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[DISC Wizard Q&A] What to do when a direct report doesn’t trust you

[DISC Wizard Q&A] What to do when a direct report doesn’t trust you   Recently, I had a very tense conversation with a direct report of mine.  He seemed very shut down, defiant almost.  I decided to ask him straight out if he trusted me and what I was saying.  Though he seemed a bit taken back by my question, he answered honestly, “No.”  When I probed a little deeper, he said that even though I say I’m open to his feedback, I’m really not.  I really think I am!  Now what?  ~ James R.    Dear James, I can only imagine how frustrating that was for you.  Like it or not, sometimes there is a disconnect between what we say and what we think.  And when there is a disconnect between what we say and what we think, what we think always wins out! That’s because body language and tone of voice outweigh the words we use almost 2 to 1.  So if the leader is thinking one thing (“My way is the best way”) but they are saying “I’d like to hear what you would do” the team member is going to hear loud and clear “My way is the best way.” And here’s the really interesting part, body language and tone of voice are mostly unconscious.  We may consciously choose our words but when it comes to our body and our voice, those give us away Every. Single. Time. So now it’s time to ask the hard question?  Are you being congruent?  Are you conveying what you really feel about this team member’s feedback? If you think this team member isn’t thinking something through or that they don’t see the whole picture, no matter how open you think you are, your true feelings get conveyed. That is why many team members report that they are reluctant to go to their leader with anything…ideas, problems, concerns, questions, etc.  And why many leaders can’t get the information, input and cooperation they need from their team. ~ The DISC Wizard    If you have a question you’d like answered by The DISC Wizard, send me an email....

[Case Study] How one command & control leader… learned to “let go” without losing control

    Due to the personal nature of this case study, the company and names have been removed. The SITUATION: The owners of a Stage 4 manufacturing company were facing mounting complexity.  Not unusual for a growing family-owned, second generation company. What was unusual was that because of a sudden divorce, it was a Mother and Son running the company after the Father abruptly exited. The Son had grown up in the business and as GM knew every aspect from mailing to bids.  The Mother, as the interim CEO and new to the company, was looking to her son to be the leader she knew the company needed. Unfortunately as the company passed from expanded, neither the Father nor the Son had learned to effectively delegate. This is the most difficult stage for companies to transition through because the Leaders have to change from Dominant to Facilitative. They have to learn to trust, develop others to perform to their standards, and not fall back into their default of controlling everything. When the leadership team did try to put some solutions together thinking they were doing the right thing – the GM would step in and take over.  He was task oriented vs. people oriented.  A technician (and a damn good one!), not a manager.  He had no patience for people making mistakes that he saw as common sense. These were the feelings he expressed: “If I have to tell somebody what they are supposed to be doing – I might as well do it myself.” “I can do it quicker, with fewer mistakes.” “If they would just do what I hired them to do.  What is so hard about that?  I pay them good money.” The SOLUTION: Once we engaged with the company and led the Leadership Team through the Growth Curve X-ray, the GM learned the challenges of being Commanding in Stage 4 – when he needs to be Coaching.  When we started the work, he didn’t understand the coaching philosophy of “asking questions until the answers come to light.” First thing we did was had him NOT LEAD the team meetings on Monday mornings.  As hard as that was, the more he sat back and allowed his staff to lead, the better they did. The second thing we practiced was having employees come to him with a problem and have him NOT SOLVE IT for them.  We encouraged him to take on the coaching role by asking them: What would you do?  How would you handle it? And as long as it didn’t harm a Customer, a Contract or the Culture of the company (the 3 C’s) then he was to let them have free reign. Lastly, in conjunction with our work with the GM, we worked with the employees. Although they had stopped bringing solutions to the table because they had shut down before, we raised their confidence and their willingness to approach the GM.  We reminded them that they were responsible for bringing solutions. The RESULT: Though it wasn’t immediate, the GM’s commanding style started to change.  He called 6 months later excited that he finally understood the value of not needing all the answers. “They are taking ownership.  It’s not how I would do it.  But as long as they are not screwing things up like the 3 C’s, I’ve been letting them implement their ideas.” Unfortunately, during the process, we lost two really good employees because they were tired of the dictatorial environment and didn’t believe it could really change. “I pushed them too hard.  I could have listened to them better.  They were good employees.” The remaining employees on the team were...

[Self-Assessment] 12 Questions to determine how well you delegate…

[Self-Assessment] 12 Questions to determine how well you delegate… If you are a Leader, CEO or Business Owner, complete this 12-question Delegation Self Assessment. The point of this assessment isn’t to pick the “right” answer but the one that is most true for you. That you know the right answer is of very little value.  After all, as Stephen R. Covey so aptly put it, “To know and not to do is really not to know.” For each of the following questions, answer Yes or No regarding the way you usually deal with delegation. Don’t think too long about a question; go with your first reaction. Scoring is after the questions. 1. I spend more time than I should doing work my employees could do. 2. My employees usually take initiative to solve problems without my direction. 3. My operation functions smoothly when I am absent. 4. I spend more time working on details than I do on planning or supervising. 5. I have bypassed my employees by making decisions that were part of their jobs. 6. If I were incapacitated for an extended period of time, there is someone who could take my place. 7. I know the interests and goals of every person reporting to me. 8. There is usually a big pile of work requiring my action when I return from an absence. 9. I make it a habit to follow up on jobs I delegate. 10. My employees are performing below their capacities. 11. I nearly always give credit for a job well done. 12. Employees refer more work to me than I delegate to them. SCORING: Give one point for each “Yes” for numbers 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 11, and one point for each “No” for numbers 1, 4, 5, 8, 10 and 12. Scores 10-12: You follow excellent delegation practices that help the efficiency and morale of your work group. These skills maximize your effectiveness as a leader and help develop the full potential of your subordinates. Scores 7-9: Your score is average but needs to be improved if you are striving for excellence as a leader. To correct the deficiency, review the questions you missed and take appropriate action steps. Scores 6 and below: Lack of delegation is reducing your effectiveness as a leader. The overall performance of your work group is lower than it should be either because you are unable or unwilling to relinquish control to others. There are many tools for effective delegation. As a start, check out the 5 Levels of Delegation below. When setting up a delegation, be clear and explicit on the level of initiative that the person is allowed to exercise or not allowed to exercise. When choosing the level, it depends on the person you’re delegating it to and the thing you’re delegating. There might be some things you don’t want messed with, like a company policy. It depends how important it is for there not to be a mistake. But usually, try to avoid Level 1 and Level...

