Here's What Job Security/Being Untouchable/Arrogance as a Leader Looks Like...

If you've lucky, you've felt it at some point in your career. The swagger and incredible self-confidence that allows you to throw caution to the wind, confident you have the ability to provide for yourself and your family. 

"If you don't like they way I do it, find someone else to do the job."

To be sure, we've all thought that. But how many of us have actually said it? That's rare air for any working professional, and it usually means one of four things:

1--You're incredibly confident in your ability to find another job. In fact, you may already be on the market and have turned down a few offers Dantonio recently.

2--You at the tail end of your career and you've stored up enough acorns for a long winter (i.e., retirement).  You're daring someone to take you out.

3--You're an incredible ****, full of arrogance, disagreeable with all and really a negative force within your organization.

4--You're tired. You have to work, but you're at the end of your rope. You won't quit, so you're daring someone to make you go find another job.

I'm reminded of some leaders feeling untouchable by this report from last weekend's college football slate. Michigan State was at Wisconsin and just got drilled.  Here's how the post-game presser with Mike Dantonio went via ESPN:

"The Michigan State head coach drew even more attention to his inept offense in the aftermath of a 38-0 loss at Wisconsin, if that was even possible.

In his postgame news conference, Dantonio was asked if his offseason staff changes — he shuffled his offensive staffers’ responsibilities but did not fire any existing coaches or bring in anyone new — might have been a mistake.

“I think that’s sort of a dumb-a** question,” Dantonio replied."

That's taking "it you don't like it, find someone else" to a whole new level.

Let's put in context what 38-0 feels like in the corporate world.

--38-0 is being the incumbent provider in a renewal process and not making it to the final four and presenting live.

--38-0 is opening up a new call center and not taking a single call your first day - but you're not sure where the calls went instead - nobody got the calls.

--38-0 is agreeing to ship the new software release and when your CEO hits the site to test it, it crashes his Microsoft Surface.

Now imagine you're the manager in the call center scenario. Someone from corporate fixed the problem routing calls that your team couldn't fix. You go a meeting on the second day to revisit what happened.  Someone from corporate asks you, "Do you think you have the right people on your team moving forward?"

You don't miss a beat.  “I think that’s sort of a dumb-a** question,” you reply.

That's next level Job Security/Feeling Untouchable/Arrogance as a Leader.

"Next Question"

May you reach the level of success in your career when you can play offense and be belligerent rather than answer questions/concerns after failure.


Emerging Skill for Leaders: Making All Feel Welcome & On Equal Ground...

I read this post recently by William Wiggins at Fistful of Talent on Transgenderism. It's a simple, insightful piece on being aware. 

Prior to reading William's post, I finished Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac. It's the story of how Uber rose from humble beginnings to become a Unicorn, then stumble from the top as it's bro-tastic culture caused it to be tone-deaf to the world around it via PR fiasco after PR fiasco.

Both are highly recommended reading. One is 500 words and one is 80,000 words.

There's a lesson in reading progressive takes on emerging workplace issues, many of which have involved orientation/gender, then combining them with cautionary tales.  

The lesson? Being a leader in modern times is tricky. Consider the following realities:

  1. You're a leader.
  2. You're full of personal thoughts, a specific background and some form of bias.
  3. When change comes and you're asked to consider the rights of yet another special class of people, it's easy to react as if it's a burden or worse.
  4. You can say it's all gone too far. Many will agree with you.
  5. But - You'll ultimately acknowledge the rights of the class of people in front of you - or you won't be allowed to lead anymore.

History shows this cycle to be true.

What if you weren't late the game? What if you decided that rather than be late to the game, you made it a priority to make all feel welcome and on equal ground in your company or on your team as a leader?

What if?

I'll tell you what if, my friend.  If that was your approach, you'd find the people in question - the special class of people currently causing others discomfort (the groups change over time) - incredibly willing to work for you and just as importantly, freed to do their best work.  You'd be maximizing your ability to get great work from the resources you have.

When you're early on inclusion, a funny thing happens. Performance and the ability for someone to do their best work goes up.

None of us are perfect when it comes to the change cycle outlined in #1 through #5 above.  But I feel like we're moving quicker through the cycle to acceptance, and that' a good thing.

Performance goes up as bullshit goes down.  Just be crystal clear on what's bullshit in this cycle (Hint, it's the ones slow to acknowledge those with differences).

