Leadership Lessons From Scout Alfa 33

Morning Briefing

By

W. Michael Phibbs

In folklore and romanticized movies the Army scout would come over the wide expansive plain and walk up to his commander and point, “The enemy is over there!” He would then turn, with arrows still protruding from his back, and fade into the distance only to reappear when danger lurked again.

In truth an Army scout’s job is not romantic and not a job for the solitary soldier. For the uninitiated, Scouts go miles out in front of the regular infantry companies. They find the enemy and report back to their commanders. They work as a small team and this requires incredible leadership abilities to get the team to be self-reliant and perform at these high levels.

Alberto had spent almost decade assigned to “regular strait leg infantry line platoon” and his transfer to another division didn’t surprise him; every three or four years everyone gets moved. As a team leader, he knew his craft: digging fighting positions, ranging targets, and a whole host of other seemingly mundane tasks which occur when a 45 man company goes into the bush. But all of that was about to change.

“Welcome to the Scout Platoon, Alberto,” said the Sergeant Major as he slapped him on the back. For an instant Alberto was elated. No more digging foxholes up to my neck at two o’clock in the morning. Then it hit him. If a scout needed to dig then it was too late. He was used to fighting with numbers of men, not sneaking around, finding targets, and relying on artillery to save him if he ever needed to evade an enemy. Scouts have always been highly prized prisoners. Hell, most scouts never made it to captivity and were simply killed where they were caught.

Regardless of Alberto’s rank, he was green to the ways of a Scout Platoon. He was told by his both his Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant that he would initially be under a junior NCO while in the bush. Until he proved himself that is. The platoon had been assigned to run scout missions for a battalion exercise somewhere in a jungle the next week. He only had a few days to ensure he had his equipment and to meet his new team. When First Sergeant Smith introduced Alberto to his new platoon, Alfa 33, all of the members seemed to stare at him disapprovingly. A Specialist named Ramsey pulled a map out of his pocket and unfolded it. “Word has it you are a “Strait leg” from a line company. Pointing to his map, can you get me from this spot to that spot without getting me killed?” “When was the last time you called for artillery or air strike?” “Never” replied Alberto. “Bullshit, he’s not leading me”, came from back of the pack. Alberto’s heart sank as “Welcome to the Scout Platoon” echoes in the back of his head.

Over the next year Alberto listened and learned. He learned quickly, because he had to in order to survive not only the “enemy” but further disfavor from the rest of the platoon. Learn or leave in a scout platoon was as synonymous as up or out for an officer. Movement to contact was no longer the name of the game. Scouts go out in five man squads look, listen, find the enemy, report what you find up the chain, and if all possible return alive where now his mantra. He started from the bottom, even as a sergeant, he began by carrying the gear; knowing at first, it was more important to the team to carry the gear than make decisions only his rank qualified him to do.   He watched the specialists and sergeants closely to discern not only the decisions they made, but the thought process behind it. Early on, he would be asked to create the navigation path they would follow on a mission. The first time he presented his plan he was immediately rebuffed, “That is a path a line company would take, the path of least resistance. That path would get us all killed.” A member of the team would then explain how scouts plan navigation plans to conduct missions. How staying at a distance, taking your time, and paying extra attention to the clues left around you provide a better picture than getting too close.

Alberto was not the most talented scout to ever enter the bush, but he could reasonably apply what he was learning. He did have a gift of making friends. He willingly helped out others, even of lower rank, not because he was sucking up, but he generally cared about the people he worked with. He took pride in knowing when someone else succeeded that he had played a part, even if it was sufficiently small. When Specialist Elridge arrived to the platoon he went to the bottom of the pack. It was his turn to carry the extra gear, to walk to the company command post and bring back supplies. Most people felt relieved to move up. Alberto took pity on the new guy. When Elridge was told to walk half a mile back to the command post to get water and MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) Alberto jumped up and said he was going to help. First Sergeant Neirman said, “He needs to learn to follow orders and carry the weight.” “He also needs to learn how to serve and help others,” replied Alberto quickly catching up to Elridge.

Fast forward one year, while the sun rained down high into the triple canopy of trees, a down pour of rain still fell onto Alberto’s head. Alfa 33, team 1, was in their positions, and the other sergeants were huddled next to the new Platoon Lieutenant, when the RTO, Radio Telephone Operator, turned to the group, “They changed frequencies and never gave us the new extract. We are now on our own.”