The Out-of-Touch CEO – Part 2

The Out-of-Touch CEO – Part 2 The Hammond Company, a service-based business, found itself struggling to maintain the momentum they had early on.  The issues included: ->  A CEO used to maintaining control, suddenly overwhelmed by having to maintain control of a growing enterprise. ->  A widening gap between what the CEO wanted and how the employees behaved. ->  Employees struggled to take on more responsibility without the necessary authority. ->  A CEO uneasy about giving up decision-making control, which caused employees to question their roles. ->  Employees unsure about their every move who wondered why the CEO didn’t trust them. ->   A lack of focus on company values, which allowed bad behaviors to go unchecked and caused friction among the staff. ->   Lack of a strong strategic growth plan, which cause employees to question the CEO’s ability to manage the chaos and lead the company. The Hammond Company was on the edge of a staff rebellion and the CEO was on the verge of a burnout.  Will it happen right away?  No.  Many companies continue to expand and grow with the issues outlined above. Giving up control of different aspects within a company is extremely challenging.  The CEO knew he had to hire quality people and drive strong sales to support higher wages.  His frustration was fueled when his capable employees seemed to shrink from responsibility instead of embrace it. What did the CEO do wrong?  He overlooked the management piece of a business.  He had no problem handing out assignments, but he neglected to set and manage expectations. When the team didn’t deliver as he had hoped, his disappointment showed, which caused the team to retract into a cautious, “cover your ass” mentality.  He thought they were unmotivated and unwilling to step up. The Hammond Company is a classic example of what happens when a “Command and Control” CEO doesn’t change with the shifting needs of a growing company. WHY MOST SMALL BUSINESSES DON’T WORK Michael Gerber pointed out in the book The E-Myth, there are three distinct roles every CEO must play at some point in the growth of a company, to differing degrees based on the Stage of Growth the company is in. The reason most small businesses don’t work is that they are often started and run by a “Technician,” someone who knows how to do the technical work involved in a job, without much thought to two other, equally important roles described in the book, the “Entrepreneur” and the “Manager.” If you read my previous “Note from Nancy,” when given the choice between the three roles, which would you pick?  Number one was the Technician, number two was the Entrepreneur and number three was the Manager. While we might be biased towards one over the other, to successfully run a business, they all must play a role. The Technician is someone – an accountant, computer programmer, cook, etc… – who is an expert in his or her craft.  This often leads these people to go into business for themselves. The technician is happiest doing the work they are good at. The Manager is the detail-oriented one, who dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, the one who remembers to pay the bills, and wants a well-organized world with no surprises; a world where things happen in an orderly, predictable manner. The Entrepreneur is the dreamer, the one who sets out to do something new, who reaches for the stars.  The Entrepreneur lives in the future, thinking about what could be (rather than in the present).  The Entrepreneur is often frustrated by how slow the world seems to move. All of these components are necessary in the leader of a...

[Note from Nancy] Questions for business owners to ask themselves

[Note from Nancy] Questions for business owners to ask themselves In one of my previous articles, we took a look at a common challenge among growing companies where the Command & Control leadership style of the CEO or owner becomes more of a liability than an asset. I heard from a few of my clients asking if the article was written about them.  The fact that a few different clients asked means 1) No, it wasn’t written about any one in particular and 2) Yes, if you asked, it was likely with you in mind that I addressed the subject. Since this can be very confronting for a leader (“So everything I’ve done up until now to create success has to change?”) it’s time to look at this situation from a more objective viewpoint. It’s time to ask if there are businesses that run easier than yours, teams that produce better than yours, and leaders that are less frustrated than you, what is it that these companies are doing differently? Then perhaps think of this situation from this perspective.  Imagine if when you started or took over this business you had a very wise mentor who said to you… “You are perfect for this role.  You are driven, smart, and have amazing insights and will do well in this business.  Just be aware that by the time you reach a certain size, your natural way of leading will start to prove ineffective.  You will feel frustrated because what once worked is no longer working.  At this point, you will have some options…” 1.    You can bring in someone to lead the people while you stay focused on your unique skill set. (T) 2.    Sell the business and go start something else in your sweet spot. (E) 3.    Learn a new way to lead. (M) What would you have said?   Regardless of what your choice would have been at the beginning, these are still your options now.  What isn’t an option is doing the same thing, expecting different results. (That’s the definition of insanity, by the way!) The next couple of articles are dedicated to those who choose Option #3. If you’d like to complete an assessment that can help you determine which option might be the best for you, send an email to nancy(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)discwizardonline.com.          ...

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