What your enemy fears most

September 30, 2013

“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”

— Eric Hoffer,
American writer

Unlearning is harder than learning

September 30, 2013

By Dan Rockwell via Leadership Freak Blog   Article

My Favorite Mistake

“My favorite mistake is thinking I know when I don’t.

Knowing is great when I’m right. Sadly, I think I’m right nearly all the time. I make up my mind quickly because my way of thinking is the “right” way of thinking.

When I’m wrong, but think I know, I create an environment where those around me have to convince me I’m wrong. They have to help me unlearn.

Unlearning is harder than learning. …

Solving the problem of knowing:

  1. Reject the need to look like you know. Arrogance makes us know when we don’t.
  2. Ask first. When you think you know, open the door to other options with questions.
  3. Believe there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Apologies to cat lovers.) I don’t like others telling me how to do my job. But, strangely, it’s ok for me to tell them how to do theirs.
  4. Aggressively seek feedback during and after projects. Just because things turned out right, doesn’t rule out the need for improvement.
  5. Withhold judgement. A decision is the end of thought. Once we decide we enter defense mode.”

Nice and tough

September 30, 2013

By Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman via blogs.hbr.org   Article

Nice or Tough: Which Approach Engages Employees Most?

“Drivers are very good at establishing high standards of excellence, getting people to stretch for goals that go beyond what they originally thought possible, keeping people focused on the highest priority goals and objectives, doing everything possible to achieve those goals, and continually improving.

Enhancers, by contrast, are very good at staying in touch with the issues and concerns of others, acting as role models, giving honest feedback in a helpful way, developing people, and maintaining trust. …

When we asked people in an informal survey which was most likely to increase engagement, the vast majority opted for the enhancer approach. In fact, most leaders we’ve coached have told us that they believe the way to increase employee commitment was to be the ‘nice guy or gal.’

But the numbers tell a more complicated story. … Clearly, we were asking the wrong question, when we set out to determine which approach was best. Leaders need to think in terms of ‘and’ not ‘or.’ Leaders with highly engaged employees know how to demand a great deal from employees, but are also seen as considerate, trusting, collaborative, and great developers of people.”


You Wouldn’t do Them at Home

September 30, 2013

By  via squawkpoint.com   Article

Performance Appraisals: You Wouldn’t do Them at Home…

“I love my wife dearly, but there are a couple of areas that she really could sharpen up on, areas that would improve her performance and deepen her satisfaction with her home life.

Fortunately I am a very experienced manager with a large team of engaged employees and know exactly what to do to motivate and develop her.

I have instigated an annual review process

And I have spent a considerable amount of time writing her performance appraisal.

I have done it by the book:

  • Sought 360 feedback
  • Collected clear specific evidence
  • Highlighted strengths (first)
  • Identified weaknesses development opportunities.

It reads like this:

Annual Performance Appraisal

Manager: James Lawther

Employee: Christine Lawther

Role: Wife



Self anchoring

September 30, 2013

By Ariel Schwartz via fastcoexist.com   Article

Your Boss Isn’t A Jerk, She’s Just “Self-Anchoring”

“As bosses become more powerful, they start to think that everyone who works for them wants the same things as they do. And that’s when things can get dangerous. …

In a paper recently published in Psychological Science, Jennifer Overbeck, a visiting professor at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, and her colleagues examined the idea that social power increases the incidence of self-anchoring.

‘It’s not that they’re trying to do a bad job or be selfish. It’s that they are referring to ‘How do I feel, how do I think?” ‘They simply believe that that generalizes to everyone,’ she says.

The researchers conducted three studies for the paper, all of which compared self-anchoring in powerless and powerful respondents. In all of the studies, powerful people relied on themselves as the primary data point. Disturbingly, in two of the studies, self-anchoring occurred mainly when powerful participants thought that other group members agreed with their negative attitudes, traits, and feelings more than their positive ones. ‘They want to be able to say ‘If I’m bad, greedy, and corrupt, well, so is everybody else. My group is just like me, I’m not any worse,” explains Overbeck. …

‘If you think about team leaders and CEOs, they’re frequently called on to be the representative–the spokesperson,’ she explains. ‘The world sees them as the group. There starts to be some confusion in self-concept and their own desires.'”

Get some new letters

September 30, 2013

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog   Article

Your alphabet

“The only reason that typesetting works is that a small collection of letters can be re-used again and again to print millions of different words. This seems obvious, but it was actually the conceptual breakthrough that led to the long path that brought us to Gutenberg etc.

Your work is based on a similar insight.

Our skills, resources and assets are like letters in the alphabet and we can re-use and recombine them in many different ways. It might be the real estate you own, the skills you’ve learned, the permission base you’ve built over time, but all of those assets can be leveraged in different ways.

To grow, then, we only need to address two questions:

  • Do I need more letters?
  • How do I recombine the letters I’ve already got to create new value?

Chasing new letters is expensive. For most of us, a better first resort is to cherish the letters we’ve already got and be brave enough to recombine them into new forms, new approaches, new ways to add value. But yes, by all means, now that you’ve extracted maximum value, go get some new letters.”

Full of themselves

September 30, 2013

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.wordpress.com   Article

How to Get Over Yourself

“The world is full of leaders who are full of themselves. It’s a real eye-opener when you realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. When you were two years old, you could be the center of attention. But, big boys and girls get over themselves.

Self-centered leaders struggle when they aren’t the center of attention. The struggle to be at the center wastes energy, distracts focus, and frustrates teammates. …

The hardest and most important leadership shift you’ll make today is from you to them.

Get out of yourself:

  1. How are they impacted by events, initiatives, and programs?
  2. Talk less about you and more about them. Because I’m a talker, I used to believe talking less was the answer. I was wrong.
  3. Believe more in their abilities. You’re Not omnipotent.
  4. Develop a positive attitude. Find something good to say, … You can’t lead if you can’t celebrate the progress of others!
  5. Focus on their potential. The leader’s greatest potential is maximizing the potential if others.”