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Some say that a leadership development program is the road map to success

Some say that a leadership development program is the road map to success.  Leadership is not just something you prepare for on the outside.  Those chosen must establish the self motivation to show the very best of themselves.  It is not possible for someone to effectively lead others if they cannot lead themselves.  Set examples by doing.  Leadership can often be referred to as multidimensional.  It does not include everything in a manual or a book you pick up at a library.  The qualities need to reside inside of you and combine it with formal training, on the job training and the will to do the best job.

What is your attitude? We have all been on the phone with a company disputing charges at least one time in our lives.  How did you get to the outcome desired?  Did you have a negative “all guns blazing” attitude or did you treat the person on the other line with respect?  How would you expect to get a positive attitude and good performance from your team with a negative attitude?

Smooth out your rough edges.  Setting habits that are positive are important to the team growth and directly results in optimism.  Practice getting up a little earlier in the morning and going for that walk to energize your mind and body.  Each nourishing foods and take a couple of breaks during the day.  It is not healthy for your team to see you as a work horse that never sleeps as they will become stressed out that you expect that from them.

Never stop learning!  Your mind is continuously searching for new things to learn.  The corporate world is very competitive and educating yourself is critical to leadership success and to accomplishing your vision.  Take a risk now and then.  Your way is not always the right way.  Employees often have refreshing ideas to build a team, listen to them!

Encourage and praise an employee publicly.  It is so important for a leader to point out to others the tasks and ideas that an employee had come up with.  This will not only show other management what the employee is capable of and willing to do, but to other employees that you are willing to share the spotlight.

While all of these ideas and guidelines have been shared, it has come with experience, training, constructive feedback and a great leadership development program to share this with you!

Copyright © 2006 the national learning institute

Copyright © 2006 The National Learning Institute

When was the last time you felt excited, motivated and extremely keen to be at work? Chances are it was when you had a job or project that really interested you, you had control over what you did and the way you did it, and you didn’t have any worries about “over zealous boss” interference or lack of job security. It’s a great feeling and we can all probably relate stories of how and when we were most “motivated” at work.

But as managers, do we consciously try to provide this same level of motivation for all of our employees? Or, are we merely fixated on striving to achieve the deadlines, budgets and targets that are set for us (and that seem to be getting tougher and tougher and placing more and more stress on us and our people), and forgetting what it was really like when we worked in an environment that was truly “motivational”.

My challenge to practising managers, is to think back to when they were most motivated at work and identify the reasons why (list them on a sheet of paper as dot points). Then, set about implementing these same conditions for their own people. (Draw up your own list now and see how it compares with mine)

I’ve issued this challenge to managers over the last 20 years in management development forums and invariably their “motivational conditions” they identify are:

– Autonomy the chance to take control over a complete project or unit of work in which I am really interested
– Responsibility for setting goals and targets and being accountable for achieving them
– Recognition for achieving meaningful results
– Development of my skills, knowledge and capabilities to their full potential

I then ask them to identify the things that really irritate and annoy them and (often) change what could have been a motivating workplace into a drudgery. They are:

– Bosses who do not recognise them for their efforts, or worse still, take the credit themselves
– A lack of feeling of “team”, ie., “we are in this together”
– Constant implied or implicit threats of demotion or dismissal
– Insufficient salary (by comparison to others in the firm or in the industry)

If these sound familiar, then you’re right! Frederick Herzberg in his classic HBR article “Once More, How do you Motivate Employees?” ( came up with two similar sets of lists nearly forty years ago that he labelled “Motivators” and “Satisfiers”.

Do they hold true today? Recent research into the turnover rates for young employees (20 30 yrs) shows that in some industries, the turnover rate of young employees is as high as 25% annually due to lack of perceived career development and training, and limited opportunities for involvement in other areas of the firm and their profession. These younger people, by comparison to their predecessors:
– Are more opportunistic in taking new jobs.
– Are more mobile.
– Have greater expectations.
– Are easily bored.
Andrew Heathcote ( in answer to this challenge suggests that managers need to:
– Be honest during interviews.
– Be serious about performance reviews.
– Do more career mapping.
– Create a forum to develop a greater spirit of involvement.
Tailor the workplace:
– Provide more job rotation.
– Arrange more rotation between offices.
– Develop specific training.
– Introduce variety.
– Develop forums for social interaction.
Be flexible:
– Consider providing sabbaticals (so they can travel without resigning).
– Increase the availability of unpaid leave.