“Well what do we do now? We are already 10 clicks in front of them.” said Fitz, the now the newest sergeant in the platoon. “I’ll tell you what we are going to do. We are going to do our jobs,” said the lieutenant. “We have our target list. We will check them out, and then we are going to look on the dumbest place to put a command post and go there. I bet they will be sitting there all nice and comfy.”

“Alberto, I’m sending you there,” the lieutenant said, as he pointed at the map. “It’s about 7 kilo’s out and   should take you two days to do it correctly. We are going to hit these spots and meet you at this point,” moving his finder up and over the grid lines to the bottom of a ridge line bordering a swamp. “Crap that is a long way with a lot of moving parts” was all Alberto could think. “You are going the furthest and therefore I will let you pick your own team,” said the lieutenant. “You got it, Sir” was all Alberto could say as he began to feel the depths of his self-doubt.

As word passed around the platoon that they had been left behind, the lieutenants resolve to accomplish the mission, and the gravity of the long range recon assignments, the other platoon members began to look deep inside. Some of the squads were stronger than other. Alberto was now good, but he needed people who were great to pull this off. As Alberto’s self-doubt crashed down upon his shoulders, Jones came up to him. “Heard you need a navigator.” Jones was the best in the battalion for creating navigation plans. He never got caught and never got lost, not even in jungles with few terrain markings. Philips simply walked over with the radio packed, “Got the internal ‘platoon freques’ and the batteries are still holding up.” Elridge came up and threw a small stick at Albeto’s chest, “Well, someone has to be on point. God knows where you will end up without me.” “Well, you’re going to need someone to carry your crap. You’re almost 30 and kinds of fragile,” said Dobson.

“Thank you” was the only thing Alberto could say. “Hell, you bailed us out when you didn’t have to in the past; we are only returning the favor, said Jones. “Thanks again,” Alberto said. “Now let’s start planning. Each had their part to play in planning their mission. Over the past two years, Alberto learned to let everyone develop their part of the plan; he simply needed to ensure everything was covered and all the pieces fit. If some part of the plan didn’t seem right he would ask for clarification. When Alberto asked Jones about a TRP, target reference point, on the map, Jones explained why he chose the point. It made sense perfect sense. Philips was packing more communications gear then necessary. Alberto told him that since they had no comms with the company that they only needed the equipment to stay in contact with Alfa 33 and Alfa 36. Leaving the other equipment would save 14 pounds. Over the course of two days, saving 14 pounds would mean a lot.

At 1830 hours, the group headed out. The years of being assigned to a line company know paid dividends to Alberto. He knew the signs to look for. Infantryman walk in lines because is easier to follow a path, instead of walking in wedge formations which means everyone goes through their own little hell breaking brush. Companies leave trash while walking in the woods, they knock over things, and generally “We’re over here” signs everywhere. By early morning they were in position.   As planned, they would split into two groups. Each group would work their way in a 180 degree loop. They would scout out the area, mark their observations on maps, and then regroup on the other side. The key was to stay at a distance: look for through holes in a the vegetation to glimpse small windows of what was occurring, listen for voices, sounds of vehicles, people digging, and cursing. From there they would call back a “Sit Rep” (Situation Report) and move back to the link-up point with the rest of the platoon.

That evening, both groups linked up in a swampy section on the other side of the ridge. “Legs” hate getting wet, which makes swamps a great place to link up because “Legs” are less likely to look for you there. They combined the information and submitted their “Sit-Rep” before moving out. Four hours later they linked-up with the rest of the platoon. They barely had time to rest before they were off again. The Lieutenant saying, ”I found the dumbest place on the map to put a Command Post.” Moving his fingers over the map and stopping on top of a ridge with three roads converging, “We’ll go there first.”

Six hours later the group walked unchallenged right into the command post. The Lieutenant had been wrong. He was off by 50 yards on his estimate of where the command post was located. The area where he had pointed was full of briars. The Command Post was placed in the wood line with more space to set up, and less briars. As they walked in, the Battalion Commander said it was great to see them, and asked how they found the Command Post. The Lieutenant simply requested to talk in private. A short while later, a battalion artillery section could be heard unleashing shells to destroy targets, and groans from “Leg soldiers” were heard as they were told to get up and prepare to move for an early morning attack.

The Lieutenant walked back from his private meeting and said, “Let’s move to someplace safe and get some rest.” Just like the myths of old, the Scouts came in, reported their findings, and slipped away back into the cover of nature. When they finally stopped, Alberto said to the Lieutenant, “Sir, I wanted to thank you for your confidence that I could do the mission.” The Lieutenant, simply looked up, “You’re a Scout right? It was your turn. If I didn’t think you could do it, you would have left here months ago.” As he turned to walk back to his team, Alberto heard “Good job,” come from the Lieutenant.

