Tag Archives | Behaviors

Behaviors desired in the corporate culture. Valued behaviors are those that are observable and measurable demonstrations of desired values.

What Drives Your Leadership Behaviors?

business people group at officeWhy do leaders do what they do? I believe that leaders’ plans, decisions, and actions are heavily influenced by three things: their social style or personality type, the culture in which they operate, and their role models (past and present).

Each of these three are powerful, yet we may not be completely aware of how they drive our behavior as leaders.

Our social style is made up of traits we are born with (“wired” preferences) as well as traits we accommodate (“acquired” preferences) through interactions with others, typically in our youth. (Yes, these acquired traits are influenced by role models and the culture we operate in!).

If you’ve taken a DISC assessment or MBTI profile, you get a snapshot of your preferences for that role (DISC) or for your life (MBTI). Our leadership tendencies like driving for results or supporting team members or ignoring conflict or being aggressive with others can be attributed to our social style.

The culture we operate in can guide us – sometimes subtly, sometimes brazenly – to behave in ways we might not otherwise model.

If you were a senior leader at Toshiba in the last five years, the culture might have influenced you to tolerate scandalous accounting practices that inflated the company’s earnings by $1.2 billion. Where an organization’s culture rewards aggressive sales, you might embrace those tactics to earn “your share of the gold” this quarter. If you operate in a values-aligned tribal culture like the WD-40 Company, you share your learning moments (mistakes) willingly so others won’t make the same mistake.

Role models are powerful. If a past boss micromanaged me and I hated it, it is unlikely that I micromanage my team members today. If a past boss yelled to get his or her way, and us team members delivered, it is likely that I will yell when trying to “inspire” my team’s performance. If a past boss held team members accountable – kindly but firmly – for both performance and for citizenship, it is likely that I will do the same, kindly but firmly.

Role models can include our parents, teachers, coaches, professors, friends, enemies, public figures, and presidential candidates.

Effective leaders are able to examine the drivers of their daily “influencing” behaviors and embrace those drivers that help them serve others, exceed shared goals, and live desired values. They invite others to share their perceptions of how well they are leading.

One client described a manager that recently announced the values that he expected his team members to embrace moving forward. His demands were not credible for two big reasons. First, he didn’t include team members in the creation of those values; he simply announced them. Second, this leader does not model the values he was asking others to demonstrate.

As you might guess, the team is frustrated by the leader’s demands. The leader is frustrated by the team’s frustration. It’s not going well.

A recent article on new Denver Broncos football coach Gary Kubiac shed light on his leadership behaviors over time. Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum gave Kubiac his first coaching job in 1992. Slocum said he knew Kubiac would be a head coach before long. Slocum explained, “Players loved him. And he didn’t think he had all the answers. As a head coach, you have the right to be demanding, but you don’t have the right to be demeaning.”

“Gary leads with class.”

Don’t assume you’re an effective leader. Ask for help. Learn others’ perceptions of you. Understand your unique drivers, and refine your efforts to consistently be of service and of grace.

What do you think? How well do you serve others kindly while driving for results? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Surround Yourself with Values-Aligned Compadres

belayer with the rope and carabinesWho you hang out with has a great influence on you.

If you hang out with bigoted people, you will likely embrace bigoted ideals. If you hang out with dishonest people, you will likely embrace dishonesty. If you hang out with people who are kind, who treat others with respect, who embrace serving others, who keep their promises, you will likely embrace those traits.

When I was growing up, my parents were very particular about who I hung out with. On our street in the suburbs of Long Beach, CA, in the ’60’s, there were more than 50 kids my age. It was very easy for my parents and our neighbors to observe what we were doing and with whom. We all played on the street, within full view of a network of stay-at-home moms.

I got most of my redirection from my folks at the dinner table each evening. “I like that you’re playing with Tim; he’s a nice boy.” “I don’t want you playing with Larry. He’s a bully.” “Carol is mean. Stay away from her.”

When I went off to college, my parents voices’ were in my head. I observed how my fellow students treated others. If they were mean, I kept my distance. If they were selfish, I chose to spend time elsewhere. If they were pleasant, fun, and kind, I hung out with them. If Linda kept her promises, that deepened my respect for her.

Warren Buffet was asked years about about what he looks for in people. He replied, “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” Buffet applies the same three criteria to leaders of companies he’s considering for investment.

