Scary Leaders

thHalloween makes me think of scary things, and since this blog speaks among other things about Leadership, I realized that I have worked for and met an awful lot of Scary Leaders.

If you stop and think for a moment you have too.  They are the ones that either don’t have a vision for the company, or fail to share it with anyone.

  • They are the ones that concentrate on everyone’s faults and couldn’t praise a fellow employee if their life depended on it.
  • They are the ones that take credit for all the good in the world, and point a finger and everyone else when things go wrong.
  • They are the ones that lie to cover up the truth, or simply have convinced themselves of the lie and wouldn’t recognize the truth.

While some of you may be focused on a political leader, I wonder how many of you were thinking of someone in your company?  How many of you thought of your immediate manager, or here is a notion, thought of yourself?

Scary Leaders are untrained and blundering around every organization.  It seems they are allowed to grow and prosper, ignored or sometimes just avoided.  Sadly there are ways to correct their behaviors, but the attention is just not given to their performance.  Talk about Scary!!

It is Halloween tonight, and if we all dressed up as our worst Scary Leader, who would you dress up as?

Incredible Service

Last week I was on a cruise vacation.  This is my favorite type of vacation because the folks on board the ship deliver incredible customer service, and not just because they are paid too.  They take a personal responsibility that is hard for a training guy to conceive of delivering in a nice workshop package.

Our room steward was explaining on the first day his expectations for his service.  I commented that I have been on several cruises and that I have never had a bad experience.  He said, “I know you have had good experiences before, but it is my job to make this time even better.”

Talk about a tall order to fill, I was intrigued but was very unsure how he could deliver on his promises.  While the service was much better than I had ever experienced, it was from our daily talks in the hallway as we were coming and going that I discovered his secret.

You see he personally took the responsibility for our complete satisfaction.  He interjected himself into any issue we could have been talking about on board and made sure we were taken care of, even those things way outside of his role and defined responsibility.

Personal accountability is hard to come by these days for what people should be accountable for in their jobs, but this 27-year-old from the Ukraine, took on the world to demonstrate he was going to show this veteran cruiser that I had not seen the very best there was to offer.

If you have not been on a cruise before, and especially if you are responsible for creating a service culture within your company, I strongly suggest you take a week’s vacation and do some research.  Be prepared to be amazed, and join me in the discussion on how we could create these types of employees on land.

My compliments to Carnival Cruises’ Training Department, Management, but especially to Yevhan!  Well done!

Are you Working OR Employed?

For the next couple of weeks I’d like you to ask yourself if you are working OR employed?  Stop for a moment and ask what some have said is a tricky question and be honest with yourself.  No one else is listening, and the only one that needs to understand the difference is you.

I was asked this question myself, and at first I thought they were asking if I was self-employed or working for a company, and then it hit me that being employed doesn’t necessarily mean you are working, and working doesn’t necessarily mean you are employed by someone.

Being employed means that someone else is paying you to work.  Even being self-employed means that you are paying yourself to work.  But can you be employed and not work?  Sure you can, it happens all the time!  Look around your own work environment and you will spot many who are not working, getting a paycheck and are employed.

I’ve even watched independent contractors that are being paid by the hour to work on a project that don’t work the whole hour.  They are not full-time employees, but they are being compensated to work.

I define working as productive activities that lead to results.  Others say that working is being busy and that productivity is not in the equation. (You know a few of these folks too don’t you?)

To avoid just being busy, and to be more productive, we must be working on tasks that move us along toward agreed upon goals.  We must be accomplishing those goals, and performing the activities our employers are paying money to us to perform.  Meetings that don’t produce outcomes are not activities that I call work, but more busy time.  Chatting with people about things outside of your scope and focus is obviously not working, but a waste of time for both of you.  When you remove other tasks like personal calls, emails and texts from your day, which again are not working activities, how much is left you can count as working?

While there are more people employed in this country right now than unemployed, I shudder at ever knowing the true percentage of people who are working.  It is a pretty sad state when the unemployed maybe working harder to get a job than those that are already employed.

Think about the question, and let me know your thoughts……………