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The Guide – Leaders in the Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 22, 2016 in Building Confidence, Executive Coaching

PRESENCEForest

Successful leaders have a certain “Je ne sais quoi” – an air of authority, trust, confidence and knowledge that inspires others to follow them and move towards the goals they have set. Jungle guides are the most valuable members of the excursion party. Without them, the group may become hopelessly lost, run out of food, or become food themselves. If the guide effectively projects their knowledge and authority, the group will follow the guide safely through the jungle.

As someone moving up the ranks towards leadership, it’s imperative to create your leadership presence early on. In order to be the one that’s tapped to take on new leadership assignments you need to assume the presence of a leader before you can actually be one.

Consider what you say, how you say it and how you look saying it.

WHAT YOU SAY

Leaders phrase things positively. They move as quickly and efficiently as they can through a process to a successful conclusion. Listen to great leaders who choose their words wisely and adjust your delivery to mimic theirs. Researching great speeches of the past is a good place to start to learn to frame your comments positively. Rarely do great leaders talk about all the problems they have had and what they are trying to avoid, they only speak about where they are going and how they are going to get there. Avoid negativity and find the positive in every situation first and only talk about the positive which will eliminate any appearance of negativity.

HOW YOU SAY IT

Contrarians are never the leader – they are the outliers. There are many times you may not agree with something, or have a differing opinion, which is how creativity and growth are often generated. But how you deliver the message is the difference between someone who is considered a leader and someone who is branded as not supportive of the company’s goals. The best way to offer a new idea that may not be in alignment with others’ thinking is to present it as a “brainstorm” by starting off the introduction with something like, “I don’t know if we’ve ever looked at it this way, but what about the possibility of…”, or “These are really important and great ideas, can we brainstorm for a moment here?”. Avoid blurting your disagreement directly out for risk of alienating others in the room. Remember, it is possible that your ideas have been explored in the past and were overlooked or avoided for some reason you are not aware of.

Don’t take it personally if others don’t like your ideas every time. Remember, it takes a village, so do your best to contribute AND collaborate when it’s time for you to support someone else’s ideas that are being adopted.

HOW YOU LOOK SAYING IT

Even if its casual day, a put together look is key. No matter how crazy their morning was, leaders never come in and talk about chaos in their lives, they just manage it. If others view you as unable to manage yourself to be where you need to be and looking ready, you won’t be the one they choose to be a leader. Always putting your best self forward will ensure others view you as a leader at all times. Leaders don’t make excuses, either. They take responsibility for what they do, where they are and their outcomes. They embody this by making it to meetings and appointments on time, dressed appropriately and being organized and ready for the meeting or conversation. Traffic doesn’t keep them from being on time. Their kids don’t prevent them from getting somewhere they need to be when they need to be there. They get it done, consistently and build confidence in others by being reliable and dependable.

Wondering if you are on the right track?  Look at people in the hallway – are they making eye contact with you?  Are they saying hello?  Do the big bosses know you by name?  Take the lead and greet others as they pass you in the hall; introduce yourself in the elevator to someone you know that may not know your name. Leaders are natural connectors, too – introduce others you are with to the people you are meeting to take the lead and position yourself as a leader.

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The Cat – Herding vs. Teamwork

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 11, 2015 in Executive Coaching

Cat3You may have heard the phrase “managing [x group] is like herding cats.” While a group may exist with shared goals it, like the territorial cat, may not collaborate as a high performing team even if they are familiar with its members. The essence of high performing teams is collaborative independence and participative leadership but the wild cat, while independent, is not known for its teamwork.