If you are rock climbing or on a high ropes course, you’ll have someone “on belay.” They’ll loop your climbing rope securely through the belay device on their harness. They’ll control the slack so if you fall, you won’t fall far! You want your belay partner to be values-aligned – to care for you and your safety, to pay attention every second, and to be skilled in managing the rope, supporting your success.

Before you can examine the values of those around you, you must clarify your own purpose and values. You must formalize your personal constitution. It will include your present day purpose, your reason for being on this planet. It will include your values, how you define each value, and a list of 3-4 behaviors that are measurable indications of how you’ll live your values. Finally, it will include your leadership philosophy – how you choose to effectively influence others around you to contribute and serve their families, communities, and workplaces.

With those vital elements clear, you can easily assess the degree of alignment you have with your friends and colleagues. Values alignment boils down to integrity. If you see players who don’t model integrity, insulate yourself from them, as much as possible. Choose to engage often with players who demonstrate integrity, intelligence, and energy for life, daily.

By surrounding yourself with values-aligned compadres and comadres, you build a supportive team that can help you keep on track with your best self, every day.

How values-aligned are your friends and colleagues? How did key adults in your life direct you to values-aligned players? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © vitaliymateha – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Service Above and Beyond

SCE_0300aHere in the US we’re celebrating Memorial Day today. The holiday originated in 1868, after the Civil War, where an event called “Decoration Day” encouraged citizens to decorate the graves of those who died in that war.

It wasn’t until after World War I that the holiday expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.

My dad served in the US Navy in World War II. Like many other members of the “greatest generation,” Dad didn’t speak of his wartime experiences with us. When we posed questions, he didn’t answer directly. He said he was proud to serve, that he was well behind the front lines, and that others had it far worse than he did.

Dad was proud that his service would enable he and my mother to be laid to rest at Riverside National Cemetery. When Dad passed away in April 2011, I arranged for Dad’s funeral service and burial there. The photo above is of two US Navy officers folding the American flag that was featured in Dad’s service that day.

Dad’s funeral service was a wonderful celebration of his life and his military service. We were lucky in that Dad survived his service days. Many families suffered the ultimate loss when their loved ones were killed in war zones.

Very few Americans have served in the military. One recent estimate is that 7.3 percent of living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives. All Americans are grateful for their service.

The total number of Americans who have died in American wars is approximately 1,264,223 as of this date. The greatest majority were over 618,000 Civil War deaths and over 405,000 World War II deaths.

This holiday, we pause to celebrate their service, their courage, and their sacrifices.

The impact of combat on those who serve is significant – mentally, physically, and spiritually. The film American Sniper, the story of US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, is praised as an accurate depiction of the horrors of modern urban warfare.

It is a powerful film, showing the demands on service members in the midst of a seemingly unending war, on them as parents, on them as teammates, on them as trained professionals. What they experience in combat, in moment-to-moment live fire conditions, leaves a deep impression on their bodies, minds, and spirits.

Exceptional medical care in the field today enables wounded service members to return home, when in past wars their wounds would have caused their deaths. They return and attempt to put their lives back together among civilians who have never seen what they have seen.

I believe all service members deserve our gratitude for their willingness to put their lives on the line, every day, to serve their country. And, on this day, we remember and thank those who gave their lives in such service.

What is your experience? How can we civilians show our genuine appreciation to active and former service members appropriately? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © S. Chris Edmonds Photography. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Cog in a Wheel

I interviewed a key leader in a client organization recently. I was gathering perceptions of the organization’s culture. I’d spoken to senior leaders and was now engaging with next level leaders for their insights.

This key leader was tired. His ten-member team had been running hard over the last year, shorthanded. They have three open positions. “Everyone is doing their fair share but the workload just doesn’t let up,” he told me. They’d been actively recruiting to fill the job slots but haven’t found qualified people to plug in. Many strong candidates had multiple offers for more money than their company was offering.

“This is a really good company but no one gives us any credit for the extra work everyone is doing,” he said. “We feel like cogs in a wheel. No one is paying any attention to us.”

Among other things, this leader is experiencing the negative impact of the improving job market. People are confident that they can get a better job quickly so are leaving their current, probably uninspiring roles by the thousands. A recent USA Today article noted that over 2.8 million Americans quit their jobs in March 2015, up from 2.7 million in February.