A month later, Alfa 33 had received orders it was going to deploy to the Middle East. The platoon was told to expect new members that afternoon. All had been transferred from “Leg Units.” “Fresh meet” said a senior member of the team. “Alberto, this time you get to see what you looked like when you showed up.” Alberto grinned. As Sergeants McRoy and Upton, along with Specialists Garcia and Smith, walked into the Alf 33 bay area they were immediately bombarded by questions they had no chance of answering. Alberto knew it was simply a test and welcoming aboard ceremony. Later that evening, Alberto found Sergeant McRoy sitting on a bench outside of the company compound. He looked shell shocked. Alberto walked up to him, slapped him on the back, and said, Welcome to the Scout Platoon. You ready to get started?”

Leadership Reference Points:

  • When you move from one assignment to anything new you will feel anxiety.
  • There will be new things to learn, but it was the same way when you arrived in your old job.
  • You probably will not be the expert.
  • Watch others, see how they make decisions, and apply the lessons where you can,
  • Learn to serve others. You never know when it will pay dividends.
  • Trust your people to do their assigned part. If they can’t do it then train them or move them out.
  • Look at your company’s strategy. If it is obvious to you, then it may be obvious to your adversary.
  • Help others build skills, and trust them to accomplish tasks that they may feel reluctant to accomplish.
  • When you see something wrong, tell someone. If you have to tell a superior bad news, do it in private.
  • Remember, most things are not as bad as they seem. A pat on the back can go a long way to building success for your team’s future.

Photo: Morning Briefing from http://www.zdnet.com

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Old school tangibles versus new school intangibles for motivating and connecting employees.

 

 

FOr tangible

by
Mike Phibbs

I recently read an old school book on leadership. To paraphrase a few lines, the organizations benefit packages are a key driver of motivation. The supervisor can’t influence those benefits but he or she can find out the costs of those benefits and tell the employee how much the organization is paying to keep them healthy and on the job. Because the employee received a high dollar benefit package they will be motivated. Well, welcome back to 1950’s thinking!

Let me illustrate how outdated this view is in comparison to today’s workers who value their “fit” within an organization. A potential employee interviews with the HR Director of an organization. The candidate asks about the organizations culture and how much it does for the community. The director responds that the organization has a great benefit package, which includes medical, life insurance and a 401K plan. The candidate tells the director that he saw that on the website, but wants to know how the employees are valued, and their interests to help out in the community are supported. The director responds back that they spend a lot of money per person on the benefit package. Again, the candidate responds back again that it is not about the co-pay, but rather the feel of the company he is interested in hearing. The director again, explains they give a great benefit package and people are motivated to work there to get those benefits. Community efforts are lauded, but the business of this organization is to make money. Here people are motivated by the money and great working conditions rather than touchy-feely outreach programs. At this point, the conversation is over and the candidate knows that he will not fit in with this type of thinking.

If you have to bribe people to work at your organization with expensive benefits then you have a problem. What happens if the benefit packages have to be reduced because of a downturn in the economy? That’s why you never rely on tangible benefits to motivate people. Rather, you highlight the intangibles. If the overall “feel” is right then the candidate will be more interested in the job and be more motivated as an employee. The emotional connections to tie people to the organization are the true drives of engagement and motivation.

It is the intangibles of the work and organization that attract, engage, retain, and motivate employees. From the outset, they want to know what it will feel like to work in a company. How are the employees treated? Even in assembly line style work employees can be extremely motivated and loyal to the organization. From the outset, you have to answer the question, “Are the employees treated as valued employees who every effort benefits the entire organization?” In turn, they will feel motivated if the intrinsic benefits exist for belonging to a high performance culture; where, excellence it not only expected from all employees, but freely given.

It all starts on how well the organization brands its self as a work destination for people who want to set down roots and are willing to work. When they are “welcomed” to the organization each new employee understands that they are a valued part of the team. Team leaders understand when someone is new to an organization they are nervous and need reassurance. During training, they meet everyone and are paired with a person of likeminded personality to help conduct the training and answer questions. Once trained and on the floor, the supervisors continue to build the team and integrate the person into the overall success of the organization. It is the intangibles of working for a leader, and being a part of a team, that motivates people. Benefit packages are important, but no one has ever been motivated to do anything more than what is required because they were told how much a company spend on their benefits. Employees who are intrinsically motivated be the organization, what it does, the internal community, and the right “feel” will fight to ensure the company is strong and profitable. The old school thinking that tangible motivate should be in a text book on bad management. Reading how to use intangibles of the organization to motivate employees is the future, and should be read by every leader trying to make a difference in their organization.