All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. Next time you find yourself herding cats in a group, use these characteristics of cohesive, high performing teams:

  • Members of a high performing team have complementary, yet unique, skills.
  • The team as a strong group identity which can be underlined with special names or methods of identifying the group (such as uniforms/shirts/pins/Internet groups).
  • The members maintain a clear understanding of both the importance of the work, their individual role, and how it relates to overall goal achievement.
  • Members have the authority to act autonomously and with discretion to complete their necessary tasks. This doesn’t mean they aren’t supervised, rather it means they are properly empowered to take risks.
  • Members believe success is achievable as a group and are individually passionate about the results and accountable for their own performance.
  • Members treat each other with respect and sidebar conversations that are dissenting or subversive to the goal.
  • Underachievement, or social loafing, is not tolerated in the team. They establish minimum standards for performance or level of effort and members who are deemed ineffective or disruptive are eliminated.
  • They set their own goals, rules, schedules and norms for behaviors and follow them.
  • Use democratic decision making and leadership is participative.
  • Evenly divide the work space and level of effort.

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The Leapfrog – Being Positive in Career Transition

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 14, 2015 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Frog2All frogs hop, but no frog hops like the red-eyed tree frog. The red-eyed tree frog stealthily roams the jungles of Central and South America in a way different from the rest of his rainforest pals. The red-eyed tree frog is not only able to leap great distances quickly, but his feet have distinct sticky pads that allow him to hop from place to place with poise, precision, and grace. It is a given in today’s economy that career transition is the norm. As you navigate the job search jungle, you will want to act with the red-eyed tree frog’s finesse and poise as you leave one employer and interview with the next.

There is never a time when landing with grace is as important as when you are interviewing. Twice in the past couple of weeks, people have been passed over for great job offers because they spent too much time in the interview focusing on why they left something that was broken rather than moving towards something that was better for them. As you leapfrog through the job search jungle, positivity is the key to successfully landing gracefully.

For instance, when the interviewer asks you why you are leaving your present job, this is not an open invitation to bad-mouth your current or past companies. This would not be transitioning with poise.  Even if your experiences have been negative, or if the company has more problems than profits, delving into the miry pit of your poor employment situation will only hurt you. Any negativity you project in the interview will set the tone regarding your personal outlook and most likely reflect poorly on you. The more you detail the negative aspects of your job, the more the interviewer will wonder, “If we hire her, what would he/she be telling other people about us?”

Positivity, on the other hand, pays off. So, how do you frame your story when it’s not all sunshine and roses? It should not be about what you are leaving; the point is you don’t look for reasons why something wasn’t a good fit for you in the same way you may not have been a good fit with the job. There is always something wrong with every organization. You will want to answer why the position you left or are moving towards is or was a positive step. How is it an opportunity for personal learning or professional growth?

Unfortunately, no one is going to pay you more money because you bought a bigger house or because the job you accepted isn’t perfect. However, an employer will pay you more if your expertise is in demand. Try to make the connection between your skills and enthusiasm and why this new job is an even better and exciting opportunity. If you can articulate this, your interview will come across as positive, and you, will be seen as a positive person. You will be transitioning gracefully.

Why is positivity so important? Based on your resume, the interviewer is aware of many of your skills, many of your accomplishments, your employment history, and your education. When they contact you for the interview they are giving you the nod that you could be making the right leap. By the time you are sitting face to face, the interviewer is just trying to figure out how you might fit in with the team, what it would be like working with you day to day, and how you respond to stressful situations in the office. When you demonstrate positivity, you assure them that you will effectively make the daily challenges easier to bare, and you will not bring in an attitude that demoralizes the team.

As you consider your next job, think about that nimble little red-eyed tree frog. Hopping from place to place can be awkward when you are not expressing the positivity necessary for a sticky landing. Your job transition is not about leaving a negative situation, it is always about moving positively towards opportunity.

This post was contributed by Jenny of Merito Group. Visit www.Meritogroup.com for more information and current job openings.

