest offices if you have change. It can be major piece of equipment coming in, or your trying update technology, perhaps its software. What do you do to get people ready to use this new equipment or software. We need to look at it as a change initiative and use it as a checklist for you.

The level of discontent is key here. I’m not talking about your level of discontent with the way things are. And it’s why you want the change. I’m talking about the level of discontent of the group of people that you wish to move forward, that’s who we need to convince to buy in, not you.

So is the level of discontent of your people high or low is the first place to look. And how does it work for you here. I’m going to suggest we sign a number to this for measurement.

Just a little bit easier to illustrate. And we are going to look at a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest level discontent and 1 being the lowest level of discontent. So if discontent is high, let’s say 7, 8, 9 or 10 it works in your favor to move people forward. They are unhappy right now with the way things are going. They’re more apt to embrace the change because they know they are moving towards what better might look like.

However if it’s low let’s say a 1, 2, 3 maybe even 4. People aren’t unhappy not enough to embrace the change that you wish to put forth. The discontent is so pivotal to bring about change and if we consider that when it’s low is there something you can do to actually drive up discontent.

What about educating others in terms of why you think its not working. Just turning up the volume onwhat’s not working. There are ways to actually manipulate the level of discontent and I don’t mean that maliciously I mean in the positive nature.

The level of discontent is just so critical of the success of your change initiative. If you got high discontent it works really well for you, if it’s low clearly it doesn’t. But if it is low you absolutely have to drive up the next two pieces to levels 9 and 10 in terms of your delivery to help overcome the discontent you may not have.

The next piece, we look at number two, is vision and how well articulated is the vision of what better looks. Many visionary leaders don’t realize that several folks in their office will struggle to see vision and it’s a big mistake that’s made. We can’t make that assumption.

Not everyone is future focused, not everyone can readily see a big picture. So how can bring value, communicate this more effectively to those who are more detail oriented. Well it’s about breaking it down into pieces. Helping them build the puzzle so they can see the whole picture. They need to understand what’s in it for them. Where is the value here?

The one challenge that I see, particularly if you have exceedingly high visionary leaders is the fact that they will struggle to break it down into pieces that are small enough for some of the other people who are extraordinarily detail orientated to see. There just too big picture people and often there is a huge gap in the ability to communicate there.

What of value is to find the interpreter in the room or the interpreter on the team. That person kind of gets you as a visionary leader, but more importantly the person gets the other people that are highly sensing or highly detailed.

They are a natural interpreter. Learn to look for them and learn to use them in times like this because they can help you communicate or understand how you need to come across to present the change to all in the organization.

The third piece we are going to look at is first steps. And what I’m speaking about here is how compelling are those first steps.

Will the vision have to be so well articulated we need to see the steps to take it out there. And how clear are they. Are they well laid out steps to move forward to the change. Can all involve grasp these steps. Can all involved move forward with regards to the clarity of the steps that are there.

Are the steps exciting enough to encourage change and propel people forward?

That’s just so important. But what you need to do is replace the frustration, the anxiety and maybe even the anger for some. You need to replace this with excitement and momentum for moving people forward.Think to how you can build momentum for change. Think to how you can move people in the direction of a vision. Engage the ambassadors to help bring those others along.

These are all the steps to building critical mass with a common understanding of the value of the desired change. So seek to minimize the resistance of change in your company, your division ,or your office. By thinking through these three elements I’ve shared with you today. Set that change up for success.

To better leadership always…….

Leadership – Change and Resistance

Leadership and Motivation


Written Transcript/Summary – Leadership and Motivation

AYL Podcast #2 Summary

Leadership – Motivation in the Workplace: Meeting the Basic Needs of your Employees

Model: The ERG Theory of Motivation by Clayton Alderfer takes into consideration Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This model is easy to explain…I will present it in a linear fashion…but it is a continuum. It absolutely has relevance in our personal lives and today I use it in the business context. I find this really valuable for the leaders I work with. It has great meaning for employee motivation.

