Tag Archives: Employee Engagement

4 Signs You’re Not Leadership Material

23 Mar

leadership material

I don’t know who came up with this extremely popular notion of promoting employees into leadership positions based on tenure, but to whoever’s responsible..stupid idea, bro.

The truth of the matter is this…

NOT EVERYONE’S LEADERSHIP MATERIAL…

And that’s okay!

Just because you’re a genius in your field…

Just because you’ve been at your job for twenty-some odd years…

It doesn’t mean you have to have direct reports. 

It takes really particular skills to be a manager.

Heck- it takes a whole lot of patience too.

And for that reason, throughout my career I’ve been absolutely dumfounded when I’ve seen some not-so-leadership-material employees placed in managerial positions.

Let me say it again.

IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE!

And like I said…that’s okay.

You can still be a genius.

You can still be kick-ass at your job.

But if you’re not leadership material, please, for God’s sake…don’t make other people suffer. 

Now some of you may be wondering whether or not you’re leadership material.

(But really…those of you who aren’t…you probably already know that.)

Just in case though…to clarify this for everyone…here are 4 Signs that You’re Not Leadership Material.

1. You Have Zero Social Skills/You Hate People

People say hi to you and you stare at them, but you don’t say hi back. You don’t hold doors open for people 5 centimeters behind you. You know…basic courtesy kind of stuff.

If you’re the kind of person who avoids social situations at all costs and really doesn’t want to be troubled with interpersonal relationships, then that’s fine…but you have no business managing others. This is pretty self-explanitory.

2. You Don’t Like It When People Ask You Questions

Questions annoy you. When people ask you dumb questions that you think they ought to know the answers to, you think they’re stupid…you think that they are mentally challenged. Every time that someone asks you a question, you feel that they’re taking time away from you doing your own work. Open door policy? Forget that! Locked door policy is what you’d implement…peace and quiet is what you need.

Good managers want their employees to feel comfortable coming to them whenever they have questions. And the reality is, good employees do ask a lot of questions. Managers need to accept that part of their job is helping out their direct reports, and they shouldn’t make them feel bad about seeking that support.

3. You Couldn’t Care Less if Your Team is Motivated/Inspired

You’re sure as hell no cheerleader. You don’t think it’s your job to motivate those around you. You’re here to get a job done and everyone should be on the same page as you.

FALSE. Managers need to be cheerleaders. If it’s not written in the job description, someone’s lying to you. If you want your team to work well and to perform to the best of its ability, you’ll need to take out those metaphorical pom-poms at times and inspire your people. Because let’s face it, there are times at any job when morale is low. And when morale is low, not a whole lot of work gets done. Teams that get out of that slump are the teams who have great leaders, and believe me, they’re super grateful for that. Look into it…they call it transformational leadership. 

4. You Want to Punch Positive People in the Face

You hate it when people smile. You hate it when you come to work Monday morning and people are actually happy. What the heck is wrong with them? They ought to be a bit less peppy.

If you’re a negative Nancy, you have no business managing others. You need to be a positive influence, and people need to actually enjoy being around you. Do you have to do backflips everyday and sing songs? No. But you should strive to be a positive role model for others and part of that means helping others see the bright side of things regardless of how bad any work situation is.

***Now it’s your turn…what else makes someone not leadership material?

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5 Reasons Why This Twenty-Something LOVES Her New Job

6 Feb

Work Hard Have Fun No Drama I’ve been at my new job for 8 months now, and really… I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy-fast time has gone by. One minute I’m interviewing and BAM!!! Here I am almost a year into it. Taking this new job was a huge leap for me. For starters, I knew nothing about the industry. While most people being interviewed had years of experience doing the job at other companies… I. Had. Zero. But man was I willing to learn! People warned me. People told me the job would be terrible. People asked me if it was really something that I wanted to do. And although I didn’t know much, I knew that it was an exciting opportunity and that I needed a new challenge. 8 months later, I thank God every day that I made that jump. So to help explain exactly why I’m so happy, here are 5 reasons why THIS 20-something LOVES her new job…

  1. I’m Surrounded By People Who Are Willing to Teach Me

Like I said, I was a newbie. I accepted a job as a Contract Administrator in a large Supply Chain department and I didn’t even know what a backorder was. This could have been a total failure. But it wasn’t. And you know why? Because the people around me are really freaking awesome. Because from the minute I stepped foot in this department, my co-workers took me under their wings and they taught me everything they know. Because they were secure enough in their own abilities and talents that they didn’t feel threatened by the thought of sharing what they’ve learned over the years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

  1. We’re Treated Like Adults

Imagine a workplace where you can go to the bathroom without your boss staring at his computer counting the number of minutes that you’re away from your desk. Imagine a workplace where you can go to work and if you need to leave to a doctor’s appointment or to pick up your sick kid, you can do that and no one gives you a hard time about it. We can do that here. After a really hectic morning we can go have a nice lunch off campus, come back to work, and we’re not looked down upon for taking a break. It’s kind of awesome. We’re treated like adults. And you might be thinking well yea, we should be treated like adults since that’s what we ARE, but you’d be surprised how absolutely rare this kind of work environment is. We’re treated like professionals and even though we may not be at our desks glued to our chairs every moment of every day, everyone knows that we’ll get the job done. We always do.

