Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick ….. Theodore Roosevelt

Leading, management, management philosophy

Leadership is known by many names – directorship, control, governorship, stewardship, hegemony, authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness, sway, and clout. Regardless of the many names, leadership is simply one person or persons influencing another person or persons. But why, why and how does a person influence another? What’s that magic trick? Upon two people coming together for dialogue, why does one of the people want to do what the other person says? The answer is within the power used by the leader. Leaders use Position Power, Reward  Power,  Coercive Power , Expert Power, and Referent Power to influence others to perform.

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Position Power is one way a manager influences subordinates to perform. Position Power is when a manager has authority and influence over employees because of the title alone. The title allows the manager the freedom to reward or punish subordinates with no penalties from the company. The phrase “do it because I’m your boss” is an example of Position Power.  Employees know full-well that if they don’t do what the boss says, discipline and penalties will follow.

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Reward Power is another way managers can influence others. Reward Power is when a manager gets compliance from others by rewarding them for the behavior. Managers, can reward others with tangible thing like money and promotions. A tangible example would be a manager saying to a subordinate,”if you achieve such-and-such result, I will promote you to the next level”. The subordinate wants the promotion so they work hard achieving the result. Hence, the manager has effectively influenced the behavior with a tangible reward. An intangible example would be a manager telling an employee “I really like how well you handle three different responsibilities simultaneously”.  The employee likes how they feel when the hard work is appreciated by the boss and continues to achieve the result. Hence, the manager has effectively influenced the employee to continue performing well with an intangible reward.

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Coercive Power is another way a manager can influence employees. Coercive Power is similar to Reward Power but with penalties instead of rewards. With Coercive Power, a manager removes or punishes an employee if a performance standard isn’t met. An example would be a manager telling an underperforming employee that if they didn’t improve performance, they could lose their job. The employee wants and needs the job, therefor they start performing according to standard.  In this way, a manager is using Coercive Power to influence performance.

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Another way to influence others is by using Expert Power. Expert Power is the ability to get someone to do what you want because they think you’re an expert on the subject. Employees believe a manager has high level of knowledge or a specialized set of skills that other employees or members of the organization do not possess. Because employees believe this, they will follow direction given by the manager. After all, the manager knows what they’re talking about because they’re an expert, right? Another example of Expert Power is when we talk to an I.T. person or tech person. On a phone call with a tech person, we don’t know what they look like and have never dealt with this individual before. In our minds however, we believe in their expertise to fix our issue and will happily follow their direction over the phone. Hence, the tech person is influencing our behavior with Expert Power.

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Finally, there’s Referent Power. Referent Power is less black-and-white than the other leadership powers because it’s earned with respect and respect can be earned in many ways. “We can gain Referent Power when others trust what we do and respect us for how we handle situations” (http://www.quickbase.com/blog/the-5-types-of-power-in-leadership).  The trust and respect happens when employees see how a manager handles difficult situations. They may watch the manager suffer through a difficult moment and emerge as positive and encouraging as ever. Trust and respect happens when employees watch what a manager does for the company. They might see the manager delivering above-standard results. The employees could also see how the manager defends the company in difficult times. Trust and respect also happens when employees see what a manager does for people. Employees could witness a manager helping a struggling employee or developing an employee to a higher position. Once the staff understands what the manager is about in an admirable way, the manager can greatly influence the employees work.

Leaders use Position Power, Reward power, Coercive power, Expert power, and Referent power to influence others to perform. Position Power uses authority to influence. Reward and Coercive Power uses consequences to influence. Expert Power uses skills to influence. Referent Power uses trust and respect to influence. Each is effective in its own way and each should be delivered by a manager in mixed doses except for Referent Power. The hardest to earn and most effective, Referent Power is permanent!

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When We Blame, We Give Away Our Power ….. Greg Anderson

Leading, management philosophy

When a company fails to deliver the brand, it’s often times not the fault of the employees! That’s right, the employees who screwed up your experience are not to blame…..most times.

It’s like an automobile. The automobile represents the “brand”. Like an automobile with many moving parts, the “brand” also has many moving parts.

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The tires represent the service department. They go where they are pointed. Tires used for long stretches develop nicks and dings and could have a blow-out, just like service employees. New tires or well-maintained tires look good and hug the road. The tires perform better, just like service employees.