Moving Through the Stages

There are 3 stages – in our workplace context – Why do people join companies/organizations? Lower level need of existence (Stage 1) is of our survival – We need to provide for ourselves and others, a home and food on the table. We need to meet lower level needs to be able to move along to the other levels or stages.

Stage 2 is our need for relatedness. This is a need for being part of community, to have common goals that we collectively work towards, for engagement with others.

Stage 3 is about our need for growth and development – in our humanness we want to grow and develop. Learning can be highly motivating. Having growth opportunities gives us something to work towards. This is about motivation and reward.

Declining Motivation

As in the other stages, when the opportunity does not present itself for the higher level needs we tend to illuminate the focus on the lower level needs.

An example, if growth and development (Stage 3) is not available to the workplace then the focus will go on to community (Stage 2). Not all companies have a training and development budget. This really shifts the responsibility of growth and development to the leader – what learning activities can the leader create that builds great competency and opportunity for each employee.

With the absence of growth and development opportunities an employee will seek their motivation through Stage 1 and Stage 2. Some may not be satisfied to do so and may well be looking to exit the organization.

Should growth and development be waning and if community (Stage 2) breaks down, then the focus goes on to survival needs (Stage 1), in other words, self-preservation, such as, let it be them not me that loses my job. Community will generally break down with major changes of a negative note such as significant terminations, layoffs. Community may also break down with major senior leadership changes that support a more dramatic/impactful leadership style that is a big shift from the current norm.

Compensation, benefits are what will meet the survival needs (Stage 1). Should compensation not meet survival needs obviously the individual needs to make a decision. Do I need to move on? Something we
may hear from one who is heavily weighted on the survival component of this model is – They don’t pay me enough to stay here!

Is employee motivation at a healthy level in your company/organization?

What goes on in your company/organization to ensure engaging community in the workplace culture? What goes on in your company/organization to ensure growth and development?

Do you have an HR or OD department that supports growth and development…as a leader you have a role in this…don’t leave it up to HR or OD.

If you are in a smaller company you won’t have the luxury of these professionals for sure….you will need to lean in to this leadership activity to support the fulfillment of the higher level need. What could you do: how about opportunities for people to cross training for positions – this is good all the way around for the office, you the leader and the employees, rotational positions, special projects, opportunities to sit on committees, research projects, rotate who will lead your team meetings, let employees create upcoming agendas for meetings.

What can lead to the breakdown of any one of these needs with in your company/organization?

Let me share 2 stories with you to demonstrate what can happen.

Story #1 – The downturn in 2008, 2009…..where some big industries had massive layoffs.With extreme cost measures in place before employee cut backs happened, you can be assured growth and development opportunities and budgets would have been reduced significantly. Often we hear about hiring freezes, elimination of positions prior to reducing the workforce through de-hiring processes. Employees start to worry…..stress will be pulsing throughout the organization. While growth and development has deteriorated, the pressure on community is high….the community starts to suffer some cracks. The engaging community now wains….self-preservation has become a reality. The workforce knows something is up….and now it is about saving your own job. Massive cuts happened to many…..some stories shared with me were about seeing almost all of one’s colleagues let go in one afternoon….in one case that meant 60 people from one department gone within hours. Who is left standing…..one with a job….yes….but one incredibly demotivated and worried survivor. What will it take to re-engage and motivate the remaining employees so that they can truly be effective and productive under such conditions?

Story #2 – Rumor was out that a company was struggling, there already were cuts to training and development budgets……and rumor had it there would be cuts to employees. The Director, who truly cared about his employees, didn’t miss a beat with regard to training and developing his people.