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The Human Being – Not The Human Doing

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 7, 2014 in Executive Coaching, Lessons Learned, Self Improvement

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Lisa Nirell of Energize Growth LLC writes in her blog, The Wealthy Business, about her experience at the Febraury Washington Women’s PhoneLeadership Initiative (WWLI.org) Luncheon where Arianna Huffington presented the Third Metric to attendees. Lisa uses Arianna’s message and urges her readers to build a lifestyle around frequent moments of being “unplugged” from technology to improve health and quality of life. “It takes a leap of faith to unplug. Several senior marketing leaders and CEOs whom I have met think of their lives as an “either/or” proposition where they are either relaxed and unplugged, OR overworked and hyper-connected. Today, I believe it’s about living a “both/and” life. We are human beings, not human doings.”

Read the rest of Lisa’s article “How Successful Marketing Leaders (Like Arianna Huffington) Unplug” on her blog.

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The Gorilla – Ego In The Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 15, 2013 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

Bookmark and ShareGorilla

Conflicts among gorillas are most often resolved by ritualistic displays intended to intimidate without becoming physical. These displays can include chest beating, ground stomping, and other showings of strength.

Gorilla-like behavior can surface under a wide variety of circumstances in the workplace. Perceived “threats” such as:
• authority being taken away
• new policies and procedures
• company reorganization

can cause the “gorilla” to emerge by making individuals feel self-doubt or under appreciated. Skill sets might be stretched into previously un-treaded territories, new responsibilities can trigger inner feelings of self-doubt, or the person isn’t feeling as challenged in a new role which they feel is beneath their abilities.

Consider this interview scenario; a management level person is participating in interviews where the new employee will become their peer. How will they view the interviewees if they are experiencing self-doubt about themselves and their own work?

It’s important to know as much about whom you are interviewing with and how your level of experience compares with them so you might be able to spot areas that would cause the interviewer to pound their chest and try to intimidate you. If you find yourself in this Gorilla’s cage, seek common ground where you can show how you will be a supportive experienced member of their team working towards a common goal.

But don’t be afraid to pound your chest a little in the interview. For example, I recently had a conversation with someone who had performed 4 general ledger systems conversions in his career and they were interviewing for a job that required that type of experience. Having successfully completed this work “only” 4 times before had left this person feeling that there were other, more qualified consultants in the world who perhaps had far more experience. The truth of the matter was, that in the interview setting they were the expert in the room because no one in that company had ever completed more than one system conversion. So, while you might suspect you aren’t the “most” experienced at something, it doesn’t mean you aren’t the most experienced person at that moment and, therefore, the immediate subject matter expert in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Be proud of your accomplishments and achievements. Prepare for every interview by researching the individuals you will be interviewing for and do a personal inventory of what you have made, saved, or achieved in the past and how your accomplishments will benefit your potential new employer in the future.

Have a bit of the gorilla’s confidence while steering clear of threatening territory!

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The Jungle Zip-Line: A Fresh Look At Goal Setting

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 24, 2013 in Executive Coaching

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It’s that time of year again!

Are you ready to set goals for 2013? I have always looked forward to goal setting. It keeps me focused and moving forward in a positive manner on a definite path. This year, however, I have a new thought about my goal setting thanks to Janet Sernack, CEO of ImagineNation.

I found Janet in my end-of-year quest to catch up on CEU’s in order to renew my ICF credential. It was quite by chance, in fact. Janet was one of the only people offering a class with a good number of credits to help me catch up; so I registered. The last thing I could have thought as I pushed send on the form was how much of an impact Janet would have on how I viewed things.

Have you ever been to a large park or resort that offered zip-line rides? Have you ever taken advantage of the thrilling recreational activity? A zip-line, “also known as a death slide, flying fox, zip wire, aerial runway, or aerial ropeslide” is a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline. After you are strapped to the cable and pulley (with a helmet – safety first!), you step from the high platform to be propelled to the bottom of the inclined cable by gravity. It is often used as a form of entertainment, but it can also be a functional means of accessing remote areas, such as a rainforest canopy. The jungle, with its mountains and high trees, is a popular destination for zip line enthusiasts. The anticipation of the adrenaline rush as you climb to the top platform and connect to the line, the breath you hold in as you step from your solid perch to fly over tree tops with the loud whirring of the pulley in your ears, the only thing connecting you to the line keeping you from plummeting to the forest floor below, knowing all along you will arrive safely to the platform on other side.