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The engine represents the production team. How the engine goes determines how fast the “tires” go. Maybe the engine parts are old, worn, or poorly maintained, like some employees, spinning the “tires” slowly. The engine could also have unauthorized parts causing it to slow down, like some employees who are unqualified to perform the role.

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The steering wheel/driver of the automobile makes the automobile travel in certain directions, like the coordinator of the brand who determines the timing between production and service. Sometimes the steering wheel/driver takes the automobile off-road, launching it airborne, landing, and jarring all the moving parts loose when it lands. This happens in the “brand” as well, causing stress and duress in the team.

For It Is In Giving That We Receive ….. St. Francis of Assisi

management, management philosophy, Organizing

We deal with two kinds of people. One kind is the person/employee that asks what you, others, or the company is doing for them. The other kind of person/employee thinks about what they can do for others.

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Imagine operating a shift for an organization and your employees consume themselves with what the company or others are doing for them? They are not thinking about how to make the business better. They are thinking about how and when they are going to get treated compared to the employee next to them. To them unfairness takes the form of amount of work, amount of hours, or how a manager speak to them. In this environment the culture becomes toxic.

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An organization full of selfish employees will not think about the work that needs to happen, they’re thinking about their feelings. So less work happens, conflicts start, and the organization is unable to deliver the brand while the managers tries to manage the issues.

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In the other, scenario you may have a group of employees who view life and work with the attitude of “what can I do for you”. In this environment you see employees helping each other. You see employees having fun and having healthy dialogue and camaraderie while the work is getting done. This environment fosters and nurtures morel work. Another benefit of having an environment like this is that employees like it so much, they want to develop their careers with this organization. This lowers turnover, lowers costs, and increases tenure – productivity.

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How can a manager prevent one toxic environment and enable one healthy environment? The answer is sometimes leadership but the real answer is better planning and organizing. It means better hiring skills and the ability to read the nature of an individual during an interview. Hire team players and givers and you will get a healthy productive environment. Hire emotional selfish needy people and you will get a toxic environment.

Remember that the next time you are sitting across from an employee candidate!

Ambition Is Not A Vice Of Little People ….. Michel Eyquem De Montaigne

Leading, management, management philosophy

How does a manager or leader accomplish results? Can they flippantly say they want something and it magically happens? No manager or leader or boss that I know has ever had this type of power. There are different types of power (see “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” in this blog) and a manager can achieve a degree of results by using the types of power but good managers use this element to add to the most effective type of power – Referent Power. The element I’m talking about is DRIVE. Referent Power is respect power and DRIVE enhances Referent Power. Managers need and use drive which means they are action-oriented and have a high desire for achievement.

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One aspect of Drive is to be action oriented. Action-orientation means having and using a sense of urgency to complete a task. Managers are the first ones to communicate a goal, start working on a goal, and have a public, systematic way to follow up with others and how the staff is contributing to the goal. Action-oriented managers lead from the front and want the staff to follow their example. The attention and efforts of the action-oriented manager are noticed by the staff. In this way the staff sees what the action-oriented manager is doing for the company which earns respect…..and contributes to Referent Power.

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Another element of Drive is to have a high desire for achievement. Having a high desire for achievement means managers want significant accomplishment and have high standards. Having a high desire for achievement means managers want the result to meet a goal perfectly, not halfway and not partially. Managers also want the work recognized as high quality and want bosses, peers, and subordinates to know how difficult the path was to success. Good managers want to be known as dedicated and serious about achieving results. The attention contributes to how others perceive what the manager is doing for the company and enhances Referent Power.

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Good managers need and use drive which means they are action-oriented and have a high desire for achievement. Action-orientation includes initiative and example-setting. Having a high desire for achievement means perfection and dedication. Drive is therefore a large part of Referent Power and what good managers need to have in order to influence others work.

 

Good People Prefer To Be Accountable ….. Michael Edwardes

Leading, management, management philosophy

Have you ever had that leader that needed permission to make decisions, that leader who always has to ask you to get things done and has a tone of excuses for why things aren’t getting done?

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Leaders like this don’t want accountability. They want everything that happens to be the fault and the blame of somebody else when it goes wrong. How can the leader be at fault? If they ask for permission from somebody else then someone else is to blame when things go wrong.

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Leaders like this relinquish power. When a leader relinquish power they lose leadership power with their employees. Few people follow indecisive leaders.