Setting correct priorities makes the difference between mere survival and success.

by

Mike Phibbs

Imagine being dropped off in the woods with only a knife and some rope for your survival. The hours are counting down and you are on the clock to darkness. What are you going to do? Most people will sit down and cry, thinking they are going to die, and they may be right. What are your priorities? What must you do to survive? These same scenarios play out in the business world every day. Let’s see how lessons from survival experts Les Stroud, Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin can save your life in the deep woods or the concrete forest of your town.

Let’s face it, people watch the survival shows because we admire people who can go out into the woods, desert, or ocean and survive on the bare basics that nature has to offer. Even “preppers” go out and buy supplies and store them up. After many months or living off their bought products they too will be at the mercy of nature. Truth be told, we can all survive like Les, Cody, and Dave. It is in our genetic code and in Asia, Africa, and South America many people still live a primitive life style. We, in our modern age, simply don’t have to live that way and most don’t choose too, until fate forces us to relinquish living like a spoiled 5 year old and get back to basics. Even in the modern day world, many independent entrepreneurs and companies fail because they choose to skip the primitive business basics and never create the foundation of success and move forward and instead focus on the end product and work their way backwards.

Let’s observe the success of the “Wild Man of the Woods” Les Stroud and his three keys to survival. On his show, Les works alone, like the lone entrepreneur responsible only for his own safety and survival. When he is paired up with someone else he is an exacting task master that requires absolute perfection from his partner(s). In reality, he also participates in Eco-Challenges and other adventure racing events where team work is required; however, his teams operate at a higher level than most. When Les is dropped off in the uninhabited backlands he has clear priorities: Shelter, fire and then water. First, protect yourself from the outside elements. If the environment disables you then you are dead. Likewise in business, the lone entrepreneur only has himself to seek guidance and find shelter from his or her competitors. For many in business, the basic shelter is a well thought out idea that sets you apart from your competition. Why are you better than anyone else?
Next, Les builds fire to warm himself up and create the first foundation for success that helps create the motivation and drive to survive. For thousands of years the quest for fire went unanswered. Most people today can’t build a fire out of a stick, spool of yarn, and scrapings from a tree. Yet, Les in a poof and wave of his hand seemingly at the wave of a hand creates in fire. He must live, and pay attention to, the moment. Daydreaming and focusing on the future diverts attention from what he is trying to accomplish right now; your shelter may collapse or fire go out. Likewise, the single entrepreneur must also experience the first success that builds the foundation for success. A well thought out business plan that doesn’t simply state the strategy is to succeed, but spells out what success actually looks like and the steps vividly showing every action steps needed from conceptualization to the fulfillment of the endeavor.

Third, Les then works on finding water. It’s crucial to his survival but is third on the list. Why? Because, he can survive a few days without water, while death comes quickly without shelter and fire. He is willing to drink water, or purified urine, that most people gag at the thought of consuming. The question becomes, what are you willing to do to survive? For the single entrepreneur, are you placing the priorities for your survival as a company in the right order? What you are doing may be crucial but not critically important for you to get through the day. Do not go down the path of thinking of your success, and forgetting to live in the moment, before you have ensured your foundation has been set?

Now, think about two highly successful people, such as Dave Canterbury and Dave Lundin, coming together and being forced to resolve differences in order to not only succeed but survive. Like seasoned business partners they have the talent and drive to succeed. The difference between Les and them is they have to work together and resolve their difference in order to be successful. Both come from different backgrounds and possessed their own unique stories before they collaborated on Dual Survival. They use confrontation not as a means to overwhelm the other, but as a vehicle to communicate differing perspectives on the situation at hand. Through confrontation comes collaboration of effort and focused energy. Together, they can rationalize the situation, and develop a better method of attack, to ensure the highest probability of survival and success. Likewise, when you have a business, or a significant other, effective communication of observations, perspective, and ideas is crucial for your success together. You may be extremely passionate and experienced as individuals, but when you come together with a set goal, like survival, your reliance on each other becomes compounded. By actively listening to the other person’s point of view you can gain insight into your own ideas and maybe determine a better way to handle the situation. Build upon your past individual successes to create the pathways to future success. By having an active partner, you are not alone and don’t have to make all of the decisions. Share the burden and create synergy which leads to your survival and success.

