Archive for leadership development

Leadership Navigator Radio: Screaming Employees

Handling Screaming Employees

November 8, 2012 at Noon EST

Leadership Navigator Radio

Do you have employees that are out and out fighting with each other at work?  Yelling, screaming, not getting along or perhaps has difficult relationships with their supervisor?

Conflicts in the workplace happen frequently and the fallout can be costly to the employer and the employee.  Developing the skills to resolve conflicts that arise can save your company significant money.  First let’s look at the costs:

  1. Decreased productivity due to the emotions involved in interpersonal conflict.
  2. time lost from work by employees
  3. time lost from work by managers involved in the conflict
  4. recruitment and training of new employees
  5. decreased productivity by other staff due to tension/stress and the overall work environment

The root of many conflicts is communication: either unclear communication, resulting in misunderstandings.  One strategy to address rising incidents of conflict is communication training.  Teaching people how to listen and how to talk clearly can prevent and decrease conflicts.  Communication is such a challenge.  So often, we feel we have been really clear, only to find out that the other person really misunderstood us.    Being a clear communicator takes commitment.  You need to be able to talk in a neutral sort of way, eliminating inflammatory emotions.  Speak from the heart and listen from the heart are good basic guidelines.  Beyond the basics, are to listen deeply to what the other person is saying and then to check-in with them.  Ask them: “is this what you are saying?”  It lets the person you are talking with know what you have understood and gives them the opportunity to clarify or correct misunderstandings.

What do you do when the conflicts have escalated?  Resolving conflicts are good for everyone involved, but sometimes it’s hard to see that in the moment for the people directly in conflict.  As mentioned earlier, conflict is costly.  Sometimes as the owner, or manager we forget that there is a great cost to us but also to the employee.  Changing jobs due to a conflict means a great deal of change for an employee.  They might not be able to get the same level of pay; benefits; shifts, etc that they are accustomed to.   The impact to the employee and their family can be high.

As the leader you can set-up an effective environment to resolve the dispute by following some simple steps and laying out a couple of guidelines.

First, spend time talking with each person involved.  Let them know that your belief is that developing a shared solution is important to each person and that you value each of the employees involved.  During the individual meetings you can begin to gather information about what they see as the possible solutions.  Let the employees know that your intent is to meet with each of them and then with them together, to talk about their perspective and possible solutions to the conflict.

Use a simple & effective process: 

  1. Create a safe space for involved parties to talk. (private, neutral) 
  1. Set out the guidelines:
  •        Only one person talks at a time
  •        No interruptions, defending or justifying
  •        Come in with an open mind, open to the possible solutions and be willing to compromise. 
  1. Give each person an opportunity to tell their story, from their perspective.  Remind the other people involved that we are each listening, listening to each person’s perspective.  This is a key. 
  1. Paraphrase the stories of each person. This ensures that each story has been understood.  Using phrases such as “What I am hearing you say is…. Is that right?”
  1. After everyone has had an opportunity to tell their story, brainstorm possible solutions. Again, this isn’t a time to judge.  Whenever you are brainstorming you want all the ideas, good or bad, or out in left field.  One of them might be the idea that helps someone come up with the BEST solution.  
  1. Identify the solutions that work for each party. Ifs important that the solution is agreeable to each party and the company.  In order for the agreed upon solution to work and be successful, you need buy in. 
  1. Agree to do the solution.  The last step is the key to moving forward.

Some common pitfalls:

Don’t take sides. As the manager your interest is the company, the resolution of the conflict and each employee.

Don’t mandate a solution; you want the staff invested in the solution.

What do you do if staffs refuse to participate in conflict resolution?

            Offering staffs the opportunity to resolve conflict is a much better option than being disciplined, having supervisor mandated solutions or taking no action at all.  When staffs refuse to cooperate or participate, its time to talk with them about your company policies, their personal responsibility for their behavior and actions and your responsibility as the owner or manager to take actions based on their behavior.  The intent of this type of conversation isn’t to threaten disciplinary action, but to talk about the reality of the situation and the need to resolve it. Each individual makes choices, as supervisors our actions are based upon the behaviors and actions of the employee.  As the supervisor you are encouraging good choice making, but the reality is that some people will make a poor choice and choose to continue to act in ways that are not acceptable in your workplace.  In these situations you must then follow your organizations policies as outlined for your employees in the employee handbook.  Resolving the conflict and creating a good work environment for everyone is my first choice as the manager/supervisor/owner.