  1. Our Work/Play Balance is all Sorts of Fantastic

You can go to work, work super hard, and have fun doing it. It’s true, I promise! And although I’ve questioned this notion in the past, I swear on my life I’ve never had so much fun at work. And you might think okay… she’s a contract administrator…sounds kinda super lame and boring. But dude, we laugh and we joke and we have so much fun. And the best part about it is that even though we laugh and we have a good time, we’re still taken seriously because we produce excellent work. I don’t think you have to be miserable and serious all the time to be considered a professional. I think that you can work and play and play while you work. Because really, if you don’t, it’s so easy to go crazy.

  1. My Bosses Are Approachable, Nice Human Beings

It’s not something that I take for granted. My bosses are really one of a kind. They’re legit humans. Like… super- down- to -earth –real- people- who- have- feelings- and- know- that- I –have- feelings –and- so- they’re- nice- and- not- mean-and- they- don’t- scream- at- me- and- belittle- me- and- make- me- feel- like- I’m- stupid. In a nutshell. Do they do their jobs? Yes! Really well, in fact. Do they tell me when I’ve made a mistake and help me fix it? Yep. Do they provide guidance? All the time. But do they have huge egos? No. Do they walk around thinking they’re better than anyone? No. Do they scream and yell and embarrass their employees? Never. And that’s why I love working for them. They have an open door policy and we can talk to them about anything whenever we need to and we’re not scared of them, because they’re super cool. I mean, on what planet should we have to be scared of our bosses? How does that make us perform better? If you figure that out, let me know. But in the meantime, I’ll stick to working for bosses who really know how to lead.

  1. They Took A Chance on Me

I’m like 500% positive that there are people who would have never hired me for this position. There are managers who would have taken one look at my resume and would have thrown it in the trash simply because I didn’t have experience in this field. But my leadership took a chance on me. They decided that I had potential and that I could be taught, and so they were willing to invest in me. They were willing to give me a shot and by giving me that shot, I feel the need to prove to them every day that they made the right decision. I respect them so much for that, and I feel so lucky every day to be a part of this kick-ass team. Other stuff you might like:

7 Things I Learned About Work and Life After Years of Hating Sports

5 Sep

Approximately 27 million.

That’s how many people are playing fantasy football.

And so it begins…

Football season.

Here’s something you should know about me:

For years and years and years, I HATED sports.

I mean, really, I detested them.

Perhaps it was because one of my ex boyfriends left me after high school to go play basketball.

Or, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I can’t understand how athletes make bazillions of dollars and teachers make pennies.

Maybe it’s always been a little bit of both.

Regardless, every year as all of my friends indulge in the craziness surrounding their favorite sports teams, I’ve always sat around watching everyone drink beer, kind of scratching my head, wondering what the big fuss is about.

I just never understood.

But as I entered the workforce, I began to see parallels between the world of sports and organizational structure.

So here’s why I can now say that I LIKE sports.

I don’t LOVE them yet, but I like them.

Because through sports, we learn lessons about life and work, and they’re important.

1. Sports teach us about competition

Competition is the key to success and ensures that we continue striving for excellence. No team likes to lose. They don’t. Therefore, in order to win, they have to play their best. Whether you’re competing for a spot at an Ivy League school or for that kick ass job you applied for, if you want to win, you have to be better than your competition. Same applies to any company. You want business? You want clients? Then you need to be better than your competitors. You need to be committed to learning and growing and perfecting your skills so that your competition doesn’t even stand a chance.

2. Sports remind us of the importance of succession plans

There are always going to be stars. We’ve got Lebron James and well…I don’t know that many sports players other than Tim Tebow and…um…okay…Dan Marino and…um…all the Alabama football players that my boyfriend’s always talking about, but the point is that while they’re on the team, the team dominates. The team does well. They win their trophies. Everybody cheers. Everyone is happy. But what happens when these star players no longer play? What happens when they get hurt or they retire or they go play for another team? More often than not, the team’s performance suffers.

