I worked for a VP who loved to empower us to get things done. The first time she said it to me, I felt my chest swell and I had confidence we could conquer the world, or at least execute the project. That confidence quickly vanished when I realized we weren’t really empowered. In order to advance the project, we were dependent on other parts of the organization – teams that we had no influence over. Sure, we could have conversations with these groups and attempt to gain buy in, but ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough because the challenges we were facing related back to the priorities that had been set for the entire organization. The conversations and decisions needed were way above our heads. That’s when I realize we had false empowerment. Continue reading
The project was struggling – over budget and behind schedule. It was a critical subproject of a larger program and delivery was critical. Senior leadership decided it was time to change the project manager, and I was brought in to lead a turnaround effort. As I was digging into the details of the project, I came to the conclusion that my predecessor wasn’t a bad project manager (thankfully he was just transferred and not let go). The project needed a different leader with a different style and set of skills. If you have projects in your portfolio that are struggling or the team is burnt out, here are some reasons it may be good to change the project manager: Continue reading
The key when we don’t see eye to eye is understanding where the other person is coming from. That’s not always easy. I found myself in a situation where someone else was assuming the worst about me and I couldn’t understand why. I’m a transparent person; so you don’t have to guess my motivations. Nevertheless, I was shaking my head in disbelief as someone accused me of things I would never do. It wasn’t until weeks later that I finally saw where they were coming from. The person had a scarcity mindset; something I have a hard time relating to since I have an abundance mindset.
Toxic people in the workplace are nightmares! They thrive on making your life miserable. Often their behavior is driven from pride and somehow it makes them feel good to treat you poorly. Likely you have seen all these people at some point in your career. Here are a few tips with how to deal with them:
“I can’t tell my boss what I really think. I’d probably get fired.” I hear this lament too often from employees with legitimate concerns carrying potential impacts to the organization’s success. Personally, that thought hasn’t crossed my mind. If it needs to be said, I tend to say it (maybe a little too often). This situation made me realize there are ways that employees should act more like consultants and therefore experience the freedom that comes with it.
Crises happen in the workplace frequently. Whether these crises are real or artificial, it seems there are four types of poor leadership that emerges during crisis (or perceived crisis) situations. Each having a negative impact on the team:
“I can’t have you tying my team up in daily meetings.”
“Why do you need that meeting; we already have another meeting with the same people.”
I can’t tell you how frequently I get questioned on the number of meetings I hold. Inevitably, though, at the end of the project phase, most people agree with my meeting strategy. Meetings are a part of life. Get over it. Don’t be a meeting avoider, and even worse, if you are creating an environment where people are afraid to have meetings, have you thought about the unintended consequences? Continue reading
Laid-off? It’s your fault. Didn’t get the promotion you wanted? Guess what? That’s your fault as well. In a dead-end job? You get the idea. Where you are today is your fault. The reality is, our lives are the aggregate of the decisions we have made to this point. The good news? If it’s your fault, that means you have the power to change it. You are not some victim at the mercy of a corporate conspiracy. Here’s what you can do about it:
You’ve been lied to. How can we sleep at night lying to little kids? You can’t do anything you set your mind to, and more importantly, you shouldn’t try. I understand why we encourage this type of thinking: a large portion of the population is under-performing; they aren’t living up to their full potential. If people are told they can do anything they set their minds to, then they are more likely to try to do something. But for those of us who are trying to live to our full potential, this phrase can be detrimental to our success. Continue reading
The news has been rough: the terrorists’ massacre at Charlie Hedbo’s; a bomb going off outside the NAACP in Colorado Springs – heaven forbid we bring up Ferguson or the cop killings in New York. To add to these stories, I also read a news story about a Florida man throwing his five-year-old daughter off a bridge. After the initial feeling of mortification, I read some of the readers’ comments. I was even more mortified by those. They were obviously not comments by people exercising critical thinking. All comments initially centered around how terrible the man was, how he should be killed, etc. Continue reading