Five Ways Your Passive-Aggressive Behavior is Undermining Your Leadership

No_Back_Stabbing_Swatch“I’m sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I’m not going to start wearing ties, I’m also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords.” —Linus Torvalds

According to Barrie Davenport, on her website liveboldandbloom.com, “Passive aggressive behavior can manifest in many ways but has the common feature of non-verbal negativity, resistance, and confusion. In relationships, it is a form of emotional abuse that is insidiously destructive to open and honest communication.”

Very few things make work-life worse than working for a passive-aggressive boss. The negative energy that passive-aggressive behavior creates causes distrust, disrespect, poor communication, lack of loyalty, and loss of influence. These are key factors in being able to lead effectively; so, how is your passive-aggressive behavior undermining your leadership?

Loss of trust

If you are passive-aggressive, employees will find you fake. They won’t trust to turn away from you because they know you will stab them in the back every chance you get. The worst part about this type of behavior is that, because it is all done behind employees’ backs, they will never trust you.

How can you fix it? Be real. Never say anything behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face. Show them that they can take you at your word.

Loss of respect

There is nothing to respect about a person who allows passive-aggressive behavior to play a role in their leadership. This type of behavior is cowardly. It is disrespectful to employees who deserve to know where they really stand and to be treated fairly.

How can you fix it? Be fair. Employees should know where they stand and have the opportunity to defend themselves against untrue allegations and assumptions. Show them that you have their back.

Loss of communication

When employees lose trust and respect for you, as a leader, they no longer care to hear anything you have to say; they can’t believe you anyway. They no longer care to share any information with you; you can’t be trusted not to use it against them and to not take the credit for their hard work for yourself.

How can you fix it? Be open and honest. Your words better match your actions. Employees should never hear from someone else anything that they should have heard from you. Ask for their input, give them the credit they deserve, always follow through, and be honest with feedback.

Loss of loyalty

Once you’ve lost the trust; respect; and willingness to communicate of your employees, you will definitely have lost their loyalty. They will no longer give you 100% of their effort, they will no longer work to make you look better, they will not look out for your best interest, and they will jump ship as soon as they can find a way out.

How can you fix it? Employees will be loyal to you if, and only if, they KNOW that you are loyal to them. Mutual trust, respect, and two-way communication must all be present before there will by any loyalty.

Loss of influence

At the end of the day, your ability to lead at all is based on the influence you have over employees. If you are a passive-aggressive leader, you will lose your influence. Once that is gone, you have nothing left.

How can you fix it? Influence is the catch all. You must eliminate the passive-aggressive behavior completely if you want to regain your influence. Build the trust, earn the respect, repair the communication, and prove your loyalty.

Fix It!!!!

You’ve heard it said time and time again that people do not leave jobs, they do not leave companies, they leave leaders. Passive-aggressive behavior is NEVER okay for a leader. You will lose trust, you will lose respect, you will lose loyalty, and you will lose your ability to influence. It’s time to stop being a passive-aggressive leader and fix it!

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

The Changing Work Environment Part III: Providing Choice

dilbert1“I believe happiness is a choice. Some days it is a very difficult choice.” – Steve Gleason

 

Our three part series on the changing work environment was inspired by findings in the Staples Advantage Workplace Index (http://bit.ly/1ULVQr7). Findings in the report reveal that half of workers state feeling overworked is motivating them to look for a new job, 62% say wellness programs are a selling point when looking for a new job, but only 35% actually have a wellness program at their current job, 3 out of 4 respondents say their employers don’t give them access to the latest technology to do their job efficiently. You can read more by clicking on the link and reading the full report.

In part III of our series ( In part one we talked about providing flexibility and in part two last week we discussed providing autonomy) on the changing work environment we discuss the importance of providing choice. Employees are not willing to give 100% to a job where they feel trapped. They want opportunity and they want choice.

What does it look like?