Conflicts in the workplace can be successfully resolved, by listening. Giving each person space to tell their story validates them and communicates to them their value to you and the organization.  Using the simple process outlined keeps you moving in a positive direction.

[slideshare id=8557040&doc=screamingatworkisnotanacceptablebehavior-110710115048-phpapp02]

What are the challenges that you face at work?

Tune into to Leadership Navigator Radio!


Holiday Leadership Lessons: Spirit is Contagious

Holiday Leadership Lessons from the Movies:

Elf: Enthusiasm Is Contagious

Take a six-foot tall adopted elf named Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) who wants to find his birth father, make that father the prickly James Caan, and throw them together  in the midst of New York City and see what happens. Buddy wants a warm and cuddly family reunion; his father Walter wants nothing more than to make this new-found son disappear, preferably with a pair of cement boots on him.

Ah, but this is Christmas, so not only does Buddy convince his new family that syrup tastes good on everything; he also wins the heart of his stepmother, half-brother, and the cynical Jovie, his new love. And yes, Walter eventually sees the light.

So business owners, here’s your business lesson from Buddy the Elf: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing aloud for all to hear.”

So… what if you’re not Santa? Buddy would tell you it doesn’t matter. Enthusiasm is catching. No one is going to be more excited about your business, your product, your podcast, your class, your blog than you are.  Be enthusiastic with your staff, your vendors and your customers.  You MUST BELIEVE.  If you don’t BELIEVE how can anyone else?

Sometimes we feel a little hesitant to show our enthusiasm. It can be risky to show how much we care about something. But if we don’t show our passion, we’re not going to convince anyone else to follow or act on our recommendations.  We’ve even been trained to not brag, not show off and so those types of behaviors often feel uncomfortable.  Overcome it.  Jump out of your comfort zone and share proudly with enthusiasm your business.  Your excitement will be contagious.

Think about the last time you went out to eat. If the waiter or waitress gave a lackluster endorsement to the daily special, you likely took a pass. But if she or he said, “I just tried it before my shift and it was delicious!” you’d be a little more likely to partake. Enthusiasm sells. Period.

Here are a few tips to make like Buddy the Elf without sounding like a used car salesman (or an escapee from the North Pole):

  • Be honest. Don’t sell or promote something you don’t believe in. It never works – people can tell, and you’ll damage your reputation. BELIEVE.
  • Be yourself. You may be the understated type who isn’t going to jump out of a helicopter a la Richard Branson to promote your latest business venture. You don’t have to be! (One Richard Branson is enough for this world.) But do show your energy in a way that is natural for you, and push your comfort zone a bit.
  • Be realistic. If you promote every new thing that comes down the block, or have a new solution du jour, pretty soon no one is going to listen to you.

You don’t have to dress up in pointy shoes to get people to buy your new ??????. But hey… if the shoe fits… why not?

At the minimum, don’t promote things you aren’t passionate about yourself.  Don’t sell the broken down “used car”.  Sell yourself, your own enthusiasm and passion for your product and service, and sell your belief.

Keep watching for more lessons from the movies for businesses and leaders.  Join the conversation and leave your comments.  Become a contributor and include a full business/leadership related article.

Leadership During the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for leaders to stand out and shine. There are many opportunities to be a guiding light, to demonstrate your company values and aspirations.  What are the ways that you have taken the lead during the holidays?  Not a holiday party but real leadership of holiday spirit.  Share your stories and let me know the impact it has had on your team and workplace.

Does your workplace do special outreach?  Support community programs?  Support staff in community leadership during the holidays?  How do you demonstrate your leadership at this special time of year?

Holiday Leadership Lessons: It's a Wonderful Life…

Special Leadership Lessons from Holiday Movies:

It’s a Wonderful Life:
Never Underestimate the Power of Tribes

One of the most memorable Christmas movies of all time is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring the incomparable Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It’s the ultimate feel-good movie, perfect for anyone who’s ever wondered if their life holds meaning.

Here’s the lowdown: George Bailey, played by Stewart, is on the verge of collapse. His small building and loan company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the mean rich man in town is poised to swoop in, and though he has a house full of adorable kids and a gorgeous wife (Reed), there’s never enough money to go around. George decides his family and business would be better off without him. On the brink of suicide, he’s saved by a fledgling angel, Clarence.

Clarence goes on to show George what his life would be like if he’d never existed, and the sight ain’t pretty. By seeing all the people he’s touched, George realizes that he has created a strong network of love and support – he’s created a tribe. And it’s this tribe that pulls together at the end of the movie to give back to George, helping him out of his current difficulties.

