Are You Pulling Others Up or Pushing Them Down?

pulling“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.” —Booker T. Washington

The saddest thing about business and success is the internal political games that some people are willing to play in order to get themselves ahead. There are two different ways of getting to the top and they both look very different and have different impacts on your ability to lead. You can get to the top by pulling others up; serving them, inspiring them, and encouraging them. Or, you can get to the top by pushing others down in an attempt to make yourself look better and eliminate any competition. When you pull others up you serve in a hero role; you earn trust, respect, and loyalty. When you push others down you become the enemy; losing all trust, respect, and influence. Here are three questions to help you determine if you are pulling or pushing.

What is your attitude?

Do you see others as being capable and willing to do the task at hand? If you have the attitude that you are the only one capable of doing things right, I guarantee you are pushing others down. Recognizing the strengths that others bring to the table and giving them the opportunity and support to use those strengths is the trademark of a leader who is pulling others up.

Do you have the influence?

Do you inspire others? Do they trust and respect you? Without these things you do not have influence. If you do not have influence you cannot lead effectively. You gain the ability to inspire others and you earn their trust and respect by being a leader who reaches out and helps them along. If you continually push others down, you may have the false illusion that you have influence, but your employees know different.

Are you willing to make the investment?

If you are unwilling to invest your time and resources into building others up, then you are selfishly pushing them down. I’m sure you had a mentor at some point in your career, someone who you looked up to, someone who was willing to invest their time and energy into showing you the ropes and helping you grow. These are the true leaders. When you are unwilling to mentor others, you appear to have a hidden agenda. Employees will feel that you are withholding pertinent information in an attempt to make yourself look better.

Pull Others Up

Whether you are pulling others up or pushing them down, it will be reflected in your attitude, your ability to influence, and your willingness to invest in others. True leadership is about pulling others up, making them look good, and helping them to become the best they can be. This is the type of leadership that actually makes you, as the leader, look good. When you are pushing others down as you climb your way to the top, you are really showing everyone that you are not actual leadership material at all. Leadership is not about you so reach down and start pulling others up!

 

 

© 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.

 

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Top 3 Mistakes Most Managers Make

heather-guest Guest Post by: Heather R. Younger, J.D. CCXP

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility. Peter F. Drucker

In my role, I often meet with employee focus groups and leaders of organizations. While on one side I am privy to what employees think of their manager’s effectiveness, I also see first-hand some of the key mistakes that block managers’ ability to be their best. Below are the top five mistakes I see managers make in their role as manager.

I have to focus on getting work done.

I do live in the real world where organizations exist to make money and profits. To this extent, I understand that managers have to meet their own deadlines. They have to get work done.

Having said that, most managers focus too much of their effort on tasks and not on the people who help perform the tasks. These are the same people who can make or break the customer experience and the bottom line.

I challenge managers to schedule in a sliver of time every week to sit with each team member. Having meaningful conversations with team members will actually drive improved performance.

We believe in this so much that we created a Meaningful Conversations tip sheet for managers.Click Here if you need direction.

I see what you are doing, but don’t have time to recognize you.

This is a big one!

I don’t think I need to be academic about this concept, because we all crave more consistent recognition. It is such an important driver of employee engagement that Gallup research still lists it as one of the top reasons employees remain with or leave an organization.

If you are a manager, how often do you recognize your team members? Remember, know how your team member likes to receive recognition. Some just don’t like big parties and balloons. Many just prefer a “thank you.”

Be sure to use their name and be as specific as possible about the reason for the recognition. This way, they know what types of behaviors drive positive praise from you.

In order to have long-lasting effects, you want to recognize team members every seven days. I don’t mean you have to give them a party or even give them a ribbon. Keep it simple. If you go too long before praising them, they will forget that positive feeling and that affects performance.

How did you feel the last time your manager recognized you?

Give that same feeling to your team members often!

I need to tell you what you are doing wrong and don’t have time to care about how that sounds.

Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it?”

Managers are in a unique position to be able to use their authority for the betterment of others, or to use it to make others feel awful for their shortcomings or mistakes.

I would caution managers from jumping too quickly to find their team members’ mistakes. If you notice that any one team member’s performance, behavior or attitude is below your standards, sit with them to find out what might be going on to cause such a change.

Let them know that you are concerned about this decline. Offer to provide clear guidance to help them get back on track. They need to know that you are not always judging them. Choose your words carefully in order to avoid creating this perception.

They need to know that you are on their side and will fight for them if they put in the hard work.

The good news?

Managers can control whether or not they make these mistakes and how often they choose to do so. While the power and authority rests on the manager to drive their team forward, the more important thing to remember is to use that power for the good of the team. I know that these mistakes can create a lot of frustration. What other mistakes do you think many managers make? Ideas on how to stop them?

