STRESS & Good Leaders Model Well-being Practices #TakeTimeOff

“Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout” by Rich Fernandez, Harvard Business Review, 1/21/16.

… Model and encourage well-being practices.

Worker stress levels are rising, with over half of the global workforce (53%) reporting that they are closer to burnout than they were just five years ago, according to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 business people across 100 countries. And while stress can be contagious, the converse is also true: when any member of a team experiences well-being, the effect seems to spread across the entire team. According to a recent Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams over six three-month periods, individual team members who reported experiencing well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who also reported thriving six months later. Takeaway: understand and prioritize activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team. They could include such things as offering personal development tools, like mindfulness and resilience training; explicitly encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; or building buffer time into deliverables calendars so that people can work flexibly and at a manageable pace.

Allow time to disconnect outside of work.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, workers around the world spend 34 to 48 hours at work each week on average, and many engage in work or related activities after business hours. McKinsey Quarterlysuggests that “always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.” And one of the most significant findings in employee pulse surveys that I’ve seen in companies large and small is that employees have an exceptionally hard time disconnecting from work…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/01/help-your-team-manage-stress-anxiety-and-burnout

STO LEADERSHIP & My Answers to Questions About 3-STRand Leaders: Strategic, Tactical & Relational

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 9/25/15.

I have written extensively on the importance of team building with complimentary leaders, including creating a questionnaire to help you find your leadership mix.  Called STO Leadership (Strategic, Tactical and Relational [previously I designated operational] Leaders) a student asked important deeper questions about it. Below are my answers which help expand (with his good questions) the importance of understanding Strategic-Tactical-Relational leadership.

Here are the questions from the student, with my answers embedded in them.

Student:  Do tactical leaders have to have equal or exceeding competency as the relational leaders they are leading in the given subject?  (I would lean toward, ‘no’)

Whitesel:  Tactical leaders are good at analysis, usually more than content. Thus, they enjoy balancing either bank statements or cultural/evangelical mandates.  Therefore, analysis trumps content, so no they do not have to have exceeding (or even equal competency) in a given subject with the leaders they are leading.

Student: I have a suspicion that strategic leaders are also not the best at developing new leaders.  Just last night someone on my board said, “we need to disciple these people, how are we going to do it?”  I just drew a blank.  She was right, but I didn’t know what to say.  Not because I didn’t want to do it – I just can’t figure the process.

Whitesel: Right, the process often is beyond the strategic leader’s skills. That is why strategic leaders need tactical leaders as their closest partners.

Student: I have attempted to employ some of these things (like holding volunteers accountable) and it blew up in a huge way.  The people may not have thought me ‘wrong’ but they did think me ‘mean.’  In a family church structure – peace is more important than production.

Whitesel: Strategic leaders are not good at holding people accountable (neither are tactical leaders).  For example, a strategic leader on a board may say, “Joe and Mary aren’t around much anymore and they seem dissatisfied.  I think we should ask them to resign from the administrative board if they are not going to support our mission.” The tactical leader on the board replies, “They haven’t given money in a month, and I’ve noticed they’ve been absence four out of the past five Sundays.”  As a result the board votes to ask for Joe and Mary’s resignation.  What is happening is that a relational leader is missing, to be the go-between between the S and T leaders and the volunteers.

Student: This read helps me put people like Nouwen into perspective.  I have a hunch, and I may be completely wrong, that he is a strategic leader.  When I read his writings it seems he has a difficult time prescribing process and practicality.  Wonderful matters and paints a beautiful picture of the Christian in his book “In the Name of Jesus” – but what really does he want people to do?

Whitesel: Exactly, at a conference I was listening to a very strategic thinker-author one day and another one the next.  Their speeches are largely one “catch phrase” after another.  I don’t think many pastors were getting ideas that would help back home.

Student: To verify what Whitesel shared about a strong focus on strategic leadership to the neglect of tactical, I checked out the DVD’s to the 2007 leadership summit put on by Hybels and gang.  The messages from 2007 include the following:  “Vision to Die For,” “Strategy and Leadership,” “Living for the Greater Good,” “Building Humanity,” and “Whatever You Do, Inspire Me.”  These are all strategy/vision appealing messages.  I think those that are more tactical oriented are just not popular by attendees, and they are presented by speakers who are brought back perennially.  I know I have left feeling more inspired than equipped.

Whitesel:  You summarized it well, “more inspired than equipped.”  😉

STO 3-STRand STRand #ThinkTankOH

TEAMWORK & When to Give Feedback in a Group and When to Do It One-on-One

… Give feedback in a team setting when:

  • One or more team members are experiencing negative consequences caused by other team members.
  • Team members are the source of the feedback.
  • The issue involves most of the team.

… Give feedback one-on-one when:

  • Other team members are not being affected by the behavior and have no information to provide.
  • You want to help the team member prepare for receiving team feedback or coach the team member after receiving feedback from other team members.