Paying attention to what you are doing in this very moment is crucial to your own survival. Success is a byproduct of your conceptualization and implementation of priorities. Even the best plans and intentions do not succeed. To increase the mere chance of survival, while not even guaranteeing success, solid foundations and tactics must be built and created. Then the environment determines if you will survive. Whether you are out alone in the wilderness, or in a forest made of concrete and skyscrapers, for survival you have to ensure that priorities are sound and in the correct order to provide the greatest probability of success. Do not go blindly into an endeavor and hope for the best. Create the conditions that favor not only your survival but your success. After you get the basics down and a solid foundation for your business, or personal life set, you can begin to be creative and reach the success you imagined.

Create success through Evidence Based Leadership techniques.

EBL

By

Mike Phibbs

Everyone has read a book with “Leadership” somewhere in the title. Why, we all want to become leaders that inspire and sought after for our sage advice. So, we go to the local book store and find a book that explains how Company A transformed itself from an average company to an extraordinary icon in its industry. Once you begin to read the plethora of books you realize two critical ideas. First, most books are more about management then leadership. Second, the ideas may be great for that specific organization but will not work for yours. However, there are two easy solutions for wading through the sea of books and learning how to truly transform you into a highly effective leader. To begin, you must understand the true nature of leadership and then look for Evidence Based Leadership training that provides a high-octane boost and will accelerate your leadership potential well past the next level.

First, understand that leadership and management are systematically opposed. People like to disguise management training as leadership training since it is cool to be a leader and a drag to be a manager. The overall concept is as simple as leaders lead and managers manage. True understanding of leadership requires a deeper understanding than that simple statement. Leadership is about transformation through the creation of a greater vision for the future and in-depth understanding of people to guide and motivate people. Leaders possess the ability to create the end goal vision for their organizations. They readily read the tea leaves and anticipate where the road blocks are, and how to navigate around them. They understand how to overcome organizational inertia that resists change and can prevent average leaders from creating an impact. Effective leaders have the capability to transform their organizations and take them to the next level. Extraordinary leaders transcend these bounds and create legendary organizations.

Management is about putting parameters on organizations. They develop and follow rules and regulations and keep score. They are the traffic cops that keep the organization moving along at a specified pace. Managers put the brakes on organizational change until ideas are clearly vetted. I am not saying managers are bad people. Managers are the yin to the leadership yang. They develop the strategies that keep organizations going day-to-day. Without managers a high-octane leadership driven organization will wander from one vision to the next, but it will make great time. Management trims the sails and ensures check points are developed and targets are met. Another analogy says leaders want to expand the balloon. Managers want to have rules limiting how fast it expands and requires constant pressure testing to ensure the balloon does not pop.
Now, are people born with innate leadership capacity? Have you ever read in the newspaper, “A great leader was born today at General Hospital” or hear in the hospital hallway, “That baby has great management potential.” Some people do seem to inherit innate leadership skills, but they are still limited. Some possess exceptional leadership skills that work in one industry, but they may flop in another. There is light at the end of the tunnel for struggling leaders: Evidence Based Leadership.

Evidence Based Leadership is a compilation of proven techniques that work in any organization, or profession. At first, I too was reluctant to believe there is a one size fits all solution to leadership problems. However, after I read the key principles and concepts I found they are right on point. I read the concepts and was reminded how it worked in another organization. The Evidence Based Leadership skills are based on facts of which leadership interventions works and which ones don’t. Your next book on leadership should be on Evidence Based Leadership. Then you can read other books on successful leadership and suddenly realized they took the long road to success. By understanding the differences between leadership and management and the principles of Evidence Based Leadership you are on the express route to being an exceptional leader.

Ninja Leadership Training for $39.99. Call now and we’ll throw in a set of steak knives.

“One step Ninja Leadership Training programs for $39.99. Call now and we will throw in a set of steak knives for free; just pay separate shipping and handling. At the end of the 4 hour video, you will be able to Ginsu your way through any leadership problems. When you walk into a room a soft light will shine down on you, and tranquil music will fill the air. You will instantly be able to ‘WOW’ people with your enlightenment.” You see commercials like these on television, usually on weekends, and during late night reruns of B-movies.

