Archive for May, 2009

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I told a client that the difference between their firm and a closely related ?sister? firm they are associated with, is humility.? ?Your firm?s leadership has humility and has truly put it to practice in their interaction with their clients and employees.?? What is the definition of humility?? Webster?s Unabridged Dictionary lists descriptive words such as, absence of pride, having or showing a consciousness of one?s shortcomings, unpretentious.? When I shared my opinion my own definition was, ?not being a know-it-all, teachable, and approachable.?

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Imagine my elation when a few days later I received this article conducted with Ken Blanchard, the One Minute Manager himself, and who truly put ?Leadership Training? on the map, by Training Zone about ?Servant Leadership? requiring humility. ?Humility is such a powerful, important quality, and no one expresses its power in leadership qualities better than Ken Blanchard.? Therefore, I?d like to share portions of his interview with you.

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What does this have to do with personality-type?? Servant leaders learn as much as they can about the people they supervise.? They get to know, trust and love them.? One of the best ways to do this is by understanding the strengths of their employees.? And, that understanding is easily achieved by learning about the four-letter personality type of the people we work with.? As you read this article, please note that servant leaders help people win through teaching and coaching them to do their best.? Knowledge of personality type theory gives you the skills to be able to teach and coach people to do their best.???

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?Servant leaders?are humble people who don?t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less.? They don?t deny their power, they just realize it passes through them, not from them.?? (Ken Blanchard-www.kenblanchard.com)

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The idea that leaders and managers must serve their people if they are to create highly successful organizations is not new.? Ken Blanchard ? a high profile supporter of the servant leadership concept ? explains why leading with humility could be the key to surviving and thriving during the current economic crisis.? If you want to survive and thrive during this crisis, you need to first make sure you are a servant leader.? In tough times and in good times, the first question you need to ask yourself is why are you leading?? Are you here to serve, or be served?

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Servant leadership was first introduced by Bob Greenleaf in the 1960?s, at that time, a top executive with telecommunications giant AT&T.? Although it is now far more accepted as an effective management principle, the idea that leaders and managers must serve their people if they were to create highly successful organizations was entirely new at that time.? Servant leadership flew in the face of traditional management practice which concerned itself with directing, controlling, and supervising employees? activities ? of playing the role of judge, critic and evaluator of their efforts.

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Mr. Blanchard emphasizes that in a shrinking economy, this kind of hierarchical leadership is even less effective.? ?The last thing we need to develop are still more organizations where colleagues spend most of their time trying to please the boss rather than accomplish the organization?s goals and visions; where people try to protect themselves rather than to help move the organization in its desired direction; where people get promoted only on their upward influencing skills and not their actual achievements.? It is precisely these kind of organizational cultures that have got us into this mess, cultures where a ?what?s in it for me?? mentality has prevailed, and where longer term ethical considerations have been sacrificed at the altar of short-term greed and the exploitation of the less fortunate.? This downturn should be a wakeup call for each and every leader and manager.? There is no better time to start grounding ourselves in humility, no better time to start thinking about how we can make a real difference on this planet and focus on the common good.? Now is the time to become a servant leader.?

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The qualities of a servant leader

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Servant leaders don?t fear losing face by making ethical as well as purely financed-based decisions, or fail to recognize and promote talent at a ?lower? level in case they later find their positions threatened.? On the contrary, they are confident and skilled enough to set powerful visions, build up people at the frontline and put more power into their hands, so they can really make a difference to the customer experience and help get business booming from the bottom up.? They are ?humble? people who don?t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less.? They don?t deny their power, they just realize it passes through them, not from them.?

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Servant leaders seek to help people win through teaching and coaching them to do their best.? They listen to their people, praise them, support them, and redirect them when they deviate from their goals.? They find out what their people need to be successful.? Rather than focusing on self-interest, on what will please them, servant leaders are interested in making a difference in the lives of their people and, in the process, impacting the organization for the better.

