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At a conference last month, I sat next to a professionally dressed and extremely articulate young man who’d recently been hired as COO of a medical services company.
“What are your biggest challenges?” I asked him.
He went on to explain that his board of directors was unhappy because profits had plateaued. His R&D staff was not very innovative. The HR systems were not efficient. The IT department was slow to fix issues. And the sales staff was barely meeting quotas. By the time he finished talking, there were few departments in his organization left that hadn’t been targeted for blame.
“So, where does the responsibility for all of these problems lay?” I asked, genuinely curious to hear how he’d answer.
The man silently stared at me for about a minute.
“You simply cannot craft a successful, rewarding and happy career or life if you don’t know yourself deeply, intimately and fearlessly.”
This outstanding line comes from an article I just read on the always inspiring Forbes.com website. The title of the article is “How Superficiality Will Kill Your Career” and it’s a powerhouse of a read. I’ve talked a lot in this blog about how to be happy at work. There are also countless books published on this topic every year that try to teach this concept.
The very fact that there are so many articles and books on the subject of happiness in the workplace illustrates the extent of our mutual, nationwide discontent at work — but are the solutions we have been coming up with too superficial to really make any profound or lasting changes?
The way that businesses operate is changing in many ways. Concepts about effective leadership are changing, as is the prevalence of flex-time, shared jobs, working virtually from home, and the need to influence with or without authority based on a title or pay grade.
Companies are looking for outside-the-box thinkers and leadership abilities at all levels from the mailroom to the boardroom.
They want a “new school” way of thinking and not the “old school” mentality that what worked before is good enough.
Employers are complaining they cannot find new hires with the skills they need, and their bottom lines are suffering.
Would-be employees — particularly recently minted college graduates — are complaining that they can’t find positions that give them the chance to fully demonstrate their skills and talents.
Earlier this month, I blogged about dealing with difficult people in the workplace.
You know the type — People who don’t give their all, don’t communicate. People who are argumentative, defensive, perhaps even overly aggressive.
If you are reading this and shaking your head, I’d like to pose a question:
Are you sure that you, yourself, aren’t guilty of any of these kinds of difficult behaviors?
What if, and let’s be honest here, sometimes you are the difficult one? What is behind this type of behavior? Knowing the answers will help to get your own self-sabotaging behaviors under control, and give you fantastic insights into the behaviors of other people.
Common internal causes of argumentative, defensive, and aggressive behavior include:
• Fear of making a mistake/being wrong
• Fear of looking foolish/being vulnerable
• Fear of being found out as a fraud
• Fear of losing control
• Fear of losing the job/being replaced/passed over
As you can see, the common denominator on that list is fear or insecurity about your abilities or your position.
What makes a truly inspiring leader?
Is it charisma? Confidence? Integrity? Authenticity? The ability to engage and motivate?
BRODY’s Director of Training & Senior Facilitator Amy Glass believes it’s all that and so much more.
How you speak to others, how you respond, how you listen — all of those important communication skills — play a major part in demonstrating executive presence.
Amy will be delivering a workshop on this important topic, “Executive Presence: Increasing Your Command, Confidence & Credibility,” at the ASTD Philadelphia 2014 Regional Conference next Wednesday, May 21.
While the debate as to whether leaders are born or made continues to rage on, research has repeatedly shown that leadership traits can be learned and honed through practice. So, why not sidestep the debate entirely and become proactive?