Tag Archives | Integrity

Hire great leaders with these tips

Manager Congratulating Member Of Staff In Meeting

You put your business and culture at risk with every hire. If the leaders or team members you bring into your team do not embrace your organization’s common goals and shared values, then trust, respect, and dignity are eroded.

What happens when team members feel distrusted, discounted, or dismissed? They quit and leave, or – worse – they quit and stay.

Team member productivity drops. Self-preservation jumps. Cooperation diminishes. Doing the minimum seems like a good way to cope.

That’s no way to run a successful, sustainable business.

What is the most important hiring decisions you make? Who to put “in charge” of a team. A bad leadership hire – a self-centered, prideful individual – destroys team spirit, cooperation, and creative service. A brilliant leadership hire – an individual that demonstrates authentic care, grace, humor, and accountability – creates a purposeful, positive, productive team culture.

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What do great leaders do? They act daily on their primary responsibility to remove team members’ frustrations. They genuinely enjoy their team members. They laugh with (not at) team members. They celebrate team members’ efforts and accomplishments, not just at work but in the community and at home, too. They give credit rather than giving blame. They lovingly hold team members accountable for results and service. They don’t tolerate rude, aggressive, or self-serving behaviors by anyone on their team.

If all your leaders operated like this, how would it help your business? My experience and research indicates that an aligned culture with caring leaders boosts employee engagement by 40 percent, customer service by 40 percent, and results and profits by 35 percent.

That’s a powerful, positive impact.

How can you hire more genuine, caring, inspiring leaders? During your interview process, don’t focus exclusively on past accomplishments or accolades – focus equally on these tips:

Values and Behaviors – Ask leader candidates to describe their personal life values – principles that guide their day-to-day living. Ask for examples of their behaviors – plans, decisions, and actions – that model their life values or principles. Ask how they handle people they meet and interact with who hold very different values and behaviors. How kind are they? How aggressive are they?

Leadership Philosophy – Ask leader candidates to describe their leadership philosophy. What are their reasons for being a leader? What results are they striving for from their team? Who do they serve – and how? What does that candidate expect of team members? What can team members expect of the candidate? Ask yourself, “Is servant leadership a core foundation of their philosophy?”

Relationships – Ask leader candidates how they gauge the quality of their relationships with team members they’re leading. Which are the candidates’ most important relationships at work? How do they handle disagreement from team members? What do they do regularly to build and maintain positive, professional relationships with team members?

These are not “normal” interview questions or conversations. You might find that candidates are not prepared to answer these questions – you might stun them into silence! However, if you don’t inquire about these important foundational ideas, you may find you’ve made a hiring mistake – again.

Your business, your staff, and your customers all deserve the best leaders you can attract. Try these ideas out with your next leadership hire – and let me know what you learn.

Would these tips improve the quality of your hiring of leaders? What has been the impact of great/OK/lousy leader hiring in your past organizations? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Adobe Stock. 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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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What dysfunctional bands teach us about work culture

AdobeStock_48903240Is one of your favorite bands dysfunctional?

Most bands are dysfunctional to some degree; many to a great degree. The pressures of writing, recording, touring, performing, doing interviews, being away from family and home 24/7 – without a break? That’d bring out the worst in any human.

The list of bands that have experienced meltdowns or breakups is long, including the Beatles, the Temptations, the Eagles, Journey, Arrested Development, Guns ‘N Roses, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Supremes, Aerosmith, Blink-182, Destiny’s Child, and many more.

As a working musician, I’ve seen “band members behaving badly” up close and personal. All organizations, including bands, experience a day-to-day work culture that either operates well or poorly in helping that organization succeed while retaining inspired, talented players.

What gets in the way of band and workplace harmony?

There are three primary drivers of dysfunctional behavior in groups: ego, validation, and demands.

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Egos run amok erode trust, respect, and healthy relationships. Ego drives selfish pride and arrogance. Ego causes people to say great things about themselves and mean things about others. It causes players to take credit for others work. It causes players to exclude others and only include people that support their huge egos.