… Underlying this approach is the principle that team members are accountable for giving feedback directly to those with whom they are interdependent. Apart from team members doing their own work, this is the most basic form of team accountability. Leaders are continually exhorting their employees to work as a team and to be accountable to the team. But, if you always provide the feedback, you take away the opportunity for your direct reports to develop this essential skill, and you undermine the accountability required to function as a team.

If you’re thinking that it makes sense to give feedback on team issues in a team setting, but you’re concerned that your team doesn’t have the skills to do this, you’re not alone. Many leaders share this concern. You can begin changing this by talking with your team about how you expect team members to be accountable to each other — not just to you or the larger organization. If you share your expectations for your direct reports, agree on how you’ll work together, and give your team the skills to meet the agreed-upon expectation, you’ll find that problems get addressed sooner, fewer issues land on your own desk, and your team becomes a more productive, cohesive unit.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2015/08/when-to-give-feedback-in-a-group-and-when-to-do-it-one-on-one

LEADERSHIP & 6 Things Real Leaders Don’t Do (Like Boss People Around) #ForbesMagazine

by Lynn Ryan, Forbes Magazine, 10/8/15.

People get hired or promoted into leadership roles every day. Sadly, when they get the job they may get little or no training on how to lead a team…

No one tells them “The trick to leadership is to have people want to do a good job — not to please you, but for themselves!” The greatest power source on earth is a team of people who are energized around a common goal…

Real Leaders Don’t Boss People Around

What kinds of obstacles could slow people down and frustrate them? Bureaucratic processes are a big problem in many if not most organizations.

A good manager is willing to take on stupid processes and get rid of them, or soften them or figure out a way to work around them so his or her team can keep winning…

Real Leaders Don’t Bark Out Orders

Real leaders don’t bark out orders. They may have a goal in mind, and when they do they’ll say “Jane, you’re the expert. If we can get that pricing model completed this month we’ll be able to launch it at the sales meeting next month.

“Does that sound like something we can do? What do you need from me to make it easy for you to reach that goal?”…

Real Leaders Don’t Second-Guess Their Team Members

…Often the reason that people pad the dates on their schedules is that they’ve learned through harsh experience that when they honestly say “I can have that done by Friday” a poor manager will say “Then get it to me by Wednesday.”

If you don’t trust your teammates, that means you don’t trust yourself to hire trustworthy people. That’s your problem, not theirs!

Real Leaders Don’t Blame Their Employees When Something Goes Wrong

… It is easy and tempting to diagnose an employee with all sorts of problems and to characterize him or her as lazy or careless, but you hired Jack. You trained him. Until you take responsibility for Jack’s difficulties, you’ll stay frustrated and you won’t learn a thing.

Real Leaders Don’t Bring the Hammer Down Right Away

Real leaders don’t turn to disciplinary measures at the first sign of trouble. They ask questions, thoughtfully and compassionately, instead. They look for gaps in an employee’s understanding of his or her job….

Read more at … http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2015/08/08/six-things-real-leaders-dont-do-like-boss-people-around/

TEAMWORK & How Great Leaders Build Loyalty

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/aj-agrawal/how-great-leaders-build-loyalty.html

CONFLICT & How to Break Through Deadlock on Your Team

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “Each member of your team has Assumptions, Interests and Relevant information (AIR) which you must understand before getting them to ‘jointly find a solution.’ Assumptions are preconceived notions. Interests are what they want to personally get out of the solution. And relevant information is their knowledge that they don’t want you to ignore. Asking yourself what is the AIR of each person (write it down!) and jointly developing a solution is the key according to this Harvard Business Review research.”

Read more at … http://s.hbr.org/1JUgaUC

DIRECT REPORTS & The Breaking Point is 10-12 Direct Reports

by Lighthouse: A Blog About Leadership & Management, 7/4/15.

The breaking point: 10-12 direct reports

We’ve had managers of all levels of experience and team size use Lighthouse to help them manage and motivate their teams and the common pattern we’ve seen is managers struggle most with more than 10-12 reports. It’s at 10-12 people that the complexity and demands become too great for even a well-trained, experienced manager. Just look at the diagram above and how a team growing from 6 to 10 people causes the lines of communication to grow from 15 to 45 (and 66 by employee #12!). But don’t take my word for it, here’s what some experts have said:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, has a “2 Pizza Rule” which really translates to ~8 people, since a pizza is normally cut into 8 slices and 2 slices per person is a reasonable amount.

Michael Lopp, author of Rands in Repose, uses the formula 7 +/- 3, which crucially takes into account how much time you could be committed to in 1 on 1s with everyone on your team.

Tomas Tunguz, VC at RedPoint Ventures deep dives into the concept from many sources to conclude “roughly 7″ and explores how “Span of Control” and “Span of Responsibility” impact it.

The consensus appears to be that double digit team sizes are generally a sign of trouble for a manager. So what do you do? Start developing leaders on your team.

Read more at … http://getlighthouse.stfi.re/blog/developing-leaders-team-grows-big/?sf=eyvzx