In the changing work environment, employees want to know that they have choices. In this new environment management is not dictating ‘how’ everything gets done. Employees are given the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, and then they are given the opportunity to make decisions and design how their work gets done to meet the goals of the company. In addition, they are empowered with the training and resources they need to be successful.

Why is it important?

Employees want to know that they are making a valuable contribution to something bigger than themselves; they want to feel truly invested in their work. When employees have choices, they have a sense of control which shows them that their input is valuable. It tells them they are trusted and are important.

Not long ago Glassdoor published its list of the Best Places to Work 2016 (http://bit.ly/1lN0I2p). Topping the list was Airbnb. An employee review for MindBody (#14) in the Glassdoor article writes, “It’s a culture of happiness! I’ve never been in such a positive environment. Management encourages you not only professionally, but in personal aspects of life too. So thankful to work for such an amazing company!” That sounds to us like a company that understands the value of their employees and wants them to succeed.

How do we do it?

Providing choice requires management to let go of the control they have clung to in the past. Old habits can be hard to break; here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace providing choice.

Accountability – The ebb and flow of an organization that provides flexibility, autonomy, and choice hinges on accountability. Regardless of what the organizational structure looks like or how teams are assembled it all comes down to mutual accountability if it is going to succeed.

Collaborate – In this changing work environment collaboration may take on a new look as well. Your box approach to thinking may now look more like a circle that makes room for more people, new ideas, and greater potential. If your workplace environment changes so too must the way you work with others also change.

Train – John Maxwell said, “The people’s capacity to achieve is determined by their leader’s ability to empower.” This is so true in the changing work environment. Training is essential not just for your success today but how you will look and operate five years from now and beyond.

Inspire – What your people need to see as they embrace a new work environment is greater ownership, greater opportunity for growth, and more control over their future. Inspire your people to the possibilities before them and remind them of it often.

Opportunity – The changing workplace environment can be frightening for people who have no voice in the direction they are going or have not bought-in to the vision. If one’s opportunity is not clear to them they will be the last to embrace change. Be vocal, be clear, and be out front with the opportunities that exist and for the ones they will create.

Now – The time for creating this new workplace environment is now. And we would like to remind you of what we advised in part one of this series. Take baby steps and tackle one or two small changes that you can implement right away. Be intentional about your changes and make them gradually. Include your people when charting the course. But get started!

© 2016 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist, and author. He is a contributor for The Las Vegas Tribune, Executive Secretary Magazine, Realizing Leadership magazine, and  The Daniel Island News to name a few. Read more at: DougDickerson.WordPress.com

Liz Stincelli is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. She holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Liz by visiting her website: http://www.stincelliadvisors.com

The Changing Work Environment Part II: Providing Autonomy

Cubes - 267 - AUTONOMYThe way you delegate is that first you have to hire people that you really have confidence in. You won’t truly let those people feel a sense of autonomy if you don’t have confidence in them.” – Robert Pozen

In part II of our series on the changing work environment we tackle the topic of autonomy. Gone are the days when employees were willing to show up at the factory, follow orders being dictated by management, collect a paycheck, and then do it all again tomorrow. Employees aren’t mindless machines and they don’t want to be treated as such.

What does it look like?

In the changing work environment, employees are demanding more autonomy. In this new environment, employees have control over how their own work tasks get accomplished. They are trusted and encouraged to make decisions and to act in the best interest of the organization without being micromanaged.

Why is it important?

Providing autonomy shows employees that you have confidence in their judgment and ability. This inspires employees to take ownership of their work. When employees have control over their own work they are more satisfied, they take pride in the contribution, and they become loyally invested in the success of their team, department, and organization.

How do we do it?

Many management teams struggle to let go of the control they have become accustomed to for all of these years. Old ways and mindsets can be hard to overcome. Here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace autonomy.

Acknowledge the challenge of autonomy. It is critical here to understand the difference between the autonomy of the work while remaining true to the mission and vision of the organization. The two are not in competition but, when done right, are a compliment to one another.