Incivility is entirely too common in our workplaces around the globe. Researcher Christine Porath found that 98 percent of employees have experienced uncivil treatment at work.

Validation is a basic human need. We want to know we’re contributing to something meaningful. We want to feel strongly valued – yet only 21 percent of employees do feel strongly valued at work (TinyPulse).

If we get the validation we seek, we are more likely to proactively solve problems, to validate others through praise and encouragement, and to invest in cooperative teamwork. If we don’t get the validation we seek, we withhold information, we set up others to fail, we take credit and give blame.

Demands in a band grow exponentially with the band’s success. Most musicians didn’t get into music to be famous or wealthy. Most musicians are inspired by the art, the communication of ideas, the feeling of inspiring others through music.

The demands that touring, performing, etc. place on band members are incredibly stressful. We face similar demands at work – long hours, increasing workload, covering for someone who has not done a job well (or at all), working hard while being paid less than others in similar roles, etc. These demands sap our spirit, our energy, and our ability to respond “at our best.”

If we learn anything from these dysfunctional bands, it’s that we must be intentional about how we want people to behave – how we want people to treat each other – at work.

A powerful, positive, productive culture – in a band or at work – doesn’t happen by default. Leaders must specify how people are expected to treat each other – by outlining behaviors that will maintain civil relationships day to day.

In our Denver-based band, we have an organizational constitution that describes how every band member is expected to behave. Our expectations include things like being prepared, skilled in our instrumental and vocal parts so we perform effectively together. Loading gear in our trailer, unloading on site, setting up the stage (PA, lighting, effects, etc.). Tearing down the stage after the show requires everyone’s attention, even after 12 hour days . . . all while being kind and graceful with our bandmates.

With such specific behavioral expectations, we all know what’s required of us – and we proactively model those behaviors. When a bandmate doesn’t behave according to expectations, we can inquire what’s going on and re-direct where needed.

Workplace leaders must do the same thing: be very specific about the behaviors they wish people to demonstrate to ensure trustful, respectful treatment in every interaction. Once those expectations are formalized, it’s easy for everyone to embrace those behaviors – and be kind, validate others, and give credit where its due.

Gather talented, engaged players. Honor their efforts. Challenge them to perform together. Don’t let them carry any burdens with anyone. Praise and encourage ideas, efforts, and accomplishment.

You just might make beautiful music together!

How well does your work team manage egos, validation needs, and demands? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © beeboys – Adobe Stock. 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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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Deliver on the Promise of Servant Leadership

working togetherThe quality of many work environments around the globe isn’t very good. Some would say it sucks. The frustration and stress most employees experience at work quashes hope, discretionary energy, well being, cooperation, and performance.

The data is undeniable. Only 21 percent of employees feel strongly valued at work (TinyPulse). 72 percent of employees report that the most important factor in their job satisfaction is “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” – yet only 33 percent experience that respect (SHRM). Employees are leaving their jobs at the fastest rate since 2007 (US Department of Labor).

Data alone doesn’t tell the story. Human experiences can.

Here’s a powerful example. Two friends changed jobs in the last year. Both are talented, engaged actors on this stage we call earth. Their experiences, skills, and industries are quite different, but both were ecstatic about the promise of working for a great boss and a great company.

In both cases, these friends were hired by someone they respected and were excited to work for. Within months, however, the bubble burst. Their great bosses left their respective companies, leaving my friends in a dysfunctional work environment with poor leadership.

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Why did their bosses leave? Politics. Favoritism. Promises made and not kept. Values conflicts. My friends are doing the best they can under trying circumstances – to say the least.

Who has the responsibility and authority to create a powerful, positive, productive work culture . . . to ensure all employees are treated with respect . . . and to ensure employees feel strongly valued at work?

Leaders do.

And, many leaders don’t. They don’t know how to manage their work culture. They’ve never been asked to do that.

