Creating Love in the Workplace

LOVE in the Workplace

When I envision what goes into a loving and caring workplace, I think about more than just the other employees, location, facilities and technology. My ideal workplace is built on that “can do” attitude and is strengthened by the relationships we build with individuals and teams inside and outside our organizations. In order to accomplish this, leadership and teams must be:

  • Safe – a great workplace makes safety a foundational commitment for employees and the customers they serve.
  • Engaged – people are excited about their work, proud of their organization and eager to make their work environment better. They feel valued for doing meaningful work. They trust their leaders, and their leaders trust and empower them.
  • Diverse – a true team that is diverse, inclusive and reflective of the customers it serves. Diversity, in all of its many dimensions, makes workplaces stronger, including diversity of thought and experience.
  • Empowered – every employee is challenged to contribute to his or her full potential. They are encouraged to contribute and speak up when something needs fixing or improving.
  • Aligned – employees are committed to the organization’s core values and behaviors. They work together to win.
  • Committed – people are focused on excellence. They lead by example and know that integrity, openness, flexibility, accountability and results are expected and rewarded.
  • Opportunity for personal Growth and Development
  • Challenging and Respectful
  • Collaboration and cooperation are cornerstones of building trust and producing results
  • Giving your best effort whenever and wherever it is needed

The above characteristics make for a loving workplace which creates an exciting and challenging work environment – and that in turn gives us the freedom – to pursue the art of love and possibility.  And that’s exactly what successful organizations are doing around the world in leading the transformation of in the workplace from inequality, command and control and frustration or boredom to an Open, Agile, Loving, Caring, Engaged  and Accepting culture from bottom to top of an organization. The mantra is that everyone matters and needs to be respected.

 

 

Part I. Leadership Research: # 1 skill for Becoming Extraordinary Leader

High-Resolution Leadership a research study conducted by DDI identifies that “the single most important skill of a good leader may not be what you think. Although it is important to be visionary and a strategic thinker, a new study suggests that it’s more rooted in their daily conversations and interactions with people”.

According to DDI research on leadership, the leader who’s most effective in having successful conversations is most likely to do the best in developing their team and creating a successful business. “By the end of each day, leaders likely have had multiple conversations with a range of their constituents,” DDI’s researchers write. “Each of these interactions will collectively determine their ultimate success as a leader.”

This conclusion comes from a report called High-Resolution Leadership, which is the result of synthesizing assessments taken by 15,000 participants being considered for leadership from the front lines to executive levels at 300 companies in 18 countries. DDI evaluated the data from personality and intelligence tests as well as from “day-in-the-life” simulations that allowed participants to demonstrate their skills.

 

Vision of New 21st Century Leadership

Leadership and Growth Mindset

With increased self-awareness through dialogue and feedback from others comes more confidence in your ability to tackle challenges and be a collaborative leader. These practices are hallmarks of the work I do with clients, not only in our more formally organized leadership development programs, but also in my modules on self-coaching and growth mindset characteristics both of which provide people with extensive feedback on self-awareness and how others see them.

Out these insights I have developed a vision for what 21st century leadership looks like. In the 21st Century a leader’s ability to inspire others to “follow you over the hill” in the command and control style of leadership is of less importance than your ability “to align people around a sense of purpose and values…and then model and empower other people to step up and lead no matter what organizational position or level they are in. This sense of autonomy and self-direction are critical elements in this new style of leadership.

If you’re inspiring followers, self-awareness is less important than power and the natural charisma we’ve traditionally associated with strong leadership. Yet  if you’re aligning and empowering other leaders, your success will depend on your ability to connect with people not as “followers” but as independent decision-makers and to motivate and influence them by speaking to their needs and interests.  This requires a keen degree of self-awareness and the ability to see clearly through the eyes of others.

Bringing Love into the workplace

Daily quote: The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. Toynbee

I call this accomplishment “Bringing LOVE to the workplace…I believe that a loving organization would be a dream come true for most of us. Specifically, this type of workplace environment would show respect and consideration for all people, it would be a place where purpose and meaning would be shared by all, where individual differences are celebrated; information is open to all not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to well lived life; where everyone one could earning a living wage; the climate would embrace selflessness not selfishness; the work is like play intrinsically fun and rewarding; and there standards and policies that place people’s well being and sharing in profits show in a concrete way the business owners care about their employees well being.

They have the faculty of calling out the best in them, appealing to their manliness, their sense of fairness, of justice, in doing as they would be done by.

“Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you.” All the philosophy of the ages is concentrated in this single sentence. It embodies the essential element in practical Christianity. All law lives in it, the principle of all reform. Its practice will ultimately swallow up all greed, and the time will come when every man will see that his own best good is in the highest good of everybody about him. The time will come when even in the business world the Golden Rule will be found by all to be the wisest and most businesslike policy.

Mr. H. Gordon Selfridge thinks that the labor problem would solve itself if employers treated their employees as they would like to be treated themselves, or as they would like to have their children treated. He says that the keeping these points in mind constitutes seventy-five per cent, of the secret of the success of his great department store in London, which, in the third year of his business there, made a profit of half a million dollars. Yet when he started his enterprise the best business men in London predicted that it would be a complete failure. Conservative people said: “He’ll be broke within a year. It can’t be done. We don’t like this kind of pushing business over here.” But by projecting the progressive spirit of Americanism into his business methods in the heart of London, where for centuries men had done business as their fathers and grandfathers and their remote ancestors had done, and by humane kindly treatment of his employees, he smashed old traditions and broke all business records.