So today’s younger employee is not so different from the generation who manage them maybe they want their motivation and satisfaction a little faster!

By the way, notice that the majority of items on Andrew’s list are what Herzberg called “Motivators”. In fact the only two that could be termed real “Satisfiers” are the last two sabbaticals and unpaid leave.

But, to return to my initial question, does motivation equate with happiness? Richard Layard ( suggests that work plays a very important part in our happiness and that a lot of our happiness actually comes from the work we do. And the job that we do is affected by how we are allowed to do it. In addition, he found that in regard to the “Satisfiers”:
– Not having a job when you should have one, is much worse than suffering a sudden drop in income
– People who feel insecure about retaining their job, suffer a loss of happiness (relative to those who do feel secure) that is 50% greater than the loss of happiness suffered by people whose income drops by a third.

Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick ( staff/faculty/oswald/homejobs.pdf) confirms some of the importance of the “satisfiers”:

– Having a lot of job security is important to feeling a high degree of satisfaction with your job
– People with relatively high incomes or university degrees tend to get more satisfaction
– Women tend to be more satisfied than men
– The self-employed tend to be more satisfied
– People who work in a small workplace tend to be more satisfied than those who work for large employers
– Working at home tends to lead to higher satisfaction
– A job that involves dealing with people tends to bring higher satisfaction

Herzberg would be very pleased with the results of the amazing amount of today’s research that confirms his contention that it is important for managers to concentrate on both the “Motivators” and the “Satisfiers” if one is to have happy and motivated employees.

The message? Managers, revisit your own list of “Motivators” Start working on implementing the things on that list of your’s with your employees today!

If you would like to find out how motivated and satisfied your people are, you can do so with a simple feedback profile such as CHECKpoint ( CHECKpoint has been developed on the work of Herzberg and another great social psychologist, D.C. McLelland. It not only provides feedback on employee motivation and satisfaction, but also how to maintain these and address any problematic issues.

There was an interesting article in pr week last week, on the subject of leadership communication

There was an interesting article in PR Week last week, on the subject of leadership communication. Entitled ‘Get the best out of your boss’ it outlines six of the most common leadership styles and suggests how communicators can best play to the personalities of their leaders. It’s a nice reminder of the breadth of styles we have to work with and provides some useful pointers on how to play to your boss’s particular strengths.

The six leadership styles – and the supporting descriptions (I’ve paraphrased) are:

  1. Visionary leader – the classic rock star CEO who sets the big-picture and excels at moving people towards a shared vision. These leaders are superb public speakers and enjoy life in the spotlight. Barack Obama is a good example.
  2. Affiliative leader – this type of leader wants to be your friend. A collaborative figure, the affiliative leader focuses on emotional needs and is most likely to ask ‘how are you?’. Angela Merkel is held up as an example.
  3. Coaching leader – holds long conversations that often extend beyond the work place. Good at helping employees identify their strengths and weaknesses and linking these to career goals. Step forward Dr Who.
  4. Democratic leader –these are the great listening leaders, though this is sometimes at the expense of decisive action. Favorite catchphrases include ‘what do you think?’. They like to show the way without pushing people in a particular direction. Lord Sebastian Coe is a good example.
  5. Pacesetter leader – most likely to say ‘copy me’, these hard working leaders never shirk a challenge and lead by example. One downside is that they often expect employees to automatically get the picture. Step forward Margaret Thatcher…
  6. Commanding leader – an old-school taskmaster who brings the dynamics of the playground into the boardroom. Very command and control in style they stick to one clear direction and refuse to consider an alternative routes or messages. Montgomery Burns is a good example.

The communicators quoted in the article, among them David Ferrabee and James Harkness, provide lots of useful advice on working with these types, including:

  • Providing visionary leaders the right platform and sufficient time to explain their vision to others and gather feedback. High profile tactics like webcasts and regular publication profiles go down well with these types, but they may sometimes lack an eye for detail and require specific IC support in this area.
  • Identifying opportunities for affiliative leaders to show their steel. Tactics like back to the floor are useful here, as are structured team meetings which focus on sharing constructive feedback. One classic issue with these types is their desire to communicate only the positive messages.
  • Playing to the strengths of coaching leaders by encouraging them to host small, intimate sessions and focus on helping people turn strategy into action. These types are not great at big picture, but excel at one-to-one.
  • Creating high-involvement forums for democratic leaders – workshops, online forums and blogs are particularly powerful. Clear, decisions communications help overcome this leader’s tendency towards indecision. Arm them with insights and intelligence about the workforce and they should respond well.
  • Encouraging the pacesetting leader to be more inclusive, more considerate of the feelings of others and creating plenty of listening opportunities. Inclusivity is key here and tactics like recognition programmes and use of social media channels can be useful.
  • Context is critical for the commanding leader. Rather than just explaining what to people, they need to focus on building understanding around the why. Big picture strategy is important here – and tactics like learning maps and visuals and strategy toolkits can be very handy.  Listening channels are important too – and employees may require anonymity as commanding leaders can breed distrust and fear. Coaching in body language is also useful.

