The Death Trap of Black Box Leadership

BlackBox

“Nobody ever tells me anything.”
“How are these decisions made?”
“Apparently that is on a need-to-know basis, and I don’t need to know.”

If these are phrases heard in your workplace, then there’s clearly a communication issue. Despite studies that have shown better corporate-wide communication helps morale, while poor communication has the most negative impact – companies seem to resist keeping employees informed.

What to Do When Your Message Falls on Deaf Ears

602px-The_Sower_-_painting_by_Van_Gogh

The Sower by Vincent van Gogh
via WikiMedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sower_-_painting_by_Van_Gogh.jpg

Years ago, I was invited to speak at a conference. My topic was internet marketing, but I realized this particular industry was not known for being tech savvy. I asked whether attendees would have websites to improve or if they would be wondering why they should start an online presence at all. I was assured the audience fell into the former group. I prepared accordingly.

Of course, you know how this story goes.

Cheerleaders, Hecklers and Coaches: How to Encourage Teamwork

iStock_000029080006SmallYour team has been slaving away on a presentation for weeks. One of your colleagues has continued to drop the ball… time and time again. At this point, time is the one thing you’re running out of. Well, that and patience. Now you have a choice to make. You have to respond, because you can’t afford not to. But HOW do you encourage teamwork without turning a blind eye to performance issues?

Here are three perspectives you can choose from when dealing with an underperforming teammate:

6 Destructive Habits in Team Meetings

Destructive Habits in Team MeetingsPeople are imperfect creatures. Most of the time we manage to keep these flaws from being obvious. But in a group where personal agendas are at play and motives are suspect… our dysfunction can shift into overdrive.

I’ve been in several team meetings – with coworkers, clients, boards, committees, volunteers – and every one of these has the potential for displaying destructive habits. With the number of meetings popping up on calendars nowadays, we need to address these bad habits. Before we can do that, we have to be aware of them.

See if you’ve noticed any of these destructive habits during a recent meeting you were in:

  1. Silent Assassin
    This team member didn’t contribute in the room, but worked to advance their agenda after the meeting. They quietly pick off opponents one-by-one. The assassin feels like they are addressing issues in a strategic way, but ignored the damage being inflicted on the team. Leadership is usurped and collaboration is hampered.

5 Conversation Killers You Can Avoid

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Dinner guests came over to our home recently. We talked while preparing food and by the time we sat down the conversation was in full swing. Someone asked about a project I had been working on and I began sharing details.

Lots of details.

Over the course of a few minutes, I took the dull roar of a lively discussion and reduced it to simply dull. Unwittingly, I broke several rules for good conversation.

The Elephant and the Fruit Fly

There are a lot of allegorical references to how speed is the answer to ruling your market. It is true that being first to market is a powerful positioning tool. We have flipped the story of the tortoise and the hare. We have accepted that faster equals better.

But what if the key indicator of success isn’t how fast something happens. What if it isn’t even WHAT happens?

Let’s leave the tortoise and hare behind for a moment and pick up another fable the Elephant and the Fruit Fly.

Fruit flies are born quickly. They swarm and die quickly. As soon as one dies, it seems it is replaced by ten others. They are annoying, but you don’t really remember one more than another… just that you want to avoid them next time.

What about elephants? They’re not known for their speed, but seeing one is special. If you saw one today, you’d probably tell everybody you know about it. They have personality and character. Elephants are memorable. If one dies, it is not easily replaced.

So, here’s the big question: Between the Elephant and the Fruit Fly, which one does your message resemble?

When We Repeat…

When we repeat something, people remember it.
When we repeat something, people remember it.
When we repeat something, people remember it.
When we repeat something, people remember it.
It also sets them up to notice something different.
When we repeat something, people remember it.
When we repeat something, people remember it.
When we repeat something, people remember it.
When we repeat something, people remember it.