Written by webtechs

The Danger and Biology of Ego

Ego gets in the way of progress, creativity and growth.

I am not talking about confidence – I am referring to the person that operates with an inflated opinion of oneself; and the person that deep down masks their fears with thoughts of “I know best”, “don’t tell me”, or “everyone else is wrong”.

This attitude destroys trust, undermines culture, and stifles progress.

Over the years I have coached and trained hundreds of executives that lack the necessary self-awareness of ego.  Many cross their arms, lift their chin, and send the message, “go ahead, see if you can teach me…” These same executives criticize their own employees for not wanting to change.  So who’s to blame? The executive or the employee?

Surprisingly, our brains are largely to blame. We are wired with a mindset that both safeguards and reinforces our Status. Status refers to the relative importance of ourselves as compared to others.

Everyone’s brain is designed to protect our own well being, while simultaneously responding to the reward of feeling more important than others.

Dr. David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, coined the term SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) to illustrate the drivers of social behavior.   Status can be activated by giving someone feedback – ‘feedback for improvement’ stimulates an individual’s threat response, and ‘positive feedback’ stimulates a person’s reward response.

Becoming aware that we are all predisposed to react to Status influences is the first step in keeping our egos in check.  Every time ego leads the way, it adversely impacts one’s ability to learn new skills, share information, enhance team collaboration, and accept feedback.

Make a conscious effort to check your ego at the door. Change depends on it.

For more information read David Rock’s article: http://www.davidrock.net/files/NLJ_SCARFUS.pdf

Written by webtechs

Eyes Wide Open

Imagine a football team attempting to score a touchdown blindfolded.  Or driving from L.A. to N.Y. with no map, compass, or GPS.  You may eventually end up in the right place… but not without added chaos and inefficiency.

I dare you to ask 10 people in your business what your company’s top goals and business priorities are.  You will most likely get 10 different answers.

Now ask several individuals, what your company’s core strategy is.  I’m sure most will look dazed and confused.  So how can you expect high performance when everyone is unclear of the goals and clueless about strategy?  Well frankly, you can’t!

It’s common practice for management to point the finger at an employee, or even an entire department, for not communicating.  It’s also tempting to scold team members for their lack of accountability.  Step back. Take a look at the big picture. Where must communication and accountability begin?

Whether you have 2 employees or 10,000… you must start with providing the fundamental direction of your business.  You can help employees prioritize their time, execute their roles, and follow through on responsibilities, by providing the “what’s, how’s and why’s” of business.  Take the time to ensure everyone is aware of, and aligned with, your company’s goals.   Define your business strategy and give all team members a clear map to follow.  The truth is, a clear, focused direction will profoundly impact performance. Good leadership begins with opening everyone’s eyes.

Written by webtechs

Does Leadership Need a New Definition?

Before we begin down this rabbit hole, let’s look at why we define things in the first place.

We define words to help create a common understanding of their meaning so we can apply the definition in our language and in our life.  With the word ‘LEADERSHIP’ – we must find the rightmeaning, so we can shape our language and our lives.  If ‘leadership’ is defined poorly or even limited in scope, then few of us apply its power to our own lives.

When defined poorly, we use ‘leadership’ to describe anyone who has followers regardless of his or her direction.  When the direction is wrong, as is the case with ineffective politicians or inhumane dictators, then ‘leadership’ loses its power in the definition, and in its application.

When ‘leadership’ is defined with a limited scope, as it is used to define a person’s position and title, i.e. CEO, President, Director, and Manager; then once again we miss out on a huge opportunity to use the value of leadership at all levels in an organization. Not only that, a title or position in no way implies you have earned the right to be viewed as a leader.

Consider my definition:  “Leadership is the responsibility to positively influence self, others, and outcomes.”

Let’s break it down…

  • “Leadership is a responsibility” – Leadership begins by owning your choices and decisions.  Stop looking outside of yourself to ‘find’ the leader; instead look inside to your inner compass.
  • “to positively influence” – Leadership needs to guide and direct people in the ‘right’ direction, and therefore leaders must always consider the impact of their actions.
  • “self” – Your choices, habits, goals, purpose, and direction determine how you live your own life.  Every thought, action, and inaction establishes “self- leadership.”
  • “others” – Your impact on others is inevitable, and the more conscious you are of your intentional and unintentional impact, the better leader you will become.
  • “and outcomes.” – Leaders produce results, achieve goals, improve situations, and drive change.  Consider how your leadership will influence the outcome.

This simple and direct definition provides a much-needed focus to define the essence of ‘leadership’. 

Written by webtechs

Why Interrogate Business?

The word interrogate conjures images of windowless rooms with two way mirrors, detectives playing good cop/bad cop, or prosecutors tricking the guilty into expressing too much emotion on the stand.  The approach can be strong and attacking, or empathetic and reassuring. Regardless, interrogations have one thing in common- a relentless pursuit of the truth. Each answer leads to a new question, a new path to follow in order to uncover solid facts.

The goal of this blog is not to pound on business. Instead, I want to help you closely examine all aspects of your business.  My objective is to dig deeper and ask the tough questions.

What are the important questions that you should ask of your own organization?  Together we will examine what makes business tick including:

  • What makes certain employees give their heart, body and soul to the company’s mission
  • How to determine the underlying problems with accountability
  • What lies at the root of morale issues that frequently get ignored
  • What resides inside the mind of your most loyal customers

I will explore my curiosity for human performance and investigate the limitless dynamics of leadership, sales and strategy.

Together, let’s “Interrogate Business” in search for the truth.

What tough questions do you need to ask of your business?  Share your thoughts and questions in the comments or email me and I will include your thoughts in future posts. 

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