Three Reasons Your Employees need an Advocate

advocate“I’m passionate about people. I’ve spent my life in advocacy. People matter-whether or not we agree on the issue, people matter.” —Ann Marie Buerkle

Your people matter; they are your greatest asset. When employees don’t feel they have someone in your organization advocating for them they feel as though they are not valued. If you don’t think having an advocate for your employees, here are three reasons to rethink your attitude.

It’s hard to get a clear view from the top

It’s hard to get an understanding of what your employees are dealing with when you are sitting at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Even when you have risen through the ranks, eventually you forget what life was really like on the front line. An employee advocate can provide the reminders that you need so that you can put yourself in the shoes of your employees.

Hidden agendas

You want to believe that your management has everyone’s best interest at heart. The truth of the matter is, there are hidden agendas being pursued from every corner of your organization, even yours. An employee advocate promotes transparency in management. It makes it much harder to hide and ignore the hidden agendas that may not be in the best interests of your employees.

Demands on time and energy

You do not have the time or energy to focus on the needs of each employee on a daily basis. As a leader, your attention is spread from the biggest of pictures to the smallest of details. This makes it impossible to commit the time and energy necessary to give each employee your attention on a continual basis. The role of an employee advocate is to be the go-between between employees and management. It becomes the responsibility of the advocate to give employees a voice and to direct management attention to where it is needed the most while ensuring employees that they are being heard.

Easy to do, easy not to do

Giving your employees an advocate is easy to do but, it’s also easy not to do. It is easy to take employees for granted and to forget that they need someone who can give them a voice. While it is easy to understand how the bottom-line benefits when employees feel valued. It is also easy to dismiss the role of an advocate as an unnecessary position. Your people are the key to your success. They need someone dedicated to advocating on their behalf. Think about how hard it is to get a clear view from the top. Recognize you’re your organization is riddled with hidden agendas. And, admit that you already have enough demands on you time and energy. Giving your employees an advocate is easy to do and easy not to do. Are you ready to commit to giving your employees the advocate they need?

© 2017 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 change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen 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.

Stop Playing the Blame Game

blame“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”—Arnold H. Glasow

Mistakes happen. A big part of how you are perceived as a leader will be based on how you deal with not only your mistakes, but the mistakes of those who work for and with you. Playing the blame game is all about internal politics and saving face. Well, the results you think you are getting from playing the game may not reflect the actual impact that the game is having on your leadership.

How you think it makes you look

When you blame others for mistakes, regardless of where they were made, you think it boosts your credibility and undermines the competence of others. You think that it increases your power because, in your mind, you have everyone convinced that you are the only one who knows anything or can do anything right. The bottom line is, you think that by blaming others, it makes you look good and others look bad.

How you really look

When you play the blame game you send the clear message that you cannot be trusted. Game players will turn on anyone and everyone to make themselves look good. The truth is, it shows that you are untrustworthy, it demonstrates your lack of self-confidence, and undermines the respect others have for you. The need to point fingers guarantees that you are not a leader who inspires and influences. On the contrary, it shows that you are manipulative and self-serving; not worthy of the title of leader at all.

It’s not about you

Leadership is not about you, as the leader, looking good. It’s about you helping the people who work for you do their best work so they can look good. This is the true measure of leadership. Mistakes will happen and they must be addressed and corrected. But, they do not need to be shouted from the street corner. They also don’t need to be whispered about behind other’s backs. You do not need to have your fingers in everything just waiting for someone to make a mistake so you can pounce. If you are undermining others for your own hidden agenda, you are making it about you and you do not deserve the title of leader.

How Do You Stop?

Start by evaluating the way you operate. Are you hoarding information that employees need in order to do their jobs? If you are, this shows insecurity on your part. It is a move to keep all the power for yourself. By doing this, you are the one who is accountable for mistakes that are made due to lack of or incorrect information.

Develop the attitude that we all succeed or fail together. How can we make sure that everyone has access to the information they need? How can we insure that everyone has the training that they need? Is everyone kept in the loop so we are all on the same page?

Stop pointing fingers and definitely stop sharing information on employee performance with others. When you run to your colleagues, pointing out every mistake that is made and blaming it on someone else in an attempt to make yourself look better, you actually become the tattletale who takes no personal responsibility for the operations of your department. It makes everyone look bad including you.

Watch your approach to dealing with perceived mistakes. Stop jumping to conclusions, pointing fingers, and making accusations. Nothing makes you look worse than making assumptions and acting on those assumptions just to find out that you are the one who is mistaken. Instead, approach others by saying “I’m confused. Can we take a look at this together?” This approach leads to teamwork where you are working together to figure out what is right, what is wrong, and what needs to be done to make corrections. In this scenario, everyone comes out looking and feeling good.

Start focusing on the good. Give employees credit for a job well done. When employees do not get the credit for what they do well, they will not give you 100%. When they see that they shoulder the blame for EVERYTHING that goes wrong, they will not give you 100%. And, when you do not acknowledge your mistakes or the role you may play in the mistakes of others, you will lose the trust and respect you need to be an effective leader.

Everyone makes mistakes. The key to success as a leader is sharing the lessons learned in a way that encourages employees rather than undermining their confidence by pointing fingers. The focus should be on how you are going to move forward and correct the mistake. As a leader, it is your responsibility to guide and support others. If you are capitalizing on the mistakes of others to make yourself look more competent; more powerful; and more in control, you ARE NOT a true leader. Stop playing the blame game.

