By Karen Bridbord, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Organizational Consultant
When I wrote about the inflection of workplace culture back in May, I was expecting the pandemic to be a distant memory by now. Remember when we all thought it was going to last three weeks? Yet today, six months into the most significant global health crisis of our lifetime, we find ourselves still grappling with uncertainty.
Instead of creating new rituals to uplift and ground us as we find ourselves, as I recommended in the beginning of the pandemic, we now must find a way to sustain ourselves. We’re collectively exhausted. This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to act accordingly. This includes adjusting our company values and how they’re operationalized in our organizational cultures.
By Jessica Hicks, Associate Multimedia Editor at Thrive Global
Managing people is tough — but managing people as they work from home during a global pandemic, well, that’s another story. Whether you’re a first-time manager or have been leading people for years, the coronavirus crisis has likely pushed you into uncharted territory. On top of overseeing day-to-day workflow, problem-solving, and paying attention to the bottom line and deliverables, there’s another big task on your plate: helping to take care of the human capital on your team when you don’t see them every day.
“It is difficult to know what demands each individual is facing — whether it be navigating health issues, a partner that is a frontline responder, children in need of care, extended family members that are isolated,” Ashley Hardin, Ph.D., a professor of organizational behavior at Washington University in St. Louis, tells Thrive. “Many employees are balancing many roles and enacting those roles simultaneously for the first time.”
By Patrick Lencioni
I’m a big believer in reminders. Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century author, once said that “people need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” I’ve learned this in the context of managing my own life, in the parenting of my children, and even in consulting to CEOs and other leaders. Which is why I wasn’t all that surprised when a long time client recently asked us the question, “as a CEO, I’m not sure how I should be spending my time every day.”
Here was a guy who has been using the organizational health concepts from The Advantage in his company for years, but who had lost sight of how those concepts should relate to the prioritization of his daily activities. Basically, he needed a reminder, which prompted me to write this essay.
The simplest answer to his question is this: “A CEO should spend most of his or her time doing the things that only he or she can do. Anything else can be delegated, and should be whenever possible.” There are a few responsibilities that leaders of an organization, whether they are CEOs, division presidents, school principals or pastors, cannot delegate. A large part of those responsibilities relates to what we call organizational health. They include:
By Marcel Schwantes
Ever wonder if you're true leadership material? Perhaps you've been told you are, but the question is, by what standard? Thousands of leadership books are written each year, many of them with marketing agendas to rehash and repackage what has been talked about for decades.
What is true about leadership that will remain unchanged through the centuries is this: It's about people and relationships. And that requires that leaders have a natural bent for both. If you're not into either, you're not a leader.
And you can start with the proven fact that great leaders aspire to lead by serving the needs of their people. You don't need flavor-of-the-month books and expensive formal training to learn this concept.
But you do need to develop and measure yourself against the standards of great leadership (which I strongly propose to be servant leadership). Here are four top leadership characteristics I have witnessed that float to the top. Do any describe you?
Being successful in life requires you to make the right decisions for yourself and this takes knowing who you are and what you uniquely offer. When you say yes to the right projects and job for yourself, you are able to beautifully handle the work and the obstacles that inevitably arise as you make something happen in the world.
Susan brings you a cutting edge, revolutionary body of knowledge called BG5 that applies the principles of individuality from Human Design. Using the knowledge gained from BG5 analyses catapults you into a new way of dealing with yourself and others which leads to unprecedented results.
For more information about how my colleague Susan Begeman Steiner works with teams and individuals check out her website: sbsteinercoaching.com
by Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global
76 percent of Americans — a clear majority — said they have or recently had a toxic boss, according to new research conducted by Monster and released today.
A positive work environment is crucial to performing good work — and to managing your own stress — and leadership often plays a vital part in setting that positive tone.
Toxicity, in the survey, took several different forms, and the numbers on all of them were high: 26 percent of bosses, according to Monster’s survey, are “power-hungry,” 18 percent are “micromanagers,” 17 percent are “incompetent” and 15 percent are simply absent (“What boss? He/she is never around,” as the survey phrased it).