 

 

 


5 Questions With Sharlyn Lauby - Author of "Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success"....

Sharlyn Lauby is an author, writer, speaker and consultant. And a friend of mine!

She is president of ITM Group Inc., a consulting firm which focuses on developing training solutions that engage and retain talent in the workplace. SharlynThe company has been named one of the Top Small Businesses in South Florida.

She's also an incredible, trusted, practical voice on all things related to talent.  That's why I wanted to feature this book today.

She is well-known for her work on HR Bartender, a friendly place to talk about workplace issues. The site has been recognized as one of the “Top 5 Blogs HR Pros Love to Read” by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Sharlyn is the author of “Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success” and “The Recruiter’s Handbook: How to Source, Select, and Engage the Best Talent” (both available in the SHRM Store).

Sharlyn previously served as a member of SHRM’s Membership Advisory Committee (MAC) and Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility special expertise panel. Her personal goal in life is to find the best cheeseburger on the planet.

I loved the Manager Onboarding book and wanted to learn more.  Below is my 5 Questions Feature with Sharlyn on Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success:

1--Sharlyn, employee onboarding has been a hot topic for a while, but you zigged while others zagged and wrote an entire book on MANAGER onboarding (which I love).  What drove you to write an entire book on the need to properly onboard managers of people?

When it comes to new hire onboarding, there’s no training program that I’m aware of that says, “This is how you effectively onboard employees.” We learn how to onboard from our own onboarding experiences. So, if we onboard managers badly, guess what?! They will onboard employees badly. And there’s a statistic from Korn-Ferry that says 98% of CEOs think the key to employee retention is good onboarding.

The other piece that’s frustrating for new managers (and I’m sure you’ve heard this too) is when managers receive no guidance or instruction on something, then they make a mistake, and then they’re scolded by “Here’s how you do it…” Why not avoid the mistake and just tell managers what they need to know so they do it right the first time?

2--When it comes to manager onboarding, what’s the focus point or activity we neglect that has the biggest return on investment of time or money?

I believe it’s telling managers what their goal is. And I’m not talking about the common functions of management: planning, staffing, organizing, directing, and controlling. A manager’s true goal is to find and train their replacement.

Managers can’t work on the CEO’s super-secret pet project, take a vacation, or participate in training if every time they leave their office, their department falls apart. Managers need to learn how to develop talent and delegate. And they need to realize that doing this will not make them dispensable. It will make them more valuable.

3--What are some tips you have from your deep experience in helping organizations perform at a higher level related to introducing a new manager to an incumbent team?  How can we create a form of trust/transparency/authenticity with the team earlier with a new manager through onboarding?

I believe it starts with the hiring process. Does the incumbent team know what’s going on? Are they a part of the recruiting process? I’m a big fan of collaborative hiring. It allows key stakeholders – like the incumbent team – to get involved and be invested in the new manager’s success.

Then when it comes to onboarding, there’s an opportunity for the new manager and incumbent team to start building camaraderie. I recently read about a concept called a “personal guide”. It’s what you would think it is – a personal guide of how someone likes to work. Years ago, I had a boss who every time he took a profile or assessment, he would copy the results and distribute them to his direct reports. At first, I thought it was weird. Then I came to realize that he was teaching me how he liked to work. And how he wanted me to work with him. I could see that type of activity being a great way for new managers to build relationships and create a sense of team.

4--What’s 3 things that new managers do (without the help of your onboarding blueprint) that undermine their ability to be effective?

Here are three but let me say that I don’t know that all of these are the new manager’s fault. Organizations need to take some responsibility for setting the right expectations with new managers.

    1. They focus on the technical aspects of the job and not relationship building. The biggest mistake organizations make is hiring/promoting the most technically competent person and not giving them the people skills to do the job. Many managers think they’re being given the job for the technical expertise and forget they need people to get the work done.
    2. They forget to manage up. I learned a long time ago that I needed to build a relationship with my boss. And if I wanted them to support me that we needed to agree on A) when I could do something and never tell them B) when I could do something and drop them an email later and C) when I need to go to their office and have an immediate conversation. It builds trust.
    3. And they forget to develop their team. We’ve already touched on this but if managers want to move up in the company, they need to start thinking about developing their team. Otherwise, when they get a promotion, there will be no one to take their job. That leads to a new manager doing their “old job” and their “new job” until a replacement is found. No one wins when that happens.