Just like sports teams recruit new players by watching college games, eyeing prospective future players, companies should be doing the same, recruiting talent for the future. That way, when their current stars no longer work for them, they’ll have great new talent and their team’s performance won’t suffer.

3. Sports show us that if you put in work, you get results 

It’s not that complicated. If you work hard, you’ll see results. If you’re out practicing on the field, more often than not, you’re going to perform a lot better than that player that never attends practice and thinks that he can just show up the day of the game and be awesome. Nothing in life that’s good comes easily. I don’t care how corny that sounds. It’s true. If you put in effort, if you dedicate yourself to continuous improvement, you will ALWAYS be better off than you were before. Be it your job, your relationship, those six pack abs that you’re dying to have, if you want to achieve great results, you need to put in the time and energy. Great companies understand this and know that to achieve success, they need to have employees that are committed to nothing less than that and therefore, they facilitate an environment that encourages continuous learning and improvement.

4. Sports create team players 

There’s no I in team…blah…blah…blah…you’ve heard it a million times. But it’s as true for an organization as it is for any sports team. Organizations need to have teams that work well together and know how to play on each other’s strengths in order to win.

5. Sports give us a sense of hope and are a source of inspiration

There are a lot of bad things going on in the world, a lot of unfair things happening on a daily basis. But it’s nice that for a few short hours, while people sit in front of the t.v. shotgunning beers, people have something else to think about. We love to root for the underdog. We watch sports movies about the team that never could have won, but did. They remind us that regardless of how bad a situation is, things can be better. That if we believe that we can do things, we can surprise ourselves and everyone else with how far we get. People want to be inspired. They want to have something to believe in. We want to know that even if our team went 0 and 500 last year, with the right coaching, the right players, and the right attitude, we can turn it around and go undefeated. Sports do that for us, and I love that.

6. Sports create for us a sense of belonging

People want to belong to something. People want to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. 22 year old Marina Keegan, a Yale student,  wrote a beautiful essay about just this, right before she died in a tragic accident. Here she writes as she dwells upon graduation:

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

We want to belong to something. Especially us Millennials, just entering the workforce, who have just been ripped apart, as Keegan says, from all the “tiny circles we pull around ourselves.” Those circles define us. They’re how we define ourselves. When we cheer for a particular team, we belong to that group of people who cheer for them as well. And just like that, we belong to something. We’re Dolphins fans…we’re Patriots fans…we’re Auburn fans (just kidding, babe). We cheer together. We cry together. We throw the remote control at the t.v. when we’re down together.

For that same reason, companies need to focus on building their brand and cultivating a positive culture within their organization. They should want their employees to feel that they belong to something much bigger. They should want their employees to feel that they’re part of the team. That way, they cheer when the organization is doing well and they work harder than ever when they’re down because their goal is to see their team win. Because they don’t want to belong to something that loses.

7. If nothing else, sports give us something to talk about at work 

Yes. It’s true.

So there you have it. Those are seven reasons why I can no longer say that I hate sports.

I’m sure there are other reasons, like this…

There. I officially LOVE sports. I said it. Thank you, Mr. Beckham.

And so that my man doesn’t kill me, ROLL TIDE, everyone!

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Embracing Change: Why it’s in Everyone’s Best Interest

3 Feb

So my boss called me into her office today to discuss my tardiness. Lovely… Okay so yes, I’ve been late the past oh I don’t know…week. Now you see, I tried to explain to her my view on standard hours  and I thought she’d be impressed with my research. Negative. Instead she told me to not let it happen again. I sat there, and nodded my head. No point in fighting her, at least not right now.

I could clearly see that she was NOT receptive to what I had to say. It seems to me like the very thought of change unsettled her. So then I had a thought. The fact is that by 2025, 75% of the workforce is going to consist of Ge-Yers, true story.  So excuse me for saying this, but really, wouldn’t it benefit our leaders to be a bit more receptive to our ideas? Given that in less than 13 years we will outnumber them?

Now I don’t think Gen-Yers are asking for anything outrageous (most of the time). I’m not asking to come into work in a bikini or get paid to watch tv shows. I want to work. But if our leaders continue implementing rigid policies and procedures with absolutely no intention of listening to us, it’s going to get old, really fast.

Gen-Yers don’t want their creativity to be stifled. They want to set their own hours and have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Unfortunately, if leaders continue to clash heads with Gen-Y, the organizations are going to suffer. Let’s work on building a two-way street of communication. Don’t be so quick to dismiss Gen-Y ideas, they may be of some value. I promise, keeping us engaged is a win-win situation. 

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