Do you watch as other riders fly down the incline? Some people are holding tightly onto the line that dangles them from the cable with their eyes clenched shut, and others are laughing with joy. Many people put their arms up in the air to feel the full thrill of the ride. Which are you? Are you holding onto things because it’s the pattern you are accustomed to or will you throw your hands in the air and see if the safety harness really works?

This brings me to my goal setting. Many of us have learned the art of SMART goal setting and in fact I wrote about it earlier this year. I enrolled in Janet’s program because I needed CEU’s and was intrigued by the name she created, ImagineNation, which is telltale to Janet’s focus on creating innovative thinking. By letting go of ideas I hold on to as truths, I can open up space for new ideas that I never before imagined. Janet challenges me when I tell her why something is the way it is, “What if you let go of that?  What if you put your hands up instead of holding on?”

Instead of my goals being entirely about what I am going to accomplish this year, I am going to challenge myself to let go of something that I am holding onto. An idea, a predisposition that something is the way it is because that’s just reality, is really not true. It’s my reality because I believe it, but maybe there is a new even better reality out there that I haven’t discovered because I am so engrained in my truths.

My goals will still be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely), but for the first time, they will also be about something I am NOT going to do instead of a milestone to hit. Which is a milestone in itself, right?

Think about what you can let go of this year…and enjoy your goal setting!

You can connect with Janet via LinkedIn at http://il.linkedin.com/in/janetsernack

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The Squirrel – Bargain Hunting in the Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 21, 2012 in Career Path, Executive Coaching

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Squirrel2As the holiday shopping rush starts, it has dawned on many that the New Year is now just a few short weeks away. It’s that time of the year to grab a moment and simply take stock of what you’ve done well this year, what you want to improve upon for next year, and set goals. Most importantly, it’s resume update time!

Many people don’t take the time to update their resumes annually which creates a monumental chore when you suddenly need it (job change, promotion, bio, etc.). As we all rush through the malls and stores on Black Friday trying to get in the bulk of our Holiday shopping, think about another way you will be able to save during this season. Instead of wracking your memory for accomplishments from the previous 5 or ten years and taking days or weeks to pull your polished resume together when it is needed, make updating your resume a part of your holiday list. It is so much easier to keep things in perspective and keep track of what you have contributed year over year if you have an annually designated time to update. This year’s accomplishments might not be as significant as next year’s but it can become more difficult to remember details of projects as your work evolves. Making note of these things every year will save you time and worry. Time is money, so save yourself both by being prepared.

Just as squirrels collect and store nuts so they’ll have food to last through winter, you can stockpile your accomplishments in your resume every winter. TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME is a convenient source for you to download from Amazon.com with real life examples of how to organize your resume in order to find the PERFECT JOB.  A good job description with your specific accomplishments listed under each role showing what you have made, saved or achieved will give future readers of your document a great picture of not only what you have done but what you can do for them if they hired you.  Use numbers, specifics, percentages, etc. to quantify your contributions. Definitely note any special awards or accolades you may have received.

Try answering these questions:

  • What change occurred in my company this year and how was I involved in that?
  • How has my department and/or role evolved this year?
  • What were the major projects I worked on and how did they affect the division/ company’s performance?

Year end is also time to make sure you have completed your necessary CPE (continuing professional education). If you have earned licenses, keep your continuing education current so you aren’t scrambling to find classes that will meet your needs at the last minute.

The squirrels who have gathered the most nuts will be prepared for any kind of winter, so follow their example and you won’t have to go nuts to catch up!

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The Terrain – Guiding the Graduates

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 11, 2012 in Executive Coaching, Job Search

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I remember it like it was yesterday:  crossing the stage, shaking the Dean’s hand, smiling for the cameras, and feeling ready to take on the world.  Now, I see my friends’ children taking part in the same ritual. These graduates will come home after their graduation parties and beach vacations to find jobs, but will instead find that they are woefully unprepared to navigate the competitive job terrain that holds their fate in its hands.