  • He already had a robust plan in place and for years had a significant role in ensuring the growth of his people without a reliance on an HR department, they were a smaller company …..HR didn’t exist in this firm.
  • His people were loyal and terrific team members.
  • The thought of having to let people go in the near future made sleep elusive for him.
  • The directive to cut 6 people from his team became reality…that was 1/2 of his people. Beyond
    thinking about…how will we get the work done….his concern for people was greater.
  • Not just who would be gone….but how would he keep those who were left engaged and motivated.
  • This is the Hallmark of brilliance as a leader.
  • He engaged those who would be the surviving members of the cuts to come up with a plan to
    support those who would be leaving.
  • They were there in spades for those who lost their job.
  • They were the shoulder to cry on and the pillar for those who needed to vent.
  • They continued the Friday lunch with their team members who had been let go.
  • They looked for job opportunities for them….some called friends who were in the position of hiring
    for other companies to promote those who needed work.
  • They helped out with resume creation and references.
  • They kept up communication, they kept up the engaged community.

The then intact team had a greater workload now that they were leaner….but this team was highly motivated…they felt good about who they were and moved forward seamlessly.

What can cause deterioration of the higher level needs…?

As we have heard in the stories I shared…clearly a downturn of business was at the root of both stories. But….here are some other thoughts for you:

  1. Smaller companies who don’t have the budget for trainings and development opportunities.
  2. Mergers and Acquisitions can quickly change the climate of an organization, cultural differences in
    companies coming together can dramatically impact community and may well impact growth and development of people….people are often de-hired in the company that is acquired….and sometimes in both companies
  3. A change in top leadership in a company….generally we see significant changes in a company when a new President/CEO comes in.
  4. Budget allocation changes and vital training and development dollars move to other needs.

As a leader of others…..you can see that a critical function of your role, regardless of the complexity of your portfolio is to ensure a collaborative engaging community in the workplace and opportunities for growth and development…during good times….and bad.

  • But….you as a leader, need to ensure your motivation and drive in the tough times to keep you at your peak!
  • Many leaders want to hide behind closed doors or react to conditions with paralysis which delays decision making and sends stress rippling throughout a company.
  • You can be exceedingly worried about the company if you are an owner….and/or worried about your position’s viability if you are a key leader in the firm.
  • Find a way to manage your own emotions and stress that allows you place your concern towards others who look to the leader for guidance and certainty in stressful times.

Thanks for being with me today! To Better Leadership, Always!

Leadership and Motivation

The Cost of Poor Leadership

a man lost all state

Written Transcript/Summary – The Cost of Poor Leadership

AYL Podcast #1 Summary

The Cost of Poor Leadership

Introduction: Welcome to the Advance Your Leadership podcast with Leadership Coach Bev Benwick… A dialogue meant to enhance the leadership of our listeners….a contribution to greater business success …. All podcasts along with additional information are available on Bev’s website at advanceyourleadership.com.

Hello – I am Bev Benwick with Advance Your Leadership. I am an Executive Coach who works with Business Leaders. What do I do….I help my clients to enhance their leadership of others through their effectiveness of leading those that work for them….and for leaders that starts with greater self – awareness.

What is leadership – Leadership is about supporting those you lead as your subordinates, those you are team members with, and those who are your peers. It is about creating a positive and motivating environment for growth, both of people and for the business. As long as we get the work done through people they need to be #1 on your list. And it is only under such that you will benefit as a business leader in getting greater productivity and effectiveness, contributing to a successful bottom line. While taking the time to develop and support people can be daunting to the hands on results oriented leader…..the cost of not doing so can be an extraordinary loss…one that most small business and many medium size business leaders do not bother to measure…or perhaps just don’t know how.

Why do I do what I do? Leaders want to bring about obvious results that are profitable and easily measurable. They need to focus intently on this…..but we need to get the work done through people to bring about those results. Not all leaders are masters of getting the best contribution and effectiveness through their people. In fact, few are masterful of this.