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Sadly, too many top managers still think leading in this way will lead to mutiny.? Instead of becoming successful servant leaders they become the opposite; they become self-serving leaders, who ultimately set themselves and their organizations up for failure because of their destructive influence.? Servant leaders avoid this destructive influence by turning the traditional hierarchical pyramid upside-down in their organizations.? This inspires and excites people to live according to their organization?s vision, because when they see leaders taking on coaching roles to build self-esteem, encouraging individual growth and giving people the tools they need to deliver that vision, people are more motivated, more responsible, and far more loyal.? Everyone wins.

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Becoming a servant leader

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Ask yourself:? ?What is my self-worth based on??? Self-serving leaders base their self-worth on how much money they make, the recognition they get for their work, and their power and status.? And while there is nothing wrong with making good money, and with getting power and status and recognition as a result of what you do, you?re in trouble if you confuse those things with who you really are, because then you are always going to need more and more of them.

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Servant leadership is about recognizing that you are someone who needs to let go of your ego, and recognize that you are entitled to self-esteem irrespective of your salary or status.? It is about getting up 45 minutes earlier, so you can take time to get in touch with who you are and what kind of person you want to be.? Then you?ll have a better chance of living that vision that day.? It is about developing the habit of getting a small group of people to be honest with you, and allowing them to tell you when you?re being stupid, just in case.

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Finally, servant leadership is about having the courage to let your people bring their brains to work and giving them the power to help deliver your organization?s vision and values.? Catch them doing things right and praise them.? And remember that profit is the applause you get for taking care of your people, taking care of your customers and doing a great job.

Why I Became Involved in Writing and Teaching About Personality Type

Monday, May 25th, 2009

It occurred to me recently that I haven’t shared why I became involved in creating products and training about personality type.

In late?1987, I was reintroduced to personality type through a company called True Colors which at that time was located in Laguna Beach. True Colors has a terrific product that teaches about one aspect of personality type – Temperament Theory – using four cards with symbols of the four functions, Sensing, Intuition, Thinking and Feeling.? This exposure prompted my husband Roy and I to start studying more about personality type and we decided?to create products that?are based?on the complete Myers Briggs Type Indicator theory and therefore created The PEOPLE Process.

We chose to concentrate on first understanding yourself, and then quickly move people?towards understanding everyone else because we felt that is where the real power of type lies – understanding the other guy and relating to him/her based on?that person’s?preferences/comfort zone.? We approached the business of developing these products as a “mission” and invested a lot of our time, sincere effort and finances in the product line.

And now, 22 years later I can still say that it thrills me to conduct a training because I always receive comments from the people attending about how valuable the information is to them and?that they now understand why the relationships in their lives are the way that they are and what to do to improve those relationships. This is really important to me because my type, INTJ, is driven to make a difference?that assists people in a real-world way.

I get so excited everytime someone orders The PEOPLE Process products from my website. I take the entire business personally. It is a big deal to me. It’s a thrill to know that even companies in Australia, Canada, England and Ireland are using my products to work together better on their teams.

DISENGAGED WORKERS COSTS THE U.S. ECONOMY

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Over 50 years of Gallup research and scientific studies back a recent study conducted by the Gallup Organization that states negativity costs the U.S. economy $300 billion a year ? and that?s a conservative estimate.

Focusing on someone?s strengths and giving recognition for performance is critical to success. The new Gallup study found that when managers focused on employees? strengths, 61% of the employees were engaged in the work and only 1% was actively disengaged ? complaining about their jobs, sniping at their co-workers and bad-mouthing the company.

When managers focused on employees? weaknesses, only 45% of the employees were engaged in work and 22% were actively disengaged. This demonstrates how our relationships with one another affect the bottom line of the organizations we own, work for, and pay taxes to.