This leader – and his team – is also experiencing a lack of appreciation for their efforts, which recent studies have found – unfortunately – to be quite common. Tiny HR’s 2015 Engagement and Culture report found that only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work. Over 25% of employees reported they don’t have the tools to be successful in their jobs.

That lack of validation and appreciation can definitely lead to employees deciding to look for a different job where their contributions are recognized.

Why do leaders ignore genuine contributions by teams and players? It may be that these leaders believe that effusive praise and encouragement is fluff. These leaders think, “I’m paying them fair wages. I don’t need to thank them every minute, as well, do I?”

Or it may be these leaders simply don’t think about praise and encouragement, at all. They didn’t get it from their bosses so they don’t think it’s important today.

Or, it may be that these leaders are spread thin themselves. They know that they’re not providing positive, validating feedback to their employees and they feel badly for it. They apparently don’t feel badly enough to change their behavior and proactively praise aligned contributions, though!

A cog in a wheel is an important element; it keeps the machine running smoothly. If it’s cared for – cleaned, oiled, and polished regularly – it will serve the machine well for years. If it’s not cared for, it will break – bringing the machine to a halt. The breakage may even cause greater damage to other parts of the machine!

Humans deserve to know where they stand, regularly. A leader’s time and energy invested in dialog, genuine appreciation, and validation of aligned efforts builds employee engagement and well-being. Those, in turn, inspire employees to apply their skills in service to team goals and customers.

Employees are not cogs in a wheel. They are the face of your company and the foundation of your organization’s products and services. Treat them well, daily.

What do you think? How did your best bosses express genuine appreciation for work well done? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © zarg404 – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Your Team Needs A Caring, Assertive Captain

Who is in charge of your business? Leaders, if you don’t act daily as a calm, assertive, caring captain, your “ship” – your enterprise – may go astray.

Every business needs a captain, a person that sets the stage for all actions that take place. If you, as leader, do not set the stage by defining and aligning practices to clear performance standards and values expectations, people will be left to “figure it out on their own.”

When people “figure it out on their own,” you end up with widely varying practices – not aligned, proven practices. That lack of clarity and alignment erodes consistent performance, service, and results.

Whether you are the captain of a cruise ship, a call center, a flower shop, or any other type of business team, you need to guide your team proactively.

How do you do that? An effective, inspiring captain first creates and communicate the team’s plan, then implements the plan through role modeling, coaching, and celebrating progress daily.

First, you must craft your plan. What should your plan include? All of the vital elements are easily found in an organizational constitution. An organizational constitution is a formal statement of your team or company’s present day purpose (its reason for being), values and behaviors, strategies, and goals.

An organizational constitution is a crisp and simple declaration of your team’s desired destination as well as defining how people are expected to behave and treat others along the way.

Your purpose and values are strategic elements that don’t change much over time. The more tactical elements – valued behaviors, strategies, and goals – will likely evolve as your business evolves, as markets evolve, as customer needs change, etc.

Then, you must model and coach the plan. Setting the plan is step one. Communicating the plan is step two. The real work happens with implementing the plan – steps three through one hundred!

Announcing the plan doesn’t guarantee that team members will embrace it. The captain’s role and responsibility is to model the plan and to coach the plan, every day.

An effective captain doesn’t simply communicate the plan then sit in his or her office, studying spreadsheets or answering emails all day. An effective captain reinforces the plan by being on the move, observing how the team is interacting and operating, moment to moment.

A cruise ship’s captain spends time on the bridge, ensuring that the team there is in tune with each other, with the ship’s power plant, with the direction the ship is moving, etc. The captain also spends time observing team members interacting with passengers and with each other, validating aligned team member behaviors and redirecting misaligned ones.

You must do the same. You must be visible, present, and engaged, every day.

The only way that team members can be assured that they understand the plan and are aligned to the plan is by the captain’s calm, assertive modeling and coaching of the plan.

How much time will it take each week for you to effectively model and coach player’s practices to your organizational constitution? Spend at least an hour a day and work yourself up to two hours a day.

Your team deserves nothing less from you than a calm, assertive, caring hand on the tiller of your enterprise.

What do you think? How have your best bosses “captained” your team or department in the past? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © dvoevnore – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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