Don’t let leaders off the hook when it comes to making decisions and being accountable. When a leader’s decisions create good things the leader benefits and gets credit for that. Also, when the leader’s decisions cause problems they get the blame which they can learn from. When leaders take control the employees tend to follow.

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In the end, a leader who practices accountability on a regular basis will feel better about his or her job status and job performance because they will know where they stand based on their decisions.

Everyone Is Guilty Of All The Good They Did Not Do ….. Voltaire

Leading, management

There are leaders who yell often and have poor emotional control. There are leaders who threaten consequences and intimidate often. There are leaders who are just there and really do nothing at all. There are also leaders who inspire others to perform work. More frequently however, managers like to focus on what’s wrong and vocalize the issues publicly with intimidation. Managers feel justified and effective because in their mind, “they’re taking care of business”.

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Frequently, when managers are “taking care of business”, the feedback includes heavy doses of guilt. It’s like the football coach during a game berating a player who screwed up his assignment. As the player runs to the sideline, he’s greeted by an emotional and abusive coach who’s yelling so hard his veins are popping out of his neck. Managers yell like this as well but are they attempting to correct and influence work or just selfishly expressing their feelings?

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Managers who yell and berate staff are only minimally effective. It’s a short-term management behavior. I call it short-term because it delivers short-term results.  Employees perform work behaviors because they’re threatened and do it to avoid consequences. Eventually however, they will quit and leave the threatening environment causing the manager to constantly battle turnover and new training costs. Managers like this create hard feelings, increase costs, and eventually drive away revenue because customers can feel the tension.

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Inspiration is defined as “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create: a force or influence that inspires someone” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inspiration).  The “something” that makes others want to perform looks like the following characteristics:

  • Employees who observe a manager handle situation after situation with the same effort, resolve, and strategy that’s respectful and effective inspires others.
  • Showing your staff how much you care about results and about people in a positive and respectful manner can be inspiring.
  • Know the job. Employees watching a leader ply their trade effectively and seeing great results can be inspiring.
  • Be challenging. Challenging your staff can be fun but also lets your team know you believe in them and what they can achieve.
  • “Make people feel good about themselves. People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.  Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to excel.” (http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/02/13/18-ways-to-inspire-everyone-around-you/).
  • Share stories. Talk about lessons learned, both positive and negative, so the team can relate to what you’re saying. It demonstrates vulnerability which is admired and inspirational to your staff.
  • Share an inspiring vision. Communicating what effective behaviors and results can look like with detail to your staff, and allowing them to see the vision is inspirational.
  • Thanking your staff and letting them know how much you appreciate their effort is inspiring.

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Inspirational leaders are few and far between and hard to see because they operate behind the scenes and let the staff stay out-front and get credit for everything right.  You won’t hear inspirational leaders berating staff in public. You may hear them encouraging staff in public and you will definitely feel an environmental difference since employees are wanting and looking for ways to perform the job and take care of business.

Don’t Listen, Complaining is Contagious

Leading, management, management philosophy, Uncategorized

“Most people don’t realize how often they complain because it has become a habit and, like all habits, it tends to be so familiar that it becomes invisible. Secondly, most people feel that it’s a good conversation starter because it’s easier to find common ground by complaining” (mindbridge.com). It’s no different with employees. Employees complain and gripe about the work, about the company, about the boss, about each other, etc.  Even in situations where nothing is wrong, employees will try to find a way to complain about something. Then it happens. The manager joins the fray. He or she is right there with everyone else complaining. Maybe they’re trying to find common ground or get close to the staff somehow but it’s a bad idea.

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Complaining leaders are hurting themselves and the organization. The direction of complaints eventually reach those in-charge of your job security and livelihood – your bosses; “Complaints go up, not down” (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232189#). Complaining also damages the one thing leaders need in an organization, buy-in from its people. The path of complaints to those who pay the leader and lack of buy-in from the people eliminate efforts and eliminate results, hurting a manager’s career while failing to deliver a company’s brand.

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Complainers are selfish and deliver less work and less results. A complainer’s approach to status quo is to tenaciously think about who or what people, bosses, or organizations are doing for them – not what they themselves can do for others to produce more results. Complainers are constantly complaining about not having enough money and can’t comprehend why their efforts to complain cripple their own ability and the ability of others to produce more work. Instead of thinking “what can I do for you”, complainers think “what are you doing for me” and ultimately, selfishly figure out how to do less because it’s unfair to them.