Well, I’m here to tell you, there is no one stop leadership training program in the world. Each program must be tailored to the needs of the student leader. A very few people are near the pinnacle as leaders and only need a little polishing. Some have no leadership skills and need an entire program. Most people in leadership positions already possess some level of competency as a leader. These are the people who truly need custom training programs to develop their leadership skills, without wasting time rehashing skills they already have.

A custom made leadership training program creates a higher rate of return for your training dollar. Custom training programs are just that, custom. They assess your current skill sets and create pathways to take you to the next level. However, to save money, you can still attend a large seminar and learn all sorts of leadership techniques that are not worth the price of admission. Its your call to make. Find a certified leadership trainer or call the 1-800 numbers for the instant enlightenment video with steak knives. That simple decision may truly gauge your Splash on the Matrix.

In case you didn’t realize it, and some people apparently didn’t, the Ninja Leadership Training was a parody to get my point across and not a real product.

Ninja 2

A Negative Workplace and “The Nine Rules to Neutralize Negativity”

Ideas

By
Gary Samuels

Negativity is a growing concern in the workplace. Many stressors in create concerns for management. The economy created a need to downsize companies, lay off employees, cut incentive packages, defer raises, and increase workloads for employees. These stressors created a concern for employee mental health, workplace violence, and negative attitudes. Negativity decreases employee performance, increases safety concerns, and costs the company in productivity.
The first step is to have a leader who is willing to identify and address this issue head on. A proactive leader stays in touch with line personnel and recognizes the early warning signs of negativity. Many times, we find that negativity is the result of a managerial decision, gossip, rumors, or even one bad apple in the workplace. Leaders must demonstrate a genuine concern for the employees wants and needs. Engagement at all levels to create a culture of caring within the workplace is important.

Social media is a marketing and branding tool for many departments. Many departments find social media plays an important part in preventing negativity within your agency. The key to progressively managing your image is paying attention to what your employees post in the social media arena. If you read blogs, websites, and other public social media venues, you can gain the needed edge. Internal feedback gained from suggestions, employee feedback in appraisals, and employee meetings is very beneficial. Utilizing employee feedback tools, like the 90 Degree North Model developed by LeadershipRVA, gives leaders information to facilitate change. This information will help you learn to identify the symptoms of negativity before its morale-busting consequences damage your workplace. It will also assist you in preventing and curing workplace negativity. Using social media to market and brand your organization is a positive step. Providing the public with immediate information about the news worthy events that employees and the company are doing to help the community and the environment will increase your public image.

Refocusing the workplace is the key to increasing performance when negativity has zapped your organization. Utilizing strategies to prevent negativity will benefit the whole organization. Nine rules to neutralize negativity are:
1. Lead by example. The moral and ethical character of the leadership will directly influence all employees.
2. Increase the ability for input at all levels. Allow employees to express concerns, make suggestions, develop ideas, and have ownership in the policies and procedures.
3. Provide responses to the employee concerns in a timely manner. Before the ripples in the pond disappear, a management response is important.
4. Treat people with fairness and consistency. Equality is important for employees. This transparency shows all employees that the department is doing the right thing.
5. Do not use the shotgun effect to address issues. Do not punish the whole organization for one mistake of one or a small group of employees.
6. Explain your actions, decisions, and new policies to all. This makes everyone feel included and important.
7. Give everyone access to training that will facilitate succession management and the ability to gain promotions. Educational opportunities can be a powerful tool to increase morale.
8. Engage employees to be a part of the strategic planning process and have input into the mission, vision, values, and goals of the agency. This can be an education in itself.
9. Develop a plan to review all programs. This gives employees input into changes.

“The Nine Rules to Neutralize Negativity” are merely tools to help prevent negativity and increase morale. Leaders must embrace criticism with an open mind and develop positive responses that build the organization. Put your leadership team to work by challenging them to create a culture within your organization that wipes out negativity and increases morale. Find the best practices and develop strategies to implement these practices in your workplace everyday.

A fun and reliable way to score your leadership and management talents.