A recent article in the Huffington Post stated half of college graduates won’t have a job offer upon graduation.

Most people are average.  Average grades with average income potential.  That’s where the term average comes from, right?  It’s the middle of the exceptionally talented, or those with really high GPAs compared to those who may have prioritized the social aspects of college over the academics and may have even worked their way through school. Perhaps they didn’t get to take advantage of the career center prior to packing up and leaving campus.  Within the average pool of people, there are still exceptionally talented people waiting to be plucked into their destiny of success.  Hard work does pay off, and finding a job after college is hard work.

If your recent graduate didn’t have summer internships relating to their studies, or part time work to offer them a glimpse of what professional life would be like after obtaining their degree, they are probably going to have to pay their dues now, as painful as that might be for you to watch.  Recent grads often feel their education should preclude them from starting with an entry level position, but the fact remains, a job with a reputable company is a great starting point for anyone. 

Whether the business is large or small, publicly traded or privately held, full or part time, they need some work experience. They need to prove to an employer they are reliable, dependable, organized, have good communications skills, can follow direction, and that they can work both independently and in teams.  The basics.  They need to take any job they can get and make it their own whether as an assistant manager at a drug store, or as the administrative assistant in an office.  They need to build the list of references that will vouch for them in the future.

For many grads it’s too soon for them to really know what they want to do long term or where their career will take them, so encourage them to just get started. They will learn more about themselves while working than not working and you can learn something from any job, good or bad.  Some of the most valuable experience can be gained in the most unlikely situations. 

Many times the amount of rejections the grads face is overwhelming and they will retreat back to school for more education. Here’s the skinny on that:  Unless the profession they are choosing (like nursing, law, etc.) requires the education to get started, they are going to be in the same boat a few years down the road if they don’t combine that extra learning with substantive work experience. It’s better to obtain that additional degree in combination with some practical application of their studies. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement or special executive on site MBA programs that employees who are positioning themselves for promotion can take advantage of. Developing a healthy balance of education and experience is the most strategic and effective way to optimize your value to current and potential employers.

Telling all of this to your grads isn’t the easiest task, so you might want to consider hiring a coach to work with them.  Through the International Coach Federation website (http://www.coachfederation.org/) you can search for coaches in your local area that offer career services.  The investment there will be well worth your time if you properly vet the coach you choose as someone who has successfully worked with others in the same situation in the past.

Teach your grads to network.  Currently, 80% of all jobs are found as a direct result of networking and utilizing personal connections. Ask your friends who work in your grad’s field for help. You’ll be surprised at how willing these personal connections are to help a young person and how quickly a small network can expand with just a little help from family and friends.  Encourage your job seekers to make a list of companies they are interested in so you can easily see if you have contacts there that may be able to assist them.  Having a well thought out job search strategy they can execute is important.  Setting timelines for follow up and evaluating results can’t be achieved if you don’t have a list to work from.

You might also want to take a look at your grad’s online profile because future employers are looking as well.  Their Facebook page and LinkedIn profile should be clean and professional.  Encourage your grad to remove any photos that may give future employers the wrong impression of their character.  Keeping a diligent eye on their online presence is very important and can be a deal breaker.  Just last week someone in our office pointed out that a person’s wedding website noted they had yet to graduate when the resume they presented to us stated they had completed their degree. That person was due to complete it this year in December but they are looking for a job now. 

Lastly, they can always do volunteer work to obtain more experience.  Many companies and non profits need help so don’t forget to consider those channels as well.

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The Jungle Guide – Transformational Leaders

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 3, 2012 in Executive Coaching

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In the jungle, there aren’t many signs to direct you away from danger.  Beautiful plants can be poisonous, lethal fungi can sneak in and kill an entire species of trees in a short period of time, and if you lose your bearings without a compass, you only have your instincts to help you find your way out… but the right guide can help tremendously.

