The Lead Yourself First Blog

How To Build an Extraordinary Workplace Culture

Three Ways To Sustain An Extraordinary Workplace Culture

How often does one hear a president of a company open an event for his leadership team with the words: “Mom and Dad, I want to thank you for all you do”. Not only were his Mom and Dad in the audience, they were interacting with everyone throughout the entire meeting, from start to finish. The Founder (aka “Dad”) joined both his sons on stage to answer questions from attendees, holding nothing back. More than 300 people hung on his every word; laughing and at times moved to tears, as Dad told stories about the early days, his reasons for starting the company, as well has his vision for future success.  As I witnessed the smiles and animated conversations that ensued during coffee breaks, lunch and the reception afterwards, it was clear that this was no ordinary company. What made it so special? In a word: Culture.

The ability to sustain an extraordinary workplace culture while growing at an unprecedented rate is a scenario that many organizations would like to have. At the same time, preserving the unique attributes that make an enterprise successful can present its own set of challenges. The solution to maintaining an outstanding culture lies in consistently applying the following principles: Continue reading “Three Ways To Sustain An Extraordinary Workplace Culture”

Woman Out Of Control Overcoming Workaholism

Out Of Control: Three Reasons Why We Can’t (Or Won’t) Get Off The Work Treadmill

“There aren’t enough hours in the day.” …The catchcry for the busy professional who laments the fact that if it were possible to cram more hours into a day, he or she would make it so. When will the “crazy busy” lifestyle give way to a more “sane” way of being? If you were to ask most people to answer this question, the likely response would be “perhaps never”. Or, you may hear complete denial regarding the reality of life spinning out of control. Continue reading “Out Of Control: Three Reasons Why We Can’t (Or Won’t) Get Off The Work Treadmill”

Workaholism – A Sanctioned Addiction: A Message For Dedicated Slaves…And Slave Drivers

How do you extricate yourself from an unhealthy work situation? Is it more difficult to do when you relish a challenge? Can you tell the difference between being a workaholic and a hard worker? If you are an employer, are you treating your best people with respect, or are you rewarding hard work with more work? Continue reading “Workaholism – A Sanctioned Addiction: A Message For Dedicated Slaves…And Slave Drivers”

Leadership Lesson: Can You Motivate “Dead Wood” Employees?

“I’m done.” These are thoughts or words that indicate an employee’s time with your organization has come to an end. Of course, many people reach this point for reasons that have nothing to do with low morale, lack of opportunity or a dislike for their jobs. They are ready to move up, move on or begin a new chapter in their lives, once their careers are finished or their time in the workforce is over.

Scenarios like those above are easy to understand. However, the same cannot be said about an employee who shuts down, becomes apathetic at work, or sucks the life out of their co-workers by displaying negativity day in and day out. While there is little doubt that a lack of motivation manifests itself in various forms, there are often underlying issues that can be addressed positively and proactively. Continue reading “Leadership Lesson: Can You Motivate “Dead Wood” Employees?”

The Five Biggest Credibility Killers Leaders Can’t Ignore

Deborah is a senior marketing manager for a renowned home care services organization. I have known her and several members of her executive group for more than a decade. Over the past year she has witnessed growing discontent amongst the core leadership team, a dedicated group that pioneered significant initiatives to innovate and grow the business. During their last management meeting, frustrations reached a crescendo when the VP of HR reported on the findings of the previous month’s exit interviews. Continue reading “The Five Biggest Credibility Killers Leaders Can’t Ignore”

Passionate Leadership: 12 Key Traits That Distinguish The Best From The Rest

Do you remember your first encounter with a leader who profoundly impacted the course of your career or business? Why do you think he or she left such a favourable impression? If you are in the position of leading others today, do the memories of your interactions with this individual linger fondly, still influencing your own leadership style?

Hopefully, you answered “yes” to these questions although it would not be surprising if:

a) You have yet to encounter a passionate leader and therefore have no frame or reference

b) You are sadly lacking a role model, or

c) Your recollections of leaders from your past make you wince, rather than smile.  Continue reading “Passionate Leadership: 12 Key Traits That Distinguish The Best From The Rest”

The Value Of Business Relationships: One Constant In A Changing World

“I’m not a people person.” I will never forget hearing those words during a leadership workshop I was facilitating, nor will I forget the newly appointed manager who uttered them. The shocking truth is that according to the extensive Gallup study of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries, organizations fail to select the right person for the role of manager over 80% of the time.

Imagine the consequences for your employees, customers, and overall business success when a leader lacks critical acumen regarding the value of human-to-human connection. Continue reading “The Value Of Business Relationships: One Constant In A Changing World”

Sink Or Swim? How To Anticipate Change

Why do organizations repeatedly react to rather than plan for change? Why are leaders often stupefied by the glaring realization that their workforces are aging, or that their customers have “suddenly” switched allegiances?

Consider the example of Mike, a manager working in the wholesale grocery business. Mike sought my advice to lead his department through change. He had just received a list of his company’s soon-to-be retired employees. Continue reading “Sink Or Swim? How To Anticipate Change”

Leadership Lesson: How To Retain Great Employees For Long-Term Success

“What could we have done differently?” This is the burning question on every leader’s mind when a great employee decides to leave. There is no question that the cost of rehiring and retraining, the impact on the bottom line and the stress associated with repeating the exercise takes a toll on every type of business. However, the good news is that you can break the cycle by relentlessly adhering to the following strategies: Continue reading “Leadership Lesson: How To Retain Great Employees For Long-Term Success”

The Usual Suspects: Three Reasons Why Difficult People Win... And What You Can Do About It

The Usual Suspects: Three Reasons Why Difficult People Win… And What You Can Do About It

“She’s not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal.” One of the unforgettable lines from Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) describing her boss, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”. Fortunately, Andy realized that she didn’t need to play her boss’s game, refused to be a doormat and ultimately rose above Miranda’s outrageously dysfunctional behavior. Not only did she gain her respect, she learned to respect herself, succeeded in detaching from the drama and set impenetrable boundaries. Sadly, the same cannot be said for many individuals who work with difficult people. How are they able to push every “hot” button with ease? Why do they win? And what can be done to minimize their negative impact on morale, productivity and workplace cultures? Continue reading “The Usual Suspects: Three Reasons Why Difficult People Win… And What You Can Do About It”