These numbers are a stark contrast to the 19 percent of employees who see their boss as a mentor and the 5 percent who indicated that their boss is someone with whom they have “the best relationship.”
Alan Benson, Ph.D., a professor of Work and Organizations at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, explains the significance of these numbers to Thrive Global: “Facing a bad boss can be one of the greatest challenges we can have when managing our careers.” He suggests that there are three courses to take when faced with a bad manager who stresses you out: “Exit the team, voice your concerns to the boss or to HR or just suffer through it.” The choice you make, according to Benson, should “depend on your exact circumstances,” but his advice gives some helpful questions to consider as you decide on your approach.
When to go to HR
“Toxic,” in the survey and otherwise, is used as an umbrella term for a lot of different types of behavior.
by Suzie Doscher, Executive and Life Coach, Zurich, Switzerland
In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “control freak” is “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” The Merriam Webster dictionary says that a control freak is “a person whose behavior indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.” One way or another, control freaks are not always easy to be around.
I understand this personality trait could stem from a chaotic childhood. Such experiences can make it hard for people to trust others or relinquish control to others. The fear of falling apart pushes them to control what they can. As their emotions are all over the place, they feel loss of control. For this reason, control freaks will micromanage whatever they can with the belief that this makes them strong. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers.
I imagine each and every one of us is a control freak, or takes on the behavior of such, at some point or another. The fear of failure is what makes it so important to control everything when you do not trust anybody else to do a good job.
One difficult aspect of being around a control freak is accepting that he or she does not understand how their behavior and choice of words affect the people around them. Another difficult aspect is not to take it personally. This behavior comes from deep inside and the person is actually quite unaware of the need to be controlling.
The attempts to control a situation or environment are intended to offer the controller a feeling of safety. This is a sign of low self-esteem.
One of the areas they often manipulate is conversation. A control freak is most comfortable if he or she decides what is talked about, for how long, and how deep or detailed a topic can be. This manipulation is achieved by constant interruption, finishing the sentence for the person, not listening with attention, doing distracting things like getting up and walking around, or even walking out of the room saying, “I am still listening.” A control freak does not consider that he or she is being controlling, but is convinced his or her way is the right way. He or she will have an opinion about almost everything and will disagree with most suggestions that he or she does not instigate.
Controllers also control themselves; you might observe obsessive habits in them – whether in a private relationship or at work.
Here are helpful tips to consider when dealing with a micro-manager:
A control freak has the ability to bring you down a couple of notches and take the wind out of your sails. They can make people feel insecure. You may want to distance yourself if it is possible. If not,because the person is a member of your family or work colleague or boss, then consider what choices you do have based on the points raised above.
Raising your awareness to the fact that the person is micro-managing frequently already helps to make the situation easier to handle.
The benefits of establishing a manner of communication where you do not allow the control freak to rob you of your energy or drown you with negativity is that you become stronger, more assertive, and empowered.
In summary, here are helpful steps for handling the moment:
Being in the company of control freaks can feel like being with Energy Vampires.
Their ability to endlessly bring the attention backonto themselves is draining and exhausting. Knowing what to expect can help you choose how to interact and take care of yourself at the same time.
by Maura Thomas
Around 11 p.m. one night, you realize there’s a key step your team needs to take on a current project. So, you dash off an email to the team members while you’re thinking about it.
No time like the present, right?
Wrong. As a productivity trainer specializing in attention management, I’ve seen over the past decade how after-hours emails speed up corporate cultures — and that, in turn, chips away at creativity, innovation, and true productivity.
If this is a common behavior for you, you’re missing the opportunity to get some distance from work — distance that’s critical to the fresh perspective you need as the leader. And, when the boss is working, the team feels like they should be working.
Think about the message you’d like to send. Do you intend for your staff to reply to you immediately?
Raise your self-awareness with this: