1-Minute Playbook: Don´t Spread Already Contained Conflicts

meeting-106591_1920As a leader it´s natural to desire a swift end to any current conflict in or between your team members or departments, while at the same time take the opportunity in question to share your expectations with your employees. However, this can easily – and often does – backfire.

When conflicts are localized to one or two individuals or departments, as a leader you need to avoid expanding them to the organization as a whole. If you hold a staff-wide meeting to admonish everyone about your expectations in terms of their behavior, the very common but unintended result is actually an increase in gossip and rumor as well as the taking of sides based on personal loyalties and sympathies. And that´s definitely not a good outcome for you or your organization. In other words, unless it’s something that directly applies to everyone, don’t involve them.


Shortcut To a Business Without the Crap

smart-725843_1280Does your corporate culture set the foundation for a sustainable business without the drama that exists in “confusing” organizations? Great leaders are capable of managing – lead – their organizations through a corporate culture that embraces changes (=sustainable growth).

Through their groundwork, based on self-awareness, they have identified and set strategies that lay the foundation for a conscious, empowering culture. But how do you do that? How do you make your organization smarter?

In today´s manifesto, Geoffrey James shares some tools with you for this work. Get the manifesto Smarter Company here.


1-Minute Playbook: Ethical Rules for Business

Business ethics are moral standards that a business follows and they are key factors in how a business is defined. Your ethical rules can make or break your success.

This week´s 1-Minute Playbook tips are sent straight from our kick off, off “The Executive Program: Leading the Enterprise”, in Tulum, Mexico. Enjoy!


1-Minute Playbook: Are You a Happy Leader?

woman-692785_1280Leaders can achieve great things if they trust their inner energy and their work gives them pleasure. The resulting energies are infectious.

To give a popular example of how this might manifest itself in the business world, consider the words of Richard Branson:

“If your staff are happy and smiling and enjoying their work, they will perform well. Consequently, the customers will enjoy the experience with your company. If your staff are sad and miserable and not having a good time, the customers will be equally miserable. So, it is a critical thing. We’ve done things differently at Virgin and that’s made life more fun and enjoyable. I’ve been determined to have a good time.”

Leaders who radiate happiness can achieve better relationships with their followers, who in turn create happier customers. It is worthwhile for leaders to reflect on their own degree of personal happiness. Ask yourself: are you happy?


Improve Your Relationships at Work

Have you ever been involved, either directly or indirectly, in a workplace relationship going bad? If so, you are likely to be aware of the negative effect such event can have on the entire work environment.

However, there are ways to effectively improve relationships at work. In our video we give you 13 tips that will assist you in moving past any disputes.




Words You Lead By

Are you aware of what words you lead by? Are you using words that empower or disempower your employees? And are you setting a good example for your employees with a positive language?

As leaders, we not only set the tone for communication in our workplaces but our choice of words also affect our work culture. The impact of the words that you have chosen to lead by might be greater than you think. Hear more about it in our video “Words You Lead By”.


Is Your Boss Creating a Toxic Work Environment?

boss-454867_1280As we all know, there are as many different leadership styles as there are leaders. The most effective leaders actually know how to adapt their style to the one that best meets the needs of a current situation.

Although advantages and disadvantages exist within each leadership style, there are a few styles that we definitely could do without in our work environments. These leadership styles do more harm than good, for everyone involved. And despite creating a temporarily false inflation of the ego of the leader himself, the one most negatively damaged in the long run is in fact the leader.

A toxic leadership style

One of these toxic leadership styles is the commanding leadership. Despite its name, this is not a well-functioning military leadership. On the contrary, some of my most successful clients have been former military leaders with a deeply rooted servant leadership foundation – learned and taught well in the military.

Interested primarily in her own image and advancement, a commanding leader’s main objective is to be saved. Self-preservation and personal image is at the forefront of most decisions and entitlement of the position is more important than its responsibilities.

For a commanding leader, co-workers are seen and treated as inferiors. Since its important for a commanding leader to create an atmosphere of dependence on her – using power of position to influence and positioning herself – her team members are rarely invited to participate in decision making or offered important information. If her team members get invited to join the discussion, their input is most often bypassed. The commanding leader’s need to “secure her role” is also the reason why she’s only easily accessible to her closest co-workers.

“You ARE going to listen to me, I’m the BOSS!” 

Contrary to the desires of servant leaders, a commanding leader wants others to first listen to her. She – most often aggressively – rejects constructive criticism, takes credit for accomplishments, condemns others for mistakes and very reluctantly accepts responsibility as for her, that’s a sign of weakness.

The commanding leader uses intimidation to silence critics – she’s defensive and aggressive in nature – and she wins support for ideas through deception, power plays and manipulation. Since her authority is not based on voluntarily followership from her employees, she needs to use external controls in the form of rules, restrictions and regulations maintained by force.

An important quality of a great leader is his ability to discover “in-house talents”. A commanding leader however has little to none interest in developing competent successors. On the contrary, she does everything to ensure her own survival, hence promotes individuals who are pliable. In fact, she rarely trains or coaches others to function effectively as she does not want “competition”.

A commanding leader is subconsciously controlled by her fear – fear of being disrespected, not having control, not being seen as “someone important/successful/talented”, being “found out” etc. Although she would not admit to fear based actions – her main objective is after all an image of being “perfect” – this fear is so strong it consumes her work life. Which is why you often see or hear her complain about being “stressed out” or having “so much on her plate”.

My boss is a commanding bully – what can I do?

It’s absolutely not a pleasant experience working for or with a commanding leader. Unfortunately there isn’t very much you can do about your boss or her problems. A commanding leader most often has a fantastic talent for manipulation, hence manages to stay in an organization until it becomes very clear to her superiors that the one common denominator for reoccurring “issues” – high turnover, employee and/or customer complaints etc. – is her and not all those other employees who either was terminated (on her suggestion) or resigned (as fast as they could).

For you, however, the best thing to do is to get out – leave the sinking ship – and find a good organization to work for! A top executive who do not have the awareness of noticing a commanding leader in his organization at an early stage, rarely have the courage to act on the toxic work environment until his leadership and capability to run the organization is questioned.

Although that breaking point is usually the time when we are contracted as consultants, it’s a long process and for you as an employee it’s rarely worth it. Start looking for something else – it’s always easier when you already have an employment -, approach this as a learning experience and move on to an organization and leadership that values its employees. There are plenty of them out there!