Coalesce around the best ideas for autonomy. The mistake leaders make is believing that their idea of how it looks should prevail. But, as one company leader explained it, “The one who sweeps the floor picks the broom.” How autonomy looks in your organization should be determined by those closest to the work.

Tweak along the way. Ideas that look good on paper may not play out well in reality. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board as you flesh out what is and is not working for you. There is no “one size fits all” approach for how autonomy works. The key here is to be flexible and be willing to make adjustments as needed.

Invest in their success. Greater autonomy in the workplace is reinforced by leaders who have the backs of their people by empowering them and setting them up for success. Invest in your people. Put the tools and resources in their hands they need to succeed. The greater the investment, the greater the autonomy. Be generous.

Ownership is a requirement. Embracing the autonomous workplace is great. But now comes the buy-in that makes it all work. Ownership, like loyalty, is a two-way street. In this model ownership is shared, trust is mutual, expectations are clear, and outcomes are measured. It’s an “all-in” attitude that if not fully subscribed to will derail all efforts of a truly autonomous workplace. Without ownership there is no autonomy.

Next Step – In order to attract and retain the best talent, your organization must offer a level of autonomy. You must provide your employees with the training and resources they need to be successful and then you must step aside and allow them to do their jobs. Show them that you have confidence in them. But, you can’t stop here. Once you have acknowledged the attitudes that are holding you back; have intentionally created a workplace culture; shown employees that you trust them; have identified incremental changes you can make; and observed the impact of those changes, it’s time to take the next step.

Be on the lookout next week for part III of The Changing Work Environment Series: Providing Choice.

© 2016 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist, and author. He is a contributor for The Las Vegas Tribune, Executive Secretary Magazine, Realizing Leadership magazine, and  The Daniel Island News to name a few. Read more at: DougDickerson.WordPress.com

Liz Stincelli is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. She holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Liz by visiting her website: http://www.stincelliadvisors.com

The Changing Work Environment Part I: Providing Flexibility

Flexibility 1“To make flexibility work, it is not only necessary to change our attitude about who is a good worker and who is not, but we have to train managers at all levels to recognize the difference between the number of hours worked and the quality of work produced.” – Madeleine M. Kunin

Recent findings in the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index (http://bit.ly/1ULVQr7) reveal exciting and challenging trends in the modern workplace. The changing work environment sees fewer employees working standardized hours. Technology now allows employees to work from any location. The global economy requires the ability to conduct business on a non-standardized schedule.

That the workplace is changing comes as no surprise to those paying attention. Preparing for it can be a challenge. It is in this context we begin a three part series that explores this topic in hopes of raising awareness and starting a conversation about solutions.

What does it look like?

While this is not a new concept for many organizations it is nonetheless an approach whose time has come and it deserves a second look. In the changing work environment employees are encouraged to work, within reason, a schedule that works for them. The emphasis is more on task accomplishment than on hours in the office.

The shift toward this approach, like any new idea or concept, begins with the leadership of the organization. New attitudes must be embraced if new ways of competing in the global economy is going to work for you. In short- flexibility must give way to adaptability which in turn gives way to greater productivity.

Why is it important?

A good workforce is the foundation of every successful business. It’s no longer about work-life balance. Employees want work to fit seamlessly into their personal lives. If you want to attract and keep high performing employees, you are going to have to provide the flexibility they desire.

The Staples Index revealed that burnout and employee engagement is a major concern among employees. When asked what would help turn that around the number one response was workplace flexibility. While we embrace a strong work ethic and productivity, perhaps organizations would be better served not by employees who are burned out but by employees who are empowered and inspired by greater flexibility and control over their schedules.

How do we do it?

What if we change the way we look at employees, from working for us as an employee, to working with us more like an independent contractor?

In many organizations righting the course can take time. Old ways and mindsets can be hard to overcome. Here are six ACTION steps to help you think through your current operations and to embrace flexibility.