© 2017 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 change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen 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.

Keeping Your Focus When all Hell is Breaking Loose

hell-breaking-loose“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” —Dennis Waitley

We’ve all experienced it; we need to focus on an important, time sensitive task when suddenly we feel as if we had been tossed into a tornado. Fires needing our immediate attention start right and left. So, how can you keep your focus when all hell is breaking loose?

Get clear on the objective

The first step is to get clear on the objective. What specifically must be accomplished? Unless you have a clear view of the target, you will continue to wander, ever so slightly, off track until you eventually find yourself facing the entirely wrong direction.

Trim the fat

Once you get clear on what you need to do, the second step is to trim the fat. To trim the fat is to minimize the excess noise you are exposed to. This includes people, data, communication, paperwork, etc. Excess noise can distract us even when we aren’t in a crunch; when the stress is on, the distraction is amplified.

Don’t forget about you

We can only keep our nose to the grindstone for so long before we start to become inefficient and ineffective. So, step three is to not forget about you. You need to recharge. It may be a short walk or a quick cup of coffee at the corner shop but, you can’t focus in the mist of chaos without taking a moment here and there to get your thoughts together.

Move Forward

As Dennis Waitley stated, in order to move forward you must focus your energy on what to do next. So, get clear on the objective. Then trim the fat. And, last but not least, don’t forget about you. The more focused energy you can give to the task at hand, the sooner you will be available to attend to the fires burning around you.

© 2017 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 change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen 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.

Four Steps for Getting Results

results“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein

We do it all the time without even realizing it, it’s called habit and Einstein referred to it as insanity; doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So, when it really matters, how do we prevent ourselves from falling into habit? How do we get results?

Plan

The first step is planning. When we stop to make a plan we are consciously putting the brakes on habit. Planning forces us to pause and think.

Evaluate

We are not done once we have made our plan and put it into action. Now it is time to evaluate. What were we trying to accomplish? Are we succeeding or failing?

Learn

Whether our plan worked out to be a great success or turned into a huge failure, there is always something we can learn. This is the turning point! What can you learn?

Apply

Now, here is the final step, the actual key to getting results, the culmination of the other three steps. APPLY what you have learned. It’s in the continual learning and applying of those lessons that you get real results.

Get Results

Stop doing the same thing over and over again. Make a plan. Evaluate the results. Learn from both successes and failures. And then, apply what you learn. Stop the habit cycle and start getting results.

© 2017 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 change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen 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 or engagenow.me and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Stop Treating Your Employees Like Robots!

robot“I am not a robot. I have a heart and I bleed.” —Serena Williams

Robots are designed to run on a predetermined program; thoughtlessly performing tasks. Good leaders do not treat employees simply as a process or piece machinery. These leaders do not treat people simply as a means to an end. Employees are human. If you want the value of their contribution, then you need to meet a few of their wants in exchange.

They want meaning

No one wants to perform a task, day in and day out, simply for the sake of performing it. Employees want their work to have meaning. They want to understand the big picture and the role they personally play in that picture; share the meaning.

They want control

No one wants a dictator controlling their every move. Employees want a level of control over their own work. Give employees the training and resources they need, set and communicate parameters, and then let them do what you hired them to do; give them control.

They want to contribute

While people do work to earn money, money is not their only motivation. Employees want to be able to take pride in their contribution to the organization. They want to know that they are of value. Make sure they know how much they are appreciated for their specific and unique contributions.

Focus on People

Your employees are not robots, start focusing on the human side of your workforce. They want meaning, share it with them. They want control, give it to them. And, they want to contribute, appreciate them for it. It’s time to focus on your employees as people.

© 2017 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 change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen 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 or engagenow.me and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Four Reasons Your Ego is a Threat to Your Leadership

ego“I believe that we are at a very low level of consciousness, and we do not know how to treat each other as human beings. We are caught up in our own lives, our own needs, our own ego gratification.” —Madonna

There may be no greater barrier to effective leadership than ego. Left unchecked, your ego will undermine the hard work of everyone around you. It will prevent you from seeing what is right in front of your face and it will stop you from admitting your mistakes. Here are four reasons your ego is a threat to your leadership.

You don’t know everything

You don’t know everything but your ego can lead you to believe that you do. When you think you know everything, you become incapable of admitting you may be mistaken. If you can’t recognize and admit your own mistakes, your ability to lead is at risk.

You are not good at everything

You are not good at everything but your ego won’t let you admit it. When you think you are good at everything, you overlook the idea that there may be a better way to do things. If you can’t consider alternatives, your leadership is at risk.

You are not better than others

You are no better than those around you but your ego wants you to believe that you are. When you think you are better than everyone else, you sit alone in your ivory tower. When you look down at others you lose their trust. Without trust, you cannot lead.

You cannot hear what others are saying

You can’t do it all on your own but your ego can prevent you from even hearing what others have to say. When you are unwilling to listen to others you miss out on their knowledge and experience; you pass up great ideas and lose out on valuable advice. Not listening to what others are saying puts your leadership at risk.

It’s Not about You

Leadership is not about you. It is about the people you lead. Your ego is the biggest threat to your leadership. It wants you to think you know everything. It leads you to believe you are good at everything. Ego tells you that you are better than anyone else. And, it prevents you from hearing what others have to say. This is all the perfect storm for leaving you stranded, standing all alone in your own failure. Get your ego out of the way and make your leadership about those who follow you.

© 2017 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 change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen 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 or engagenow.me and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.