90 for leadership blog

Ever thought about the perception of your effectiveness as a leader or manager of your team? No? Your team loves you right? Perception is reality when you’re in charge of a team. Everyone in a supervisory role believes they have great leadership and management skills, but the truth is most are not that gifted. It’s not that we’re delusional, we simply judge ourselves in the best light possible, namely, from own perspective. Our egos don’t want to look at the bigger picture, therefore, we resist feedback. In order to facilitate, if not force supervisors to see the perceptions from their teams perspectives consultants developed the 360 evaluations. The 360 combines perspectives from the top down, sideways, and from the bottom up. Great, however, with all of the data the 360 provides, it is still easy to overlook your team’s perspective on your ability to lead and manage. Notice I said, “Team”. If you don’t refer to the people you supervise as “Team” you, my friend, are in deep trouble as a leader. Your boss and friends may think you are great, but if you team has a dissimilar perspective you are not as effective as you could be. You may be what is keeping your “Team” from not just being at the next level, but stopping them from being effective at their current level. Now for the fun part, there is a new tool that allows you to rate your leadership splash and post it to social media. Using the Matrix from Integritas Leadership Solutions, LLC, you can rate yourself, or someone else, on leadership and management aptitudes and directly post the scores to face book. When you receive multiple scores from your team members you can plot them and see your splash as a leader and manager.

First, understand both management and leadership positions are diametrically opposed. They are always trying to get ahead of each other. They both have an important part to play in any organization but most people confuse the divergent skills and abilities required for management for leadership. Leadership is about breaking out of the box and taking your team to a new level. Leaders, create a vision, overcome the inertia of status quo, and bring the team to life to meet new challenges. Management is about policies and procedures, following the rules. Basically, managers keep you in the box. When you were back in school, the leader was the high school rock star and everyone wanted to follow him or her. The manager was the chemistry geek who had to follow the rules or his test tubes would blow up. You asked the chemistry geek how to do your homework, but went to the rock stars house to hang out. Hint, the chemistry geek never forgot, or forgave, you and is now retaliating for your transgressions through their management roles.

Now, fast forward to today and learn something about yourself. The Integritas Leadership Solutions Matrix rates you on your leadership and management abilities. The basic program allows you to answer the questions and then places your score on a graph for you to see. You can then post your score to Facebook. When you have your team complete the basic program you can see your splash as a leader and manager. Let’s take a look at how at how they developed the score:

Leadership can be rated on your ability to create a vision and inspiration. Can you create a vision that is compelling and can you inspire people to follow you. When you look back are people following?
Management is more mundane, but just as important. Do you have the basic knowledge to perform your job at the level required and do you have the ability to perform.

The Matrix is a fun way to receive your score as a leader or manager. More importantly, it is a way for you to gauge your effectiveness. Now, go to the Matrix site and get your score on these four basic skill sets, Vision, Inspiration, Knowledge and Ability. www.integritasleadership.net/matrix

The seven steps from self-actualization to creating a high performance team

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In order to create a High Performance team, the foundation must be created on a solid base of leadership. I will outline a simple course from individual self actualization to creating a high performance team.

Step One: The leader must become conscious of his or her actions. Take an inventory of youself and and ask, ” can I lead myself? Why would others follow me?” Are their actions disciplined or undisciplined? Do the actions hurt the team, or help build it up? Do I have the knowledge skills and abilities for their job? If not, how fast can I acquire them? Leaders biggest mistakes stem from not realizing they need to add to their knowledge base, and then making bad decisions based on that lack of knowledge.

Step Two: Without introspection as to why you behave the way you do, you will never be able to create a cohesive plan of action and become an exceptional leader. Through conscious awareness you can begin to create the self discipline you need to create a vision that people will follow. People will not follow someone who is all over the place, but will follow one who is strait, steady and consistent on reaching the desired goal.

Step Three: Self discipline an creating a steady course for people to follow takes courage. You have to change your own behaviors, and then those of your team. You will have to confront people and make your argument for them to change, for their betterment, and that of the team. It takes courage to try and overcome resistance. Confrontation take courage. Sometime the leader had to have the courage to tell someone they do not fit and need to go. Confrontation is good in that it opens up communication lines. Confrontation does not mean yelling and screaming, but actually discussing difference in opinion, not hiding them and letting resentment build

Step Four: Once you begin to control yourself through self discipline, and created an awareness how individual actions impact the team, you can begin to motivate and inspire. Create your individual vision of where you want to go. How will you get their? You will get there through your team and their willingness to follow.

Step Five: What is the vision for the team? What do you collectively believe? As you build yourself up, your vision of the team may change. As the team evolves and changes, their vision may change. The vision the leader and team create must be consistent with the vision of the organization. As good vision for a team takes the organizations vision and then raises the bar. By raising the bar and meeting those goals you become the “go to” people in the department.

Step Six: Celebrate little victories. Rome was not built in a day. Set the long range plan with short term in initiatives. Celebrate once you have reached the initiative goals. Regroup, when you don’t. After a victory or setback, notice I did not say defeat, evaluate what went write or wrong. Adjust course, and then move on. Always look towards to long term future, but remember it is the actions you take each day that get you to fulfill your vision for yourself and your team.