Read more:http://chestofbooks.com/religion/christianity/Love-Way/Chapter-7-Bringing-Love-Into-The-Workplace-Employers-And-Employees.html#ixzz4IM1aoOTB

 

The Source of “Soft skills vs Hard skills” in Management Excellence

Daily Self-Coaching: http://www.tompeters.com/docs/7SHistory.pdf For all of you who wanted to know where the “Soft skills and Hard Skills” idea came from don’t miss this historical summary by the management guru, Dr. Tom Peter’s. It first appeared in a HBR article and then was expanded in the award winning and ground breaking organizational and management effectiveness book In Search of Excellence. If you have not read this book it is a must read for all managers and leaders. You can download an e-book now. Below is a video where Dr. Peters asks, “If not excellence, what?” What else should you be doing with your time, your life? He agrees with Thomas Watson, Sr., the talented early leader of IBM, that you should make a personal commitment never again to do anything that is not excellent.

Want to Improve Team Effectiveness: Learn about Team Emotional Intelligence

Daily Quote: “Emotional Intelligence has had a real impact on individual growth and performance but the only problem is that so far emotional intelligence has not focused its research on team competency or effectiveness. The reality is that most work in organizations is done by teams. And if managers have one pressing need today, it’s to find ways to make teams work better”. Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

“EXCELLENT” Meetings. Meetings are what bosses “do.” Meetings are de facto Leadership Opportunity #1. Act accordingly.  Dr. Tom Peters

How to make meetings more satisfying, productive and work more effectively? “Begin with the end in mind” or the vision thing. By setting a vision of what the team wants to accomplish and what a successful meeting looks like the changes of increasing engagement and having more satisfying outcomes increase dramatically .

We generally ignore priority setting or vision thinking in most meetings. For some reason there is pressure to get down to work quickly. This thinking goes like this “we can’t waste time on all this petty stuff we have important things to do”. So what happens is that most team leaders and members avoid or ignore answering these important questions: What is the most important thing to work on and accomplish while we are together this morning? Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve? Where are we trying to get to?’ What does success look like? How do we handle side issues that might come up? How do we get everyone involved, engaged and committed to what’s important to discuss and decide on today? What the leader and team fail to understand is how important it is to answer these questions not just to motivate thinking and members engagement but to guide how to use our valuable time together. Both “structure and processes” are key elements for increasing energy and productivity in meetings.  So my advice to those who are bored or frustrated by meetings is to –STOP, CLARIFY and GET AGREEMENT on what is important to focus on today.

Another important idea is presented by Druskat and Wolff in their Harvard Business Review’s article that the real source of a great team’s success lies in the fundamental understanding of group emotional intelligence. This understanding allows effective task processes to emerge like setting decision-making and communication norms and that cause members to commit to the shared established by the team. Their research says there are three conditions are essential to a group’s effectiveness: trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a sense of group efficacy.”

Planning and detail thinking are both about “how” to implement your vision, with planning being more at the 30,000 level and big picture thinking, and detail discussions are more ground level dealing with specific actions and commitments.   “This kind of ‘how’ to execute or work together is very difficult if you don’t have a  clear why these activities are a priority and important to the individuals, team and organizational imperatives.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Learning how to conduct effective meetings can’t be learned over night. To break the habits of poor meetings will take experimentation and practice. In the beginning instituting new group maintenance procedures or processes will feel unnatural or uncomfortable. So as a team leader it is important from a learning and mental stand point to stick with changes long enough to see if they can make a difference in your team’s productivity. Remember that ” A team can have everything going for it the brightest and most qualified people, access to resources–a clear mission and still fail because it lacks group emotional intelligence and understanding of group dynamics”.

So over the next month your challenge as team leader is to explore ways to improve your meetings through feedback and speaking-up. Start first by reaching out to team members on two questions:

1. How do they feel about the effectiveness of our present meetings.

2. Ask for suggestions on what needs to change in order to make them more productive?

 

Message for President Obama and Other Political Leaders On War

Open letter to President Obama and our Congressional Leaders:

A common requirement of leaders at all levels is having the courage to make tough decisions and take difficult actions. Many times this is required when the leader does not have all the evidence, information and time to wait for enlightenment. No person ever has a enough wisdom, evidence or analysis to predict the future. Usually it comes down to the best guess given the situation and information available. Many times this means relying on your “gut feeling” which is based on values, past experience and intuition. Courage may be the X factor that separates poor, mediocre and outstanding leaders. Yet, becoming a courageous leader involves a lot more than talking, rating, and or blindly trying to teach others a lesson. The dictionary definition of courage is “the state or quality of mind and spirit that enables one to face danger or fear with confidence and resolution; bravery; valor.” What does all that mean when it comes to making a decision to violently attack another nation? How does war provide answers for moral decisions? Where there are no final solutions or good answers for a situation maybe inaction or pausing is okay? In regard to striking Syria with surgical and limited bombing maybe taking a step back and exhausting all options before engaging in war is the right alternative. Who cares about a red line when our safety and security is not threatened. History teaches us that war and violence just begets more uncertainty, more war and violence. History tells us to rush into War does not need to be the first choice.

Maybe President Obama and our Congressional leaders need to reflect on JFK’s big idea and thoughts about the dangers of war itself.   JFK once warned us when he said:    “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” In my opinion we have the time to keep talking and it is time for courageous action of choosing Peace over War .

Warm Regards, Mark W. Hardwick