My client was grinning ear to ear as he told me of a new opportunity

My client was grinning ear to ear as he told me of a new opportunity.  Rightfully so, it was a natural extension of what he was already doing.  While I was mentally weighing the costs and benefits of this opportunity, he declared “I need five more people!”  It took a few seconds for me to realize that he was planning a 9% increase in staff!

I managed to rein in his enthusiasm long enough to explore his “need” for five new people.  We found that the skills he needed already existed inside the company.  “But everyone is busy!” he cried.  Yes, but busy doing what?

Further investigation revealed that the employees possessing these skills spent significant amounts of time on work that had little value.  By shifting their time from low value work to this new opportunity, my client was able to accomplish his goal while adding only one new employee.  If we assume an average $30,000 pay and benefit package, the analysis we just performed saved my client $120,000 annually ($30,000 x 4 people).

Imagine this scenario being played again and again in Fortune 500 size companies.  Using the same assumptions (a $30,000 pay and benefit package and 9% overstaffing), a company employing 250,000 people experiences excess staffing costs of $675 million annually.  Is it any wonder that we hear about layoffs of 30,000 people or more in one company?  How does this happen?  There are four root causes for these inefficiencies.

Root causes

Unbridled enthusiasm – When the economy is strong or new opportunities present themselves, it’s easy to get caught in the euphoria of the moment and forget that every wave has a trough.

Mistaken belief 1 – Managers believe that their employees are spending their time doing meaningful work.   Experience has taught me that most employees are spending over 20% of their time performing tasks that have little or no value, even in seemingly well-run companies.

Mistaken belief 2 – Managers believe that it’s easier (quicker) to hire new people than to review employees’ workloads.  The reality is that the analysis my client and I did took less than 90 minutes; less than an hour and a half to save him $120,000 annually.  Not a bad ROI, is it?

Empire building – Many managers measure their value to the company by the number of people they have reporting to them.  Shouldn’t the inverse be true?  Shouldn’t managers who can accomplish more with fewer employees be more valuable than those who need a lot of people to get the job done?

The cost of bloat

The cost is much greater than the estimated $675 million of excess payroll costs listed above.  Organizational bloat prevents companies from establishing cash reserves to sustain them in difficult times or to take advantage of opportunities when investments are cheap, during a down economy.  There’s more!

The remedy for organizational bloat is the dreaded downsizing.  Expertise, experience, training dollars and morale lost to this “remedy” can easily double the excessive payroll costs listed above.  How do we avoid these costs?  It’s much easier than you think.

Avoiding bloat

The key to avoiding organizational bloat is to require all managers to subject their staffing requests to independent review.  The requests should be reviewed by a panel, preferably no more than 3 managers, who have a record of accomplishing a lot with few employees.  These panelists bring both an external perspective to the work and a natural tendency toward efficiency which will increase productivity and avoid bloat.

The panel’s review can be as simple as what my client and I did:

• Identify the skills needed

• Determine who possesses those skills

• With the employee’s help, identify and eliminate low value work

If you prefer greater sophistication, there are a myriad of tools available today – Process mapping, Activity-based Management, Benchmarking, Reengineering, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, and Theory of Constraints.  Many large corporations employ one or more of these tools; unfortunately, it’s after their systems and people are in place.

Once the independent review system is in place, you’ll find that more and more managers will reevaluate their employees’ workloads before requesting additional staff.  Why?  Put yourself in the manager’s place.  How embarrassing would it be for you to have your request denied because a simple procedural change or elimination of low-value work negated the need for the staff you’re requesting?

Over time this self-evaluation, by managers and their staffs, will drive productivity gains and avoid organizational bloat.  Require managers’ staffing requests to go through an independent review before adding staff and you’ll increase profits without adding resources.

Copyright © 2008, Dale Furtwengler, all rights reserved

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