Story – I must own up here…..I was one of these leaders…I am not proud of my leadership of others from decades ago. I gunned for results….all the time…some folks around me must have felt like I was steam rolling right over top of them. I was totally unaware of how I was showing up for the workforce….why, because I only let the revenues and bottom line results run my actions and get my attention. AND..then I grew up….someone in my life encouraged me to take a deep look at myself. I have done a tremendous amount of self- awareness work over the years. I have dramatically changed my leadership style…..all for the better. But, I sure do wish that I knew then what I know now. Gosh, when I think to employee turnover alone…and what that must have cost …..or the people that I actually demotivated because of my style, or my tendency to run meetings….and I do mean RUN meetings. But that was then, one can bring a difference to the future….you too can bring about change.

Most are not born as the natural leader….but we can learn to be much better at this.

What do we measure in orgs….P & L generally. Revenue in (gross and net) and Expenses out.

Why don’t we more often look to what the cost is of ineffective leadership of others? It seems to me by increasing the power of our leadership in this regard we would see very different bottom line results over a period of time. Sustainable results….growth results even. What would that do for your business?

This isn’t actually something elusive….it’s very attainable by either bringing in a professional to work with you the leader….or taking training in this regard. But it is work, it is mindfulness, it is about making changes!

Let me give you some idea of what the cost is to a company or organization for NOT taking the time to produce better and more effective leadership.

    • Loss of loyalty
    • greater churn of the workforce
    • unnecessary and time consuming conflict
    • obstacles to the decision making process
    • perhaps a blaming culture
    • employee resentment that causes work to rule attitude
    • internal departments that compete instead of being supportive of one another
    • Leadership that is disconnected from the workforce ( I am aware of companies where it can take weeks for an employee to get an appointment to talk to their boss – really?)
    • an uncaring workforce that forces late deliverables to clients
    • loss of clientele from badly handled customer service

On that point alone I would like to share a story with you. A friend of mine, a VP in private sector company shared with me something that she uncovered while visiting with a client. BD (business development) people were actually telling customers what a terrible place the company was to work….now really….would you expect your customer to want to keep doing business with you? While the employee was out of line to do so….what was actually behind the motivation for someone to so liberally speak like that to a client? Her feelings were that it was a result of the disconnectedness between leadership and those doing the work…it was an ongoing tense and disconnected culture. So…who owns that? Well…..I would have to say leadership does….this is what poor leadership can produce. Terribly costly, should you lose a client to an event like this.

Truthfully, I could go on and on with the activities we see arise out of poor leadership in an organization. I invite you to think about……What goes on in your business?

Here are some actually figures on the cost of poor leadership –

Poor leadership practices cost the organization and estimated 7% of their total annual sales

Did you know…..A minimum of 9% and as much as 32 % of voluntary turnover in a company can be avoided with improved leadership skills

Companies are functioning with a 5% to 10% drag on their productivity that would be eliminated with better leadership practices. Some people I mention that to are surprised it is so low….however we will have some highly functioning teams that will contribute to minimizing the actually figures from a poor performing team.

IMPORTANT : Truly effective leaders….need to be the most self – aware people in the company! Self Awareness brings on Relationship Awareness. And relationship awareness and relationship management are an absolute must to fully engage your workforce. Yet…often the key leaders are the least self-aware.

I have to wonder….why is it that we hire or promote leaders….and simply hope for the best. Few companies actually arrange for the hired leader or promoted leader to be professionally supported to assure their success. Should that leader have the ability to positively impact those that report to them….do you realize that one employee’s productivity alone can increase by as much as 27%!! That is massive. How could key leadership ignore such a figure?

If I am describing you and your company in this podcast, what do you need to do to start turning around the leadership and develop a culture that readily enjoys more effectiveness and contribution from its workforce?

Take that first step and support yourself, and other leaders around you to increase self – awareness. Find a professional and or training to make this happen. Getting data or information is helpful….but like anything we must be committed to taking action for change and ultimately obtain results. Others often emulate the behaviour of senior leadership….Please give consideration to this question: What type of leadership do you want to model to others in your company or organization? And…a caution here…can you afford to misstep?

To better leadership…always!

Take care

The Cost of Poor Leadership