Step Seven: The more successful your team is, the more other teams will recruit away your best team members. Rejoice when a team member moves on to help someone else. It reflects greatly onto you and what you have accomplished. So, now you bring in someone new. Let them know who you are. Find out who they are and what they want to accomplish. Bring it the team, and introduce each one of them. Let the team share the vision with the new person. Together, as a team you use each day as a touchstone for success.

Fundamental’s: Leaders Create Vision While Managers Use Planning Processes To Be Successful

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To be successful in either leadership or management roles requires an opposing set of skills. Many are successful in either leadership or management roles; however, only a few are extraordinarily gifted enough to be able to successfully meld both requisite skills set together to create synergy. This blog will discuss distinctions between leadership vision and management planning. Leaders create a vision to inspire and provide direction for excellence through out of the box thinking that propels organizations to the top levels of their industries. From the opposite direction, managers develop the pathway that implements the leader’s vision through the planning process and focusing the employee’s energy by enforcement of policy and procedures.
Effective leader use their vision as the fundamental component to drive innovation and feed the insatiable appetite to excel. The drive to fulfill the vision is truly never-ending; because excellence is boundless it can never be truly realized. For example, if your organization’s vision is to lead your industry then what happens when it becomes the leader? It now has to look over its shoulder to see who is trying to catch up. If your vision is to continually produce innovative products that lead your industry, then your benchmark is simply to continue innovation. The fundamental desire for innovation is endless and the results are you lead your industry.
The vision is where we want to go and the planning process is the vehicle managers use to reach the vision. Planning is less flashy, but equally important. Leaders create the vision, but it takes a talented manager to construct the plan to make the vision a reality. Management is the yang to the leader’s yin. Managers build the road to meet the vision using the planning process to answers the following questions:
• Does the vision reflect the marketplace?
• How are we going to get there?
• How do we overcome the obstacles in the way?
• What is the time frame?
• Who will be involved?

Once these and many other questions are answered, then the pathway begins to take shape and roles and responsibilities are developed. Any manager can create strict guidelines for employees to follow to stay on course. An effective manager embraces the vision and then creates a pathway that sets necessary boundaries to keep people heading in the same direction. Highly effective managers create the boundaries, but also allow leeway for an individual ideas to be aired and implemented if it increases effectiveness of the vision.

A few extremely gifted individuals have the leadership ability to create the vision where they want to take their organizations and with the management skills to utilize the planning process to create the pathway to success.

Leaders do not allow thier operational tempo to out stretch resources.

As a leader, it is important to remember our organization’s and teams operational tempo so you don’t out run your resources. It seems obvious, but it happens all the time. As leaders we take an idea and charge forward before the rest of the team really knows what’s going on. Then, we look back and we are by ourselves and our project is in shambles. Our team may never catch up and the needed supply chain was never created to get you what you resources. Even worse, you may have out stepped the boundaries of your responsibilities and strayed into someone else’s area. Now, this creates a whole new dichotomy to the problem.

How does this happen? Remember, each organization has its own tempo. Some organizations move quickly and others more slowly. Whatever the tempo of the organization it has its own inertia. You have to overcome that inertia when you charge forward. You must create a need to move forward at the higher tempo. Some people are going to actively resist the change because it takes them out of their own comfort zone. Some may readily jump on the bandwagon believing they will get a reward for helping out. If you don’t get the right people on board, who have the right skills tests and political connections, then your plan will be derailed before it leaves the station.

In today’s environment these situations can be life threatening. For example, a police supervisor goes to a call of a barricaded suspect and charges in with only a few officers. Soon, he finds that he is about to get into a firefight with a suspect who has cover and concealment, better firearms, and a clear advantage. The supervisor isn’t in a position to retreat and doesn’t have the equipment to move forward. Now lives are in jeopardy because he rushed into a situation and outpaced his resources. It could also happen in the fire services where a unit responds to a call and rushes in before supporting equipment arrives. Once inside the structure they realize their hose is the wrong size, the structure is too weak, or they don’t have all of the tools to they need.

These situations also happen in business everyday, but at a slower pace. The slower pace allows for people to stop and analyze the problem, using the premortem technique, regroup and get things back on track. As leaders, we want to rush in and make change. However, outpacing our teams operational tempo only leaves you stranded and in some cases in harms way.