5--Think about TV or the movies – and give us 2-3 Managers featured in Hollywood that are so good at managing others that you’re wondering if they’ve gone through proper onboarding for managers.

Wow! This is a toughie. Especially since there are so many ineffective managers on TV or in the movies who are simply portrayed that way to make us laugh – like Michael Scott in The Office or Director Ton in Aggretsuko.

I would point to a couple of managers like Morgan Grimes in Chuck who start out as a total goof but as he grows professionally, he really begins to deliver for his team. And he’s willing to admit and apologize when he makes a mistake. Another one is the Commissioner in Death in Paradise. He’s not actively directing all of the police investigations, but he’s there when the team needs him and seems to say just enough to help the team keep moving in the right direction.

Sharlyn Lauby is awesome.  You can order this book here - she's real people and a voice you should be following - Subscribe to her blog and follow her via the social accounts below:

Blog: http://www.hrbartender.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharlynlauby

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharlyn_lauby

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HRBartender


The 5 Ways You Intimidate People Without Directly Threatening Them...

I know - that post title feels ugly, dirty and any other identifier you want to put on it. But yet here we are - in the workplace, trying to do things the right way but under siege by the nature of humanity.

The art of influence has been covered by many people smarter than me.  But like you, I'm a student of the game as people attempt to get things done in the Succession workplace inside your company, an environment that's harder to navigate the bigger and more complex it gets.

This post title could easily say, "influence" rather than "intimidate", but that's just a nicer word for what's usually going on.  Your covert actions as a person of influence (at any level, but certainly the power is greater the higher up the org chart you go) make people see shadows and take actions based on attempts to read the tea leaves, your intent as a leader and more - without ever having a conversation with you.

I'm watching Succession on HBO (highly recommended), so maybe that's influencing me to think about this with this framing.

Here's my 5 ways you intimidate people and get them to take action without directly threatening them:

1--Say nothing. Given the circumstances, you should say something. Yet you fail to seek out the person in question and fail to address the issue at hand, even when you're having a 1/1 conversation with them.  Sometimes it's the awkward silence that matters most.

2--Talk to other people, or tell your subject of your intent to talk to other people. That issue at hand?  You didn't address it with the person you should, but you're talking to other people about it.  Or you fail to have a meaningful conversation with the person most impacted, simply telling that person you're "going to check the temperature of others."  You're just dangling them out there.

3--Show favor and affection to others and make a public display of it.  Who's up? Who's down? Who are you taking to lunch?  If there was a scoreboard, somebody would be falling from the top spot. How far will they fall? Only you know.

4--Talk openly and honestly about outcomes that don't match the needs of your subject, without addressing the fact that their needs aren't being met. Oh, OK - you're having a conversation, but it's a subtle counter to what you know the conventional wisdom is accordingly to the person in front of you. Also notable, you seem pretty locked in to the path you're recommending, which makes it unlikely the person you're trying to intimidate influence is going to speak up.  <insert bulldozer emoji>

5--Be erratic as hell. You're happy. You're sad. You're angry. You're forgetting things. You're a unlovable mess, and damn, who really wants to try and be direct with you related to talking opening and honesty? You're like a rouge state with limited economic options that just took another round of sanctions. At most, people will only ask you questions they know the answers to, and they'll just accept and try to figure out the rest. You're a mess. Congrats on the ups and downs as a management philosophy.

There are more strategies related to this for sure.  Hit me in the comments or reply via email to tell me what I missed.

I see you, Machiavelli. And the first task with figuring you out is understanding the game being played.


REAL TALK: Managers are Looking for Alphas for Succession...

There's a millions things that go into a decision on succession, who gets the promotion and other spoils of career advancement.

I'm here today to talk about one of those things - being an alpha.

All things being equal, the leaders who make decisions about who moves up in the organization want someone who can take charge and lead. Gruden

I was reminded of this as I watched Hard Knocks, the series on HBO that follows a single professional football team in training camp.  The coach of the Oakland Raiders, Jon Gruden, spent over 5 minutes in a recent episode evaluating backup quarterbacks, with a job in the NFL on the line.  

Both quarterbacks were equal. What did Gruden want most? He wanted one of them to stop being passive/blending in and start taking charge, directing others and being vocal - and he was telling them as much.

In other words, he was equating leadership with alpha qualities that are visible in nature.

Most managers are looking for the same thing when it comes to promotional decisions, especially in spots that manage others.  All things being equal, alphas get the nod.