The lesson to you should be obvious: Your tribe can, quite literally, save your life. You should be building not only a viable business, but a community – one that supports and cares for each other. If you’re just out to make a buck, don’t be surprised if no one leaps to defend you or lend you a helping hand when things go bad. And they will go bad.

You can get “slapped” by Google. You can get your PayPal account frozen. You can get brought up on charges by the FTC. You can get hacked, robbed, or plagiarized. It happens.

But if you have friends like George’s, you’ll have a whole team of folks on your side. But one thing to remember: George had friends he’d created just by being a good guy, doing the right thing at the right time, not worrying about what was in it for him. He stood up for what was right and shook hand after hand, even when it cost him personally.

He didn’t build this community by selling junk or automating his Twitter feed or spamming everyone. He did it the old fashioned way: By caring.

Some business techniques never go out of style.

How have you incorporated building community into your leadership style and practice?  Building community is skill of talented leaders.

Join us for the Leadership Challenge Training in 2012.


Leadership: Is It a Thing of the Past?

In history students learn about the activities, good and bad, that individual historians label as  a good leader and leadership. We study their personalities to extract the qualities required for leadership.  Experts argue if leaders are made or born. I think it’s some of both, based on situations and the individual.  You can teach someone to lead but they must have the desire and certain personality or character traits to be effective and a high quality leader. Others are never taught leadership but in a situation that calls for leadership they emerge as a natural leader.

Leaders are sometimes defined as revolutionaries. During times of conflict or change one individual usually stands out. That person has the ability to motivate individuals to fight for something that is difficult. Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of a leader involved in a social cause. Wars require a leader. The absence of a leader in situations like these would be chaos.

In business, the roles of leader and manager are somewhat intertwined.

“Leader” usually implies a broad view, the person at the top, the visionary. The buck stops here usually means the leader is the one ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a given mission. Leaders utilize managers to help them complete their tasks. The “managers” are often not the “leader” but rather the implementer and at the same time they are expected to lead.

The current world situation calls for strong leadership. Recent changes in technology, economics, communication and social issues created problems that individuals and companies are struggling to deal with.  It seems as if there’s a whole new arena of leaders emerging. Bookstores offer numerous viewpoints by individuals promoting what they believe it takes to successfully lead a company. Some of these are excellent resources. Is there a magic formula? Can someone learn to lead by reading a book?

Many of the qualities of successful leaders from the past are still essential today.

Some things like integrity never change. Perhaps some individuals we looked up to as leaders forgot or disregarded qualities such as character. Society is fed up with immoral living, dishonesty and selfishness of today’s business leaders. Emerging leaders need to restore the “good name” formerly associated with leadership, as well as embrace the changes in our current global society.

Experts have different opinions on what makes a good leader. Most people would agree there are certain characteristics that all good leaders must possess.

The following qualities I believe are essential for effective leaders. They are not necessarily in order of importance.

Passion. All strong leaders have passion.

They are totally committed to and sold on their cause. The end goal or result is the over driving force in their life. They eat breath and sleep this; sometimes to excess. Driven to succeed they also have the ability to ignite excitement in others. Without passion they could not enlist followers. Sometimes this is confused with enthusiasm or charisma. Having passion can lead to those behaviors but they are not requirements. Mother Teresa was not known for her enthusiasm.

Vision. Leaders have vision.

They look beyond today and see the big picture. Not content with how things are now they see something better in the future. A good leader is realistic about current circumstances but they don’t feel trapped. Their desire to succeed or make things better drives them to find ways to make this happen.

Self Confidence. Leaders possess self confidence.

They’ve had past success, they know what they’re capable of and most of all they understand the importance of never giving up. If they fail they continue trying until they succeed. Philosophers believe that thinking you can do something is half the battle. If you don’t think you can do something you probably will not even try. A confident leader inspires their followers to believe in themselves. They do not have a problem delegating duties to others.

Integrity. A good leader is truthful and dependable.

Followers of leaders with integrity do not have to wonder if something their leader said is true – they know it is true. This is based on past behavior and reputation of the leader.  Lies and deceitful behavior eventually surface. If this happens individuals are reluctant to follow someone they do not trust. Sometimes a leader doesn’t reveal all they know and they might even dress something up due to sensitive issues but integrity is buried deep in their essence. They don’t look for dishonest ways to do something or how to cheat the system. Jack Welch is a modern business leader known for his integrity.