When leaders do embrace this responsibility and fully implement a culture of trust, respect, and dignity, amazing things happen. Engagement thrives. Service quality skyrockets. Results and profits jump 30 percent and more.

Our world desperately needs servant leaders – in our organizations, in our neighborhoods, in our political system, in our court system – basically, everywhere. Servant leaders create environments where values – how people treat each other – are as important as results.

There are servant leaders all around us. We read about and appreciate servant leaders of global organizations like Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group and Garry Ridge of the WD-40 Companies. We know less about local servant leaders like my friend, Umair, here in Colorado.

There is a movement afoot to formalize what effective leadership looks and sounds like – to inspire leaders across the globe to embrace the promise of servant leadership. Check out the True Leader Creed, a recent effort created by valued friends. If you agree with what the creed requires, sign it – and live it.

We need less divisiveness, less dismissiveness, and less demeaning words and actions from leaders today. We need servant leaders that create respectful workplaces and meaningful work that serves others. Servant leaders praise, encourage, inspire, and hold others accountable for being our best selves.

The road we’re on isn’t a great one. We need a new direction. Sign the creed. Be of service and of grace. Inspire people to amazing performance.

You’ll have a lot more fun – and you’ll attract and retain talented, engaged employees.

Does your boss today model servant leadership? How good is the quality of your team’s work environment? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Steven Pepple – Adobe Stock. 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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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Manage Change with Heart and Soul

ASCAP_Logo_Primary_wTagline_BlackIn my previous post I looked at two successful but struggling organizations – one struggling with the implementation of a “manager-less” organizational structure.

Implementing change is not easy. Simply announcing the change and “hoping” everyone buys into it rarely works. Let’s look at an organization that is changing fast and well.

Change done really well includes involvement of key stakeholders, alignment by team leaders and team members to the plan, and action – testing new methods and structures to serve better. You’ll see all of those in play in this story.

ASCAP is a 102-year-old member-owned performance rights organization (PRO) which grants performance licenses and collects performance royalties for music publishers and creators. (Full disclosure: I’m an ASCAP member.)

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The music industry is undergoing tremendous change. How can a PRO protect and promote members’ works in the digital age?

A year ago, Elizabeth Matthews was hired as the CEO of ASCAP. She and her team are implementing a six-year strategic plan to keep ASCAP relevant in the digital age and evolve to serve their members as effectively as possible. Matthews and her team are aligned, communicating, and moving fast.

One of the most significant and visible changes that ASCAP implemented last year was to make available to the public the percentage shares ASCAP songwriter/publisher members hold in co-written songs and the shares of co-rights holders in those songs. Making such details available amounts to sacrilege in the music industry, yet it is the right thing to do.

Matthews said that ASCAP’s goal is to ensure “people in the outside world know exactly what rights are available for licensing and our membership has confidence that they understand the rules in place under which they get paid.”

ASCAP’s evolution has been in the works since 2013. A team of outside consultants worked with ASCAP for a year to help develop their plan for the future. To learn what key stakeholders thought, interviews were conducted with the licensee (user) community, foreign performance rights organizations, music publishers, and music creators. In December 2014 the ASCAP board approved the six-year transformation plan. Matthews was appointed CEO the next month.

Within weeks, Matthews set up a transformation management office with a key executive and a talented team driving the process. At the same time, executive leadership was evolving. Some retired, some accepted new offers. This can have a negative impact on a change initiative – yet Matthews saw the silver lining. “As a not-for-profit membership organization with a key mission to drive advocacy, education, and a community for creators, people who work here . . . think of it almost as a calling,” she explained. “The hardest thing to drive in a change management situation is alignment of employees around purpose. Luckily I have that here!”

Her senior leadership team now includes executives from the music industry, from the startup environment, from technology, from investment banking, and more. She knew this team needed a wide range of experiences. If she could rally them together, they’d be focused on innovation (in a 100-year-old industry!).