At lunch this week, I was discussing a particularly difficult leadership situation with a Director at a publicly traded company and we got on the topic of transformational leadership.  Anyone can take on the traits of a transformational leader and be effective in the right situations where that type of leadership is particularly successful.

According to leadership researcher Bernard Bass, Transformational Leadership occurs when a leader transforms, or changes, his or her followers in three important ways that together result in followers trusting the leader, performing behaviors that contribute to the achievement of organizational goals, and being motivated to perform at high levels:

  • Transformational leaders increase subordinates’ awareness of the importance of their tasks and the importance of performing them well.
  • Transformational leaders make subordinates aware of their needs for personal growth, development, and accomplishment.
  • Transformational leaders motivate their subordinates to work for the good of the organization rather than exclusively for their own personal gain or benefit. (1)

Let’s suppose you are a leader in an organization that, like many, has gone through extensive change due to external economic influences.  Consider that the people leading the organization are doing as much as they can to attempt to adequately predict the next quarters’ results and have worked with you to ensure you understand your responsibilities within the overall execution of the strategic plan.  You, as the leader of your group, need to steer your team to achieve the pre-established benchmarks despite the undercurrent of uncertainty.

It’s not easy.  (If it was easy, everyone would do it!)   

Realize that you are not alone and many companies and managers are in the same situation.  Leaving your job because of these circumstances may not solve the issue at hand.  Instead, think about what you can do personally to create stability within an environment of uncertainly.  It’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on around you every day and lose sight of the big picture.  No matter what interpersonal drama is happening in your office, take a moment to take stock of yourself in relation to the traits of a transformational leader.   Consider what both your subordinate team and executive team need from you and the answers will become clearer.  Remember, you can’t change other people, only how you react to them.  If you need more leadership directives from the executive team, selectively seek out the proper person to mentor you.  Those with more experience than you have just that….more experience. There is a lot to be learned from others’ experience and style.  Recognizing both positive and negative traits in others helps you mold yourself to be a better leader overall.  Make yourself transformational no matter your personal set of circumstances and find yourself to be the jungle guide your team needs.

(1)    Jones, Gareth R.; George, Jennifer M. (2011-04-26). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior (6th Edition) Pearson HE, Inc.

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The Frog – Leapfrogging Over Managers

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 16, 2011 in Executive Coaching, Lessons Learned

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Many companies have open door policies where employees may take suggestions and concerns to the top of the organization directly, essentially “leapfrogging” direct supervisors. Management, at all levels, is available with an “open door” to anyone who wishes to discuss the company or work environment.

These programs are generally greatly appreciated by both employees and managers who find the open dialogue a great source of immediate feedback and keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, though, this policy is misinterpreted (or misused) as a vehicle for people to undermine their boss’ authority because they may disagree with the decision or policy.

Following proper channels is key. If an employee is at odds with their boss or supervisor, bringing complaints immediately to a manager above that boss without following the proper channels will reflect poorly on that person’s decision making skills. Their actions may cost them both trust and respect at the level above their boss and may unintentionally limit their future potential in the company. Taking an issue to the boss’ boss without ever addressing it with your boss is not proper business etiquette. If the issue is not resolved after this point to the employee’s satisfaction, other input may be necessary.

If you are a manager and your employee is consistently going above you without directing their concerns to you first, it needs to be addressed. Start with your own boss first. Discuss your intended course of action with them and obtain their support to counsel the employee. Business/management etiquette tells us that when your subordinate approaches your supervisor about an issue you have not yet had the opportunity to address; your boss should be deferring the topic back to you first with the second course of action to schedule a meeting for all three of you to discuss the issue.