Humble. Great leaders are humble.

They do not feel they are better than anyone else. They are willing to do everything they ask their followers to do. A leader recognizes the importance of teamwork and gives credit to others. It’s not their success but the team’s success. They don’t boast or brag and sometimes even have difficulty taking credit. Sometimes humility is incorrectly defined as weakness. Jesus, washing the feet of his disciples and other acts he did, is a great example of humility.

Knowledge. A leader must posses the knowledge required to complete their mission.

Leaders are usually avid readers, life long students, and view every situation as an opportunity to learn more. Knowledge and education are not the same. Sometimes individuals with advanced learning possess little knowledge. Knowledge is like advanced common sense. Much of it comes from life experience. A leader’s knowledge could be defined as wisdom. Wisdom is not only having knowledge but knowing how to use it in the most effective way. King Solomon, in the Bible, is sometimes referred to as the wisest man ever.  His writings in the book of Proverbs are thought by some to be the best how to instruction manual ever written.

Think outside the box. Leaders know that things and life constantly change.

They know clinging to current methods and refusing to consider all possibilities prevents growth and eventually leads to stagnation. Individuals who think outside the box know their ideas are not always right therefore they seek input from others. Sometimes this leads to radical change.  People resist change especially something drastic that affects them personally. Doing things like everyone else makes you “normal”. Breaking away from the status quo makes you “different”. Good leaders do not follow the crowd but rather search for the best way to complete their mission.

Accept Failure. Leaders know they do not always make the right decision but that most of the time they are right.

They admit their mistakes without making excuses. Mistakes for them are opportunities to learn. They don’t give-up or wallow in self pity. By admitting mistakes a leader reveals their humility. Though we want our leaders to be like super heroes, we also want them to be human.

Effective communicator. A leader can have all the above qualities but if they can not communicate with their followers it’s difficult for them to lead.

Communication isn’t just talking. Leaders are good listeners. They pay attention to the details, remember the important things and have the ability to say the right thing at the right time.  Communication from a good leader is positive. They give criticism if needed but don’t destroy egos. Leaders know people react more favorably to praise.  They praise more and criticize less. A leader does not reveal everything they know.  They don’t gossip or engage in communication that’s harmful to someone else or to the mission. They limit their complaining to those who can do something about the problem. Conflict is not discouraged but rather controlled. A leader knows they will not be friends with everyone but they are friendly. The leader who practices the above principles will have the respect of their followers.

Courage. Leadership takes courage.

With courage, passion, vision, integrity and humbleness a great leader can climb mountains.  Their businesses and the people that work with them excel and greatness is attained, not for the purpose of greatness but for the accomplishment of vision and mission.  Their goal is clear and compelling and being such their teams work with them to achieve it.  Great leadership remains unchanged decade to decade, century to century, and perhaps bad leadership remains unchanged as well.  But it is with great leadership that we continue to thrive and build great companies, communities and ultimately the world.  When leaders lead with quality, organizations thrive.

<iframe src="” width=”320″ height=”240″>

Leadership Development: A Process

Leadership Development Process:

Assess – Develop – Practice – Refine

Leadership Development is a lifelong process: an endeavor that takes courage and commitment, an awareness of oneself and the need to foster one’s own skills.  The process of development is a cycle of continuous, lifelong learning.  Leaders that choose to take on the challenge of leadership and their own personal growth and development as a leader are able to achieve more.  It is a process, an intentional one.

Most every leader is challenged in some way.  Leadership is a people sport:  people dynamics and when you involve people then there are challenges.


It begins with awareness or assessment:  knowing where you are currently at. Awareness is a gift, knowing that you are not perfect, that there is room for growth and that you don’t know all of the answers for interacting with your team.  Completing a leadership assessment can be a tool for digging a bit deeper into your current skills.  Leadership assessment can be individual or with input from constituents.  The goal is to see where there are strengths and where there is room for growth and focused skill development.  Every leader possesses some skills and every (honest) leader has areas that could improve and areas for learning and growth.


Skill development is the next step: learning what the skills of excellent leadership are.  Leadership skills can be learned especially with practice and refinement.  True leadership skill acquisition can be accomplished through highly effective training.  Participating in experiential training that includes time for learning and skill practice is important.  Experiential because it will more likely give you the time to learn and practice.


