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Is Your Leadership Hurting the Bottom Line?

leadership4 ‘Bad Leader Behaviors’ That Affect Productivity, Profits

What can business leaders and managers learn from watching the earnings of publicly traded companies?

“Plenty,” says Kathleen Brush, a 25-year veteran of international business and author of “The Power of One: You’re the Boss,” (www.kathleenbrush.com), a guide to developing the skills necessary to become an effective, respected leader.

“When looking at the corporations reporting lower-than-expected earnings, you need to read between the lines. They are not going to admit that the reason is a failure of leadership, but 99 times out of 100 that’s what it is.”

She cites Oracle, the business hardware and software giant, which recently reported a quarterly revenue shortfall based on a decline in new software licenses and cloud subscriptions.

The company is “not at all pleased with our revenue growth this quarter,” Oracle co-president Safra Catz told analysts. “What we really saw was a lack of urgency that we sometimes see in the sales force …”

They are pointing the finger at the employees, but they are really admitting a failure of  leadership, Brush says.

“Do you know how simple it is for managers to motivate sales people? If indeed the lack of sales urgency is the problem. There are dozens of bad leader behaviors that can cause sales to decline,” she explains.

In her work for companies around the country, from restructuring operations to improving profitability, Brush says she sees an epidemic of bad leader behaviors.

“When I point them out, most leaders downplay, or refuse to acknowledge, the impact their behaviors are having on their bottom line. But, in companies where leaders change these behaviors, employees become engaged and motivated. It is really that simple to increase productivity, innovation, and the bottom line,” she says.

“If you’re a boss examining your own lower-than-expected performance, instead of wasting time searching for scapegoats, look in the mirror. Most bosses unwittingly exhibit bad leader behaviors daily that cause their businesses to suffer.”

Here are four increasingly prevalent and damaging behaviors:

• The unethical boss: This is a category that doesn’t just annoy employees, it appalls them. As such, it’s a powerful demotivater. When a boss breaks or fudges the rules, cheats, lies or indulges in behaviors that reveal a lack of moral principles, he or she loses employees’ respect. Without their respect, a boss cannot lead. In addition, when a leader indulges in unethical practices, he gives his employees permission to do the same. Padding mileage reports, splurging on business travel expenses, failing to take responsibility for mistakes – they all become endorsed activities by the boss – the role model.

• The unfair boss: Our current societal efforts to treat people equally – think gay marriage, health care reform, the children of undocumented immigrants – have led to confusion among some leaders about “equality” versus “fairness” in the workplace. “I talked to a manager who gave all his employees the same pay raise because ‘he wanted to be fair,’ ” Brush recalls. He then seemed mystified that the productivity of his best employees declined to that of an average worker. “Rewards can be powerful tools of motivation, but they must be administered fairly.”

• The buddy boss: Bosses can never be buddies with their employees. Ever. Friendships neutralize the boss’s authority and power. They can also cloud a leader’s objectivity and hinder her ability to correct behaviors, to delegate, and to hold employees accountable. When friendships compromise output, it’s the boss who will be accountable. “Be friendly to employees, but do not cross the line that muddies the relationship between boss and friend. It could cost you your job.” Brush says.

• The disorganized boss:  Workplaces are filled with employees who lack direction because disorganized leaders don’t deliver and manage plans and strategies to guide their teams. What’s the chance of an unguided team maximizing its productivity to create competitively superior innovative widgets? “What’s the chance of employees being inspired by a leader who leads like a doormat or by random thoughts?” says Brush.

“As a manager, you wield a tremendous amount of power,” she says. “You can be an incredibly negative power or a positive one who’s looked up to by both peers and employees.”

“For the latter, bosses have to purge the bad behaviors.”

About Kathleen Brush

Kathleen Brush has more than two decades of experience as a senior executive with global business responsibilities. She has a Ph.D. in management and international studies. Brush has been teaching, writing and consulting on international business and leadership for companies of all sizes, public and private, foreign and domestic.

 

 

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Go For No by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

Have you ever met someone who actually liked the word, “No”? Probably not. “No” is associated with the inability to do something. I makes people feel inadequate, rejected, and as if they are being held back from what is they want. “No” leads to frustration, anger, and anxiety. Unfortunately, it is most people’s perception of the word, “No” that have gotten them into so much trouble.

If you really want to get negative, look at the word, “No” in a negative light. Doing so will only lead you down a darker path in your career. You’ll wake up each day with less and less enthusiasm about your career. However, there is a truth to this word that people are missing out on. The truth is that “No” is actually a positive word, but only if viewed in a positive light.

It is in a salesman‘s best interest to react to “No” in the same fashion as a teenage child. When a teenager or child is told “No”, they look at it as a challenge and act out in rebellion. The thing that a parent tells their child they cannot do is the very thing that they end up doing. As you can see, it is a human’s “natural” reaction to rebel rather than to take the word so seriously.

For true success, you should allow this seemingly-negative word to motivate you. When you are faced with someone who is turning away your products, understand that they are not necessarily turning your products away, but simply being negative. The power to change the entire situation ultimately lies within you hands.

So, the next time someone tells you know, what do you do? Accept it and walk away or try to convince them? Obviously, you change the way you perceive the word. As soon as you put out the vibe that you have been rejected, your prospect is going to be empowered and therefore convinced that they did the right thing. The last thing you want to do is allow the situation to escalate to this point.

Understand that nine times out of ten, you are going to be denied anyway. So, be prepared. Envision that you prospect has already said no. Instead of allowing “No” signify the end of the sale, look over it and ignore it. If it makes you angry, let it make you angry. Just know that you are the only one who has the power to transform the way this word makes you feel.

Becoming a successful sales individual is a matter of choice. Everyone knows that before they get involved into the career of sales that they are going to experience rejection. Some of the most successful millionaires have had to experience rejection, and still do to this day.

The thing that sets you apart from becoming the next sales billionaire is how you choose to handle the situation. Ultimately, this is going to require a bit of reorganization on your behalf. You must take time reorganizing your thoughts. Instead of expecting the worst, getting upset, disappointed and then discouraged, turn it all around. Feel the rejection, understand that it isn’t pleasant, then decide that you will not let it get the best of you.

Use the word, “No” as a means to a beginning of a lifetime of success and resilience. After you feel the initial impact of being knocked down, get up, regroup, and try again, but only with a more positive approach. More importantly, do away with the fear of the word and turn it into a motivation.

Please visit The Personal Development Company if you would like to learn more about Go For No! principles by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

 

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