Allexperts.com had the following QA on this subject:

Question

I have several employees that continually go over my head. Quite simply because they don’t agree or like a decision I make or get the answer they want to hear. Although I have full support of my boss they keep doing it. They are not aware that I know. I actually intercepted an email that an employee sent to their customer stating to get back to them before I got back from vacation so they could go to my boss and ask for a better rate. How can I stop this behavior? Do I address it by telling the employees that if they don’t agree with me that we can see the boss together? Maybe this way they won’t want to appear like they are going to the boss all the time but somehow I feel they will just keep doing what they’ve always done.

Answer*

“If you have the full support (assumption) of your boss then sadly, your boss is part of the problem. As a proper supervisory support technique he or she should be deferring your subordinates back to you when they circumvent your authority. If there is an issue then they have the right to ask for a meeting of all minds involved where you, your boss, and the subordinate sit for a discussion and a final decision. Until your boss will actually back you in both his or her words to you and in action regarding subordinates you are going to have continued problems.

In lieu of this you need to examine the “why” for your subordinates not working under your authority. It is a matter of respect to you and you apparently do not have it so the question is why? Jealousy for your position? Do they as a group undermine you because they feel you are not up to the task of managing them? Do they conspire in other ways to undermine you? If they go around you then they simply don’t respect you or your position. They find you a weak link.

Take some time and go through the history of your position. When you accepted or were given the position were some or all of the subordinates already in place? Does your boss have a history of not backing supervisors? There are a lot of questions to ask yourself and some will give you an insight into a direction for resolution. Take the situation to your boss and settle it, but have a plan. And, know that it may get worse before it gets better. You will be tested by both sides because developed habits do not quickly change.

You will need to have a sit down with your boss. You will need to establish some ground rules for your relationship and the chain of command and you will need to have a clear line of command protocols and an agreement for consistency with your boss enforcing them. If he or she won’t then there will be little you can do but attempt to build credibility in another way to gain the respect of your subordinates.

By understanding your own mental and emotional Perspective you can also discover your own biases. This is critical because biases simply push our ego to the surface at exactly the wrong time in a negotiation or conversation. Know what biases you harbor and you can keep them in check. Ask yourself if your position as a supervisor is being taken lightly; and, if people are going to continue to go around behind your back how does your boss expect you to lead properly?

We all have many biases we don’t even consciously recognize and they can be stumbling points on a path as we are trying to focus on other priorities. Make a list because pen-to-paper creates a validation of sorts to the mind and makes irritating self discovery more acceptable. It can be humbling but it is an important phase when persuading others to a different line of thinking and then, action. Cite specific examples of when and with what or whom your subordinates have gone to your superior rather than going through you or following your directive. Look for a pattern. You did not impart your exact profession but I suggest you follow the money. If your directives are lowering their immediate profit gratification it is a key issue.

Know what it is you want from the encounter, and from your subordinates and your supervisor. Your Purpose is to pick a final outcome that is satisfactory or from a list compromise points you will settle for at the end of the negotiation. These can be agreement for additional responsibilities to include mentoring and training, financial incentives, guarantees on position within the company, advancement possibilities and prospects, accounts under your control or your involvement, and any other ideas you can think of to add to the list.

Your Organization of particulars will offer you talking points for the meeting. You will be organized and therefore appear organized and project you have thought out the situation.

The skill of Active Listening is comprised of four steps:
1. Be open-minded and willing to listen by not judging the messenger.
2. Hear Initially what is being said so we gather enough information to make solid assessments.
3. Interpret what is meant from what is said. People rarely say what they mean the first time it comes out under stress or while in conflict.
4. Act Appropriately based upon the interpretation and not just what was actually said..

You can empathize with anyone. It is a feeling of connection. How would you feel if what is happening to another was actually happening to you. Act accordingly.”

Lee Fjelstad
Vice President, Verbal Judo Institute, Inc.
Associate, Verbal Defense & Influence
http://lfjelstad.verbaljudo.com
www.VerbalJudo.info

*paragraphs were removed from the original answer for space. You can read the full answer here: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Dealing-Employees-1641/2011/4/head.htm

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