Your workplace is your practice ground. Yes, you should try new skills on at the training.  The training should be long enough to give participants enough time to practice, but once back in the workplace there are daily opportunities to use new skills.  Executive Coaching following the training helps to ensure that new skills are used, new behaviors are adopted.  It is so easy to move back into old behavior patterns.  Behavior is habitual.  Even the most conscious leaders regress back to previous behaviors. Coaching or continued follow up is designed to give leaders a resource for receiving honest feedback and additional support in taking on new skills.  Leaders are often alone.  The executive coach provides a neutral person for the leader to consult with.


Leadership development is a lifelong learning process.  Staff will always throw unexpected curveballs for leaders to work through.  Periodic assessment of skills is a great strategy for determining whether the leadership development plan has been effective in addressing the areas that needed attention.  Assessment begins the cycle again.  With a continuous plan for improving leadership and improving the workplace companies can achieve more than they set out to.

Leadership Development is a Responsibility

Leadership development is not just the responsibility of the company but also that of the leader.  Leaders, themselves, have to recognize the need and the benefit to their leadership development.  Leaders can create their own leadership development plan and review it each year.  By implementing an intentional and focused leadership development plan, leaders improve the results they achieve for the businesses, their staff and teams.  Investing in leadership development just makes sense.




A Bully in the Manager’s Office

Bullies Live In The Manager’s Office Too

Bully Leader

Bullies don’t just exist on the playground.  They also sit in the manager’s chair or the CEO’s office.  Bully leadership is sharp, authoritative, angry, and feels uncomfortable to those in contact with it. Bully leaders believe that they are rallying the troops, getting everyone on board.  But that is not what happens.  The bully leader barks out orders, threatens consequences and uses strong, harsh statements to “motivate” people to do what the leader wants.

The “motivation” that results is limited.  And that is what the “Bully Leader” doesn’t realize. Bully Leaders are scary for people so they do what they need to do but there is a sacrifice.  The sacrifice occurs in the work performed.  People do what needs to be done and that is all.  They don’t go above and beyond.  They don’t share their knowledge and ideas with the leader.  The Bully Leader wants and needs to be the one with the great ideas.  They don’t want to share the limelight.

The bully leader believes their approach is working because they see results.  They don’t see the limitation or the impact of their style.  What they see are results.  The results are what needed to occur.  The Bully Leadership style is reinforced and continues on.  What they fail to see is the results that could have happened with a more open, empowering leadership style.  They fail to see the impact of their leadership on their staff.  They fail to recognize the negative effects.  These negative impacts are costly to the company.  As a result:

People are not empowered.

Bully leaders miss out on the great ideas of their staff.

  • People respond with decreased motivation, interest and commitment or loyalty.  This can lead to decreased productivity and quality.
  • People may have physical responses that increase absenteeism.
  • People may have their emotional responses that mirror the leaders creating a bullying atmosphere that permeates the organization.

What motivates the Bully Leader?

Bully Leaders want control.  They lack trust in other people.  They believe that no one will or can do the job as well as them.  Out of their fear and lack of trust comes their assertion of aggressive behaviors.  They also have a history of using bullying techniques to control their world.  It has a history of working for them, feeling empowering to them and maintaining their own safety.

The results of the bully leader are far less than that of an empowering coaching leader.  This effective leader trusts that people can and will do their job.  Through their empowerment, staffs exceed expectations.  The leader has time to create new business opportunities, nurture existing client relationships and pursue greater results.

A bully leader can shift and become a empowering coaching leader through intentional focus and work.  There are several steps they need to take to make this shift:

  • Recognize that their bullying approach is not effective
  • Commit to the change
  • Work with a coach to learn: coaching skills, creating a coaching work environment and empowerment strategies
  • Work with the team to transition from being bullied to being coached.  This step is the hardest because it requires trust on both sides and trust has not existed for this team in the past.  The leader will have to build trust and be patient during this transitional time. Their commitment to change will have to extraordinary to demonstrate their trust of others and their willingness to risk their own vulnerability.
  • Recognize accomplishments of the team and each success.

Bullying behavior can be shifted to that of a collaborative leader with focused work on the part of the leaders. Organizations continue to recognize the negative impact a bully has their overall outcomes and work to shift the leader’s behavior or move bullies out of the organization. Take action today to shift your organization to one of empowerment and collaboration and see the results within the company change.  The benefits are astounding.  You will see increases in employee performance, loyalty, idea generation and sharing, team work, focus, and implementation of strategic goals.  These all contribute to improved overall success of the organization.

Take our Assessment:  Are You Leading or Are You Bullying?

Compass Rose Consulting provides leadership development resources through the Real World Leader’s Institute