There’s a new chief of strategy and a new product team to help develop initiatives around data tools, analytics, automation, and forecasting. New technology will help licensees, publishers, and creators understand and leverage more information, effectively. A licensee, publisher, or creator will “be able to find the information they’re looking for 24/7.”

Matthews notes, “By charter, ASCAP is here to protect creators’ rights. We’re owned by them. You can work at a lot of cool places that are about big data – but we’re big data with a heart.”

This is how you implement change – by involving all players, by engaging all leaders in the transformation, by testing new ideas quickly, and by investing in purpose, productivity, and passion.

What’s the most effective change initiative you’ve experienced in your career? What did leaders do to engage, inform, and involve you? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

ASCAP logo © ASCAP. 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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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Four bad workplace behaviors you need to stop tolerating now

Boss yelling at his employees at a briefingIn the middle of a busy afternoon, two senior leaders engaged in a screaming match in the office.

They cursed and yelled at each other in full view of 30 employees.

Their behavior was disrespectful and appalling. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing to watch.

I asked the company president about the argument. He said, “I know. It happens all the time.” I asked, “Why do you tolerate that bad behavior?” He replied, “I told them to stop.”

I stated the obvious: “Telling them to stop has not caused them to stop. You’re tolerating incivility and disrespect, which erodes performance, engagement, and service.” The president knew all that. He was frustrated and didn’t know how to make his senior leaders behave.

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Bad behavior in our workplaces is all too common. Workplace civility expert Christine Porath has found that 98 percent of employees she has interviewed over the past twenty years have experienced uncivil behavior at work. In 2011, half of respondents said they were treated badly at least once a week.

You get what you tolerate. If you enable bad behavior – by ignoring it, by demanding it stop then doing nothing when it continues, by modeling bad behavior yourself at times, etc. – bad behavior occurs more frequently.

If you demand civility – ensuring everyone is treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction – civil behavior occurs more frequently.

Here are the “top four” bad workplace behaviors that you need to quash, right now. They are listed from the “somewhat benign” to the “most damning.”

Demeaning, Discounting, and Dismissing – The three “D’s” happen so often and so casually at work, it seems like they’re not that big of a problem. However, the three “D’s” are gateway behaviors to much worse (as we’ll see in a moment). This combination has no beneficial impact on the players, the work, or the business. The three “D’s” are always used to “prove” that the deliverer is smarter, better, more capable, etc. then the receiver. In positive workplaces, ideas can be debated loudly and assertively AND people are treated civilly and kindly, no matter what.

Lying – This one is often known as “lying, cheating, stealing.” What happens when people lie, when they take credit for others’ work, when they say they’re done but haven’t started, when they “bend the rules” to accommodate their desires? They get found out – their lie is exposed to the light of day. Lying to protect a colleague is still lying. Telling an untruth – no matter how small – erodes confidence and performance.

Tantrums – Now we’re getting to mad skills, meaning “one is highly skilled at demonstrating one’s anger!” Throwing a hissy fit is selfish and self-serving. It makes the issue all about the tantrum-thrower rather than about root cause: missed promises or lies or a lack of skills, etc. Yelling, cursing, throwing things, slamming doors – we’ve seen it all. These actions mask the underlying problem(s). If left unaddressed, everyone who works with the tantrum-thrower is forced to accommodate the brute’s whims, walking on eggshells every day.

Bullying – this is by far the most harmful of bad workplace behaviors. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, and humiliating. Their 2014 study found that 27 percent of American workers have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work. 72 percent are aware of workplace bullying. The most troublesome finding? 72 percent of employers deny, discount, rationalize or defend bullying. Bullying in any form destroys workplace trust, respect, and dignity.

These four bad behaviors ruin any chance of a positive, productive culture. Don’t tolerate them – quash them.

Which of these bad behaviors is present in your workplace? How have leaders addressed them? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © berc – Adobe Stock. 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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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