That's not you? You might need to fake it!!!  Or at least understand you have to summon your Alpha in select spots.

You may not be a natural alpha. That's OK.  Just understand that if you're in a competitive spot with others, sometimes succession and promotions are decided by observing who naturally asserts themselves in fluid situations.


When Turnover Is High But That Means You're World Class...

Good leaders attract followers; great leaders create more leaders.

Turnover sucks.

Except when people promote themselves by leaving you, and you have a track record of that being the primary cause of your turnover. Saban

Football season is upon us, and no one has more people leave them for a better job than University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.  Consider the following stats from Inc:

Let's talk about Nick Saban, the head football coach at the University of Alabama.

Among other things, his teams have won six national championships (five at Alabama and one when he was the head coach at Louisiana State University). But now, he's getting credit for something else -- a statistic that might seem a mixed blessing, but one that truly great leaders will recognize for the compliment that it is. 

It's that Saban's team endures (or maybe "enjoys") near-constant churn among his assistant coaches. 

In fact, as The Wall Street Journal points out, not a single on-field assistant coach remains on the team today who was there when Alabama last won the national championship in 2017.

Fully 38 assistants have moved on since 2007. A key point here is that most of the assistants leave for jobs with a higher profile or more responsibility elsewhere.

As of 2018, USA Today calculated that there were 15 former Saban assistants in head coaching jobs in either the NFL or college football. That list doesn't count Michael Locksley, who left Alabama earlier this year to become the head coach this year at the University of Maryland.

It also doesn't count former assistants who are now working at a higher level -- but who aren't head coaches in their own right.

Saban is known as a hard boss - see the endless videos of him losing his sh#t towards an assistant on the sideline - but people don't want to work for him because they'll be treated with courtesy. They want to work for him because the assignment is a springboard to better things.

If people hate you and leave for lateral moves, that's on you and it's not great.

If people like or hate you and leave for a better position after a short period of time, that's a compliment.

Context matters with turnover.

#wareagle


PODCAST: e4 - This is HR - Women's Soccer Pay Equity, Management by 2Pac, Productivity Woes

(Email subscribers, if you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen to the podcast)

In Episode 4 of THIS IS HR, Jessica Lee (VP of Brand Talent, Marriott) is joined by Tim Sackett (President of HRU) and Kris Dunn (CHRO at Kinetix) for a discussion of industry news that only true HR pros could love.

The gang covers:

--Shots fired in pay equity between the USA Women's National Soccer team and the US Soccer Federation, which have different talking points when comparing total comp of the USA Men's and USA Women's National Soccer Teams (3:19).

--A Iowa state Director of Human Services gets canned for broad use of 2Pac lyrics in his management style, which begs the gang to wonder aloud how much 2Pac is too much if you're trying to lead a department of public servants... in Iowa (18:40).

--A new productivity study is out and has some interesting outcomes related to which days are the most productive (22:15).  The gang has issues with some of the findings, including that Thursdays suck.

KD closes it out by forgoing the mailbag and forcing the JLee and Tim to pick a single 2Pac song that most represents their management style, which includes the awkward reading of rap lyrics to defend said favorite 2Pac songs (28:53)

Just another day in the office at THIS IS HR.  


One Big Difference Between The Naturals In Your Company - and Everyone Else...

First up, let's define a natural in your company.

A natural is someone who:

--Performs at a high level in their current job, and Natural

--Everyone with common sense understands they are promotable at least 3 levels above their current job - all they need is time, experience and a bit of guidance. 

There are many things that define a natural. This post isn't meant to be a comprehensive listing of those things.  This post will only feature the following characteristic of the natural:

The Natural fields inquiries from managers/execs 2 or more levels above them with a incredibly high sense of urgency and always seeks to overdeliver on work product and service related to these inquires.

I know what you're saying. Is this really that important, Kris?

Yeah. It is. 

There's a quote from Don Draper on Mad Man I'd like to throw in here. Enjoy:

"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be who we want them to be."

We want to believe that all of our employees have the ability to do great things.  It's not true.

I was talking to a CFO I served at a past company and she was expressing frustration at getting things done across the team she had inherited.

She had identified one team member on a team of 20 as being high potential and had tagged the rest at being disposable. The criteria was pretty simple - it was related to how quickly the team members acted when she needed something or gave them an assignment.

Unfair? Maybe.