Acknowledge – It’s time to bring your team together and acknowledge attitudes and mindsets that are holding you back. It’s time to take an honest look at what is and is not working. It’s time to quit clinging to traditions and think about the future.

Create – The flexibility you desire and production goals you set are the ones you create with intentionality. What will your future look like? What will employee engagement in your workplace culture look like? It looks like what you create!

Trust– Show your employees that you know that you have hired the right people for the right positions. Let them see through your actions that you trust them to operate in the best interest of the organization without the need for micromanagement. Give them the resources they need and then let them do their job.

Identify– Identify one or two small changes that you can implement right away to signal that the desire for flexibility is being recognized. Regardless of how big or small, just do it. Baby steps are acceptable. Now, identify one or two “old ways” of doing things and let them go. Identifying change and creating change can be done, and is best done incrementally.

Observe – How are employees responding to the incremental changes you are implementing? How is your culture being impacted? What should your next step be? Ask employees for their input; involve them in the development of the plan going forward.

Next Step – Offering flexibility is a great starting point for attracting the best talent and staying agile in the changing work environment. But, you can’t stop here. Once you have acknowledged the attitudes that are holding you back; have intentionally created a workplace culture; shown employees that you trust them; have identified incremental changes you can make; and observed the impact of those changes, it’s time to take the next step.

Be on the lookout next week for part II of The Changing Work Environment Series: Providing Autonomy.

© 2016 Doug Dickerson and Liz Stincelli

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist, and author. He is a contributor for The Las Vegas Tribune, Executive Secretary Magazine, Realizing Leadership magazine, and  The Daniel Island News to name a few. Read more at: DougDickerson.WordPress.com

Liz Stincelli is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. She holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Liz by visiting her website: http://www.stincelliadvisors.com

What Happens When You Don’t Listen?

telephone“The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.” —James Cash Penney

We hear leadership experts incessantly harping on the importance of communication to effective leadership. But, is it going in one ear and out the other? There are two parts to communication. One, of course, being the sharing of information and emotions with others. The second being truly listening when others are sharing thoughts, ideas, feelings, and information. For some reason, the listening side of communication seems to be the hardest. So, what happens when you don’t listen?

Lack of empathy

When you don’t listen it’s impossible to have empathy. How can you determine how you would feel if you were in another’s shoes if you don’t listen to their details and emotions? Listening allows you to find points of connection with others on a deeper level; it allows you to empathize with their lived experiences.

Lack of understanding

When you don’t listen you miss out on gaining understanding. There is something you can learn from everyone you interact with but, you’re going to have to start listening. You never know, they might have insights to offer that you can’t see; you won’t know unless you listen.

Lack of appreciation

When you don’t listen others feel unappreciated. There is nothing that shows that you value someone more than truly listening to them. Listen without ulterior motives, without a prepared response, and without judgment shows true appreciation for who they are and what they have to share.

Lack of respect

When you don’t listen you show a blatant lack of respect. Turning a deaf ear sends the message that you think you know more than they do, that you see no value in what they may have to share, and that you don’t have enough respect for them to hear them out. Truly listening is an easy way to show respect for others and to earn their respect in return.

Start Listening

Communication is vital component in successful leadership. The importance of the listening side of the communication equation is often minimized because it is so easy to do, yet so easy not to do. When you don’t listen, it makes it impossible to empathize with others. You may also miss out on important information and insights. Listening shows others that you appreciate and value them. It is also a sign of respect. Maybe it’s time for you to start listening.

What step will you take today to show someone that you are truly listening?

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Plugging In

plug

I am not an ‘unplug’ person. I like being plugged in.” —Rachel Sklar

As a leader, how much of your time is spent on autopilot? You may have the title, you may even have the big corner office but, if you are leading in autopilot mode, you are no leader. So, how do snap out of the autopilot habit? You have to start plugging in as a leader. Here are four questions that you need to answer, not just when hiring, not once a year, not even once a week but, every single day.