Gallup asked employees to name, in their own words, the most important factor in maintaining a sense of comfort and well-being at work. Responses were varied, but the most common had to do with communication and interpersonal dynamics among workers:

? Open Communication ? 14%
? Respect ? 11%
? Positive relationships with co-workers/getting along with everyone ? 9%
? teamwork ? 6%
? trust ? 6%

Employees are likely to feel the greatest motivation for performance is a workplace environment designed to foster open, respectful and positive relationships among co-workers.

Explore the Benefits of Humility in Business

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Leadership humility is rare and doesn?t necessarily enjoy the recognition it serves, says Wikus van Vuuren, a director at GIMT. ?Humility is unfortunately often perceived as a weakness in business when, in fact, it can be a tremendous asset.?

Humble leaders who openly understand and develop their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths often create environments that encourage people to grow, which in turn grows the organization, he says.

?Some of the most successful organizations worldwide have leaders who inconspicuously ?stand out? due to their humble nature, rather than their arrogance and flamboyance,? Van Vuuren says.

Indeed, the leader who is humble never allows the power of his position to cloud his judgment. He respects the unique contribution individuals have to make, and does not get stuck on their perceived weaknesses, he adds.

?One of the greatest strengths of humble leaders is that they never assume they know all the answers and allow people to explain things to them. They look for the opportunity to learn and use every opportunity to make others feel valued.?

Apart from personal issues, there is no real harm in letting people know what you view as your strengths and weaknesses. ?A good step would be to implement a system where you can get direct feedback from your executive team, your clients, your staff and even people in your personal circle. While this system will create an open and honest company culture, it will also contribute significantly to your own personal growth.?

Van Vuuren says you should connect with your manager, peers and those that report to you. ?You will make them feel more comfortable about exploring their own opportunities for development.?

Honest leaders are also good listeners, he says. ?Do you have a tendency, when someone starts explaining something, to interrupt them to make sure they know that you already know what they are talking about? The next time this happens, try something new. Listen. Let them finish their explanation.

?Ask lots of questions, validate them, then add your comments.?

In the act of being humble, you make others feel important and valued, Van Vuuren said.

?That is the gift of the humble leader. Besides, it is more refreshing and empowering being around humble people than inflated egos.?

Pamela Hollister
Author, The PEOPLE Process
May 18, 2009
Excerpted from Independent Online-2007

Communications & Personality Type ? Judging and Perceiving

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

The fourth behavior dimension ? how we take Action ? Judging or Perceiving is vital to understand about one another because it is related to how we like to organize our world. Judging types prefer to decide and Perceiving types prefer to explore options. Judging types feel tension until they make a decision and Perceiving types feel tension when they feel ?pushed? into make a decision too quickly.

Communication difficulties are created between Judging and Perceiving types around the time frame for completing a project. Perceiving types often start tasks at the last minute because they are intent on gathering as much data as possible that may impact their decision and Judging types are likely to complete tasks ahead of time. Because the Judging types are focused on the deadline, they find it difficult to trust that the Perceiving types will meet the deadline.

Judging types like to plan and organize their work in a systematic manner. They rely on this structure to be able to have a feeling of accomplishment and moving forward. Perceiving types approach a project by starting at one point and making decisions along the way as they find out information and move forward. Stress can be created when Judging and Perceiving types work together unless they understand each other?s preferred style. A knowledge of the strengths of Judging types and Perceiving types can eliminate a lot of miscommunication.

Judging Types in Communication

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Strengths ? ?Just do it!?

Perceiving Types in Communication

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Strengths ? ?Have we researched this enough??

  • Are decisive
  • Share info and move forward
  • Well organized & efficient communicators
  • Provide timelines

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Communication Approach

  • Quickly make decisions, provide closure
  • Punctual & expect others to be on time
  • Like structure and schedule
  • Like to have control

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  • Flexible & adaptable
  • Open to new information
  • Create & consider lots of options
  • Easygoing approach to change

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Communication Approach

  • Include lots of data in decision-making
  • Spontaneous communication style
  • Can postpone decisions
  • See opportunity in interruptions