Are some of those team members good at their jobs? Probably. But most of them aren't naturals who are poised for great things in their careers. How do I know this?  When I think back across my career about the naturals I have known in my career, they could be juggling 30 things and when a request came in from a VIP in their domain, they always made that person feel like they were the most important person in the world.

--They didn't return the email 30 hours or more later.

--They didn't let the request go into the void without updating the exec on how it was going or a status that it was done.

--They didn't fail to engage the exec with their opinions about what might make the project better or how they went out of their way to do the best they could.

Average employees do all the things listed above.  Naturals never do those things.

You can be a good employee and not be a natural. You're just probably not going to be promoted on an annual basis.

As leaders, treat employee urgency and responsiveness to your requests as the test that it is.  Step back and observe who steps up and who doesn't.

"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be who we want them to be."

Your commitment to coaching is noted. But you can't coach someone into natural status, so don't try.  Take it all in - the naturals are identifying themselves, all you have to do is watch and listen.


So You Want To Be a Thought Leader, But You Hate Writing...

Readers of this blog often ping me to have conversations about the best way to get started writing and sharing thoughts on the world of HR.

With the exception of the recent period where I finished my book (shameless plug - buy my book,  The 9 Faces of HR, here), I've written most business days since 2007.  

Only freaks do that.

For ideas on starting your own blog, see this presentation I did way back in the day.  Most of it still holds true.

But most people aren't going to start a blog and just grind for a decade.  That doesn't mean you can't be involved and share your thoughts.  Here's you're choices in my eyes:

1--Start a blog and write every day without rewards for a period of 3 years. See what happens.  Good Luck!

2--More realistically, start a blog and write once a week - but hit that schedule come hell or high water. No bitching, people.

3--While you're doing that, become active in promoting your content (and that of others) on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. 

4--Become a contributor at a site that has a collection of writers - like Fistful of Talent - with a built-in audience. I like this play for a lot of people since a site like FOT comes with built in traffic and awareness.  See the list of people who have contributed to FOT here - all great, talented people - many left to do their own thing, which is why I like to think about FOT as SNL for HR and recruiting writers (I'm Jay Mohr, not Lauren Michaels).

That's your basic path.  But there's a new angle I'd like to share as well - let's talk about content curation.

I recently saw a social post that encouraged HR pros to share the good work of others as a way to gain influence.  I think that path is valid, but let's be honest - just sharing the work of others doesn't really make you special or add value.

So if you're looking to share your voice but don't have time to write original content, content curation might be a good path for you.

But good content curation is work, as is adding your own voice.  Here's 3 examples of great content curation (2 from HR, one is media), take a look and see my quick notes about what I like about them:

--Lance Haun - Smart guy in the HR space that used to write all the time, now does a weekly curated newsletter called Tech@Work.  It's smart as hell.  Hit the link and subscribe.

--Katrina Kibben - Smart Recruiting-focused pro who writes a letter of the week - see the example and subscribe here.  Also smart as hell. Sharing her own long form writing at times, but the format works even if you don't have OC (original content).

--Jason Hirschhorn - Puts out curated newsletter called REDEF.  Deeper dives and more work that what Lance and Katrina are doing, but gives you a sense of what's possible (maybe as a full-time job).

Why do I share these?  Well, if you're looking to build influence, content curation is a great way to go - but it's more than retweeting shit on twitter if you want to do it right.  Both Lance and Katrina are taking time to share - mostly buy putting together 3-6 articles but MOST IMPORTANTLY:

THEY DON'T SIMPLY SHARE THE ARTICLES - THEY TRY TO TELL YOU WHY THEY THINK THE ARTICLE IS TIMELY AND IMPORTANT.

Which is the whole secret of the curation strategy.  You don't necessarily have to come up with the original ideas, but you HAVE TO HAVE A TAKE.

If you're looking to build influence, have a voice and generally engage with content - but you don't actually like to write - content curation might be a good strategy for you.  Note that both Lance and Katrina are great writers, though.  LOL.

Go subscribe to the curation efforts by Lance and Katrina and be inspired.

 


Breaking Down the Onboarding Style of Steve Ballmer, Former Leader at Microsoft...

I'm over at my other site today - Fistful of Talent - talking about the leadership style of former Microsoft leader Steve Ballmer.  Ballmer is retired and now owns the Los Angeles Clippers, and his leadership style was on full display earlier this week.

Check out my post at FOT - "Could Your Onboarding of New Hires Be More Like Steve Ballmer?" - by clicking here.