Who are they?

You need to really plug into your employees. Not just on a professional level, but on a personal level. Who are they? What is their family like? What are their hobbies? This doesn’t mean you become your employees’ best friend. What it does mean is that you get to know them, show interest in them as individuals, and show that you care about them and their lives.

What do they know?

You need to plug into your employees’ knowledge. Each of your employees brings with them a specific set of skills and a unique collection of experiences. What do they know? When you know what your employees bring to the table, you know how they can best benefit the organization and, you also know how you can best benefit them.

What do they want?

You need to plug into what your employees want. What are their goals? What are they passionate about? When you know what they want, not only can you earn their trust and loyalty by helping them achieve their goals, you are in a better position to motivate and inspire them. When you help your employees achieve the things they want, you give them meaning and the satisfaction of being part of something important.

What do they need?

You need to plug into the needs of your employees. Employees are more effective, more productive, and more dedicated when their needs are met in the workplace. Do they need additional training? Are they lacking necessary resources? What type of work environment do they need in order to give their best effort? When you meet the needs of your employees, their performance will rise to a whole new level.

Plug In

You can’t lead effectively if you go through your day operating on autopilot. Break the autopilot cycle by plugging in. Who are your employees? What do they know? What do they want? What do they need? These are the questions that you need to answer on a daily basis. When you know the answers, you can truly start leading.

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

It’s a New Work Environment: How do You Get Results?

work environ“It used to be presumed that if you weren’t at your desk working, you weren’t working, but we said ‘Why can’t we make a workplace where casual meetings are as important as working at your desk?’ Sometimes that’s where your better creative work happens.” —David Chipperfield

The days of command and control leadership are gone. So are the days of slaving away in a factory for your entire life until retirement. The Millennial generation finds the old way of doing business stifling. Employees are becoming more agile and connected than ever; they want flexibility and autonomy. So, how do you get the results you need to be successful in this new work environment?

Be observant

As a leader, you must keep a finger on the pulse of your work environment. The best way to do this is actual, first person observation. Not observation from some corner office, but out on the floor, in the middle of operations observation. When you are out on the floor you get to know your employees, their wants, and their needs. When you really know what’s going on, you can make the needed adjustments to keep things running smoothly.

Share information

Gone are the days of employees being satisfied with only being provided the information that management deems pertinent to their particular tasks. This generation has grown up being bombarded with information; they want access to all to the data and then to be allowed to sort through it on their own. Start sharing the ‘big picture’ information. Where is the company going? How is it going to get there? What is the market like? What kind of changes can they expect to see? The more informed your employees are the better contribution they can make.

Ask questions

There is no better way to learn what is working, what is not, what people want, what people need, and what people know than by asking. You may actually be surprised at the new knowledge you may gain and the new opportunities that might be brought to your attention if only you were to ask the right questions. I’m not talking about closed door meetings with trusted advisors. Again, I’m talking about out on the floor, employees at every level questioning.

Follow up

If you ask the question and you get an answer, you better make sure you follow up. Lack of follow up sends the message that you have no respect for the needs, wants, or input of your employees. More than ever, it’s important that your employees know they are being heard. When you not only ask the questions, but truly listen to the answers and then follow up, employees will learn to trust you. And, they only really follow those they trust.

Be flexible

A rigid work environment is no longer appealing. Why do you care? Because unless you provide an appealing work environment you will lose your best talent and be unable to attract the caliber of talent needed to compete with organizations where flexibility is embraced. This doesn’t mean you need to allow employees to run helter-skelter; it just means that you allow them to make adjustments so that their work and personal lives can become more integrated.

It’s a New Environment

It’s a new work environment. What worked in the past will not attract and keep good employees in the future. The way you lead is going to have to change. Become observant. Start sharing information. Ask questions. Make sure you follow up. And, learn to be flexible.

This new workforce has a lot to offer. Make sure that you provide the right environment so they are offering it to you and not your competition.

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.