Senior Consultant and Trainer

Heather is a leadership strategist and employee engagement consultant, trainer, coach and speaker with proven expertise in building Voice of the Employee cultures and acting as catalyst for employee-driven cultural & process improvements. Heather is a frequent author on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform, a blog contributor for Huffington Post and a member and Certified Customer Experience Professional with the Customer Experience Professional’s Association.

Heather truly believes that the fastest way to create employee engagement and loyalty is to transform organizational culture into an environment focused on breaking down silos, aligning around a common purpose, empowering employees to do their best work and reinvigorating leaders to take ownership in their role in creating all of it.

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.

Are You Creating Supportive Partnerships with Your Employees?

DSC04777“It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.” —Fred Allen

 

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

We can accomplish nothing notable alone. We need, as Fred Allen states in the quote above, to form mutually supportive partnerships. This applies both to our personal and our professional lives. In your organization, as the leader, these partnerships must start with you. You must create an environment where support can thrive. You must show your team that you have trust in their abilities and encourage them to develop trust in each other. You must build strong relationships inspire relationship building in others. You must focus on being of service and teaching others to also be of service.

Culture matters

In order to create supportive partnerships, you must establish a firm foundation that is embedded in the very culture of the organization. This culture must encourage and nourish mutually support partnerships at every level of the organization. Employees must know that they are part of a larger vision, that they matter, and that supporting each other is the secret to success.

Trust your team

Trust is a necessary component of supportive partnerships. One of the best ways you can show your support is to make sure everyone knows that you trust your team. When employees see that you have trust in team members, it gives them confidence in each other and allows them to learn to trust both you and their colleagues.

Build relationships

You can only create supportive partnerships if you truly know those who you should be supporting. You must build relationships with your employees on both a personal and a professional level. In turn, they must understand the importance and benefits of building strong relationships with each other.

Be of service

In order to create supportive partnerships, as a leader, you must set the example for your employees of the importance of being of service. You must provide for the needs of employees and serve as a coach, mentor, and cheerleader. Make sure they have access to the resources that they need. And, provide them with ample opportunity to be of service to others in the organization.

Nurture Supportive Partnerships

We are dependent on others for our individual success and the success of the whole. As the leader, you set the example. Entrench supportive partnerships into the culture of your organization. Develop a web of trust throughout your organization. Encourage the building of strong relationships. Be of service and offer opportunities for employees to serve others. When you, as a leader, nurture the creation of supportive partnerships within your organization you set everyone up for success.

© 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.

How Do You Build a Great Organization?

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“The distance between number one and number two is always a constant. If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself and the organization gets pulled up with you. That is a big lesson. I cannot just expect the organization to improve if I don’t improve myself and lift the organization, because that distance is a constant.” —Indra Nooyi

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Building a great organization is about leadership. And, leadership is about you. As Indra Nooyi tells us in the above quote,” If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself…” So, where should you start?

Get clear on your values

Building a great organization requires leaders and employees to embody shared values. Before you can build a culture on shared values, you better get clear on your values as a leader. What’s important to you? Why does it matter? Once you have identified the values that you are truly committed to, you can start developing a culture around those values and building a great organization.

Get your ego in check

If you want to build a great organization, get your ego in check. Leadership is not about your personal glory. It’s about achieving shared success. So, stop taking all the credit and start empowering and recognizing your employees and their contributions instead. When your employees know that their efforts are recognized and appreciated, they will give 110% towards making your organization great. So, stop thinking it’s all about you and make sure your employees know that it’s about them.

Ask the right questions

If you want a great organization you must start asking the right questions. You don’t have all the answers; you need to tap into the knowledge and experience of your employees. You must build trusting relationships where they feel comfortable giving you honest answers. A company of ‘yes’ men will never reach greatness. If you don’t ask the question, what might you miss? Your employees are your greatest asset. Make sure you are asking for their input.

Build your perseverance muscles

To build a great organization you, as a leader, must build your perseverance muscles. You must learn hang on tight while you struggle to find solutions to overcoming the obstacles you will inevitably encounter. Building a great organization requires the relentless, sustained, and passionate pursuit of long-term goals. There will be frustration, confusion, and some failures. But, you must keep the big picture in mind. Remember that there are always several paths to reaching the same goal so remain flexible and persevere even when times get tough.

Become part of an extraordinary team

Building a great organization requires you, as a leader, to become part of an extraordinary team. You can’t do it alone, and you can’t do it by surrounding yourself with those who are content to be average. Create an extraordinary team. Surround yourself with those who are smarter and more talented than you. Don’t feel threatened; feel excited about the limitless possibilities.

It Starts with You

What separates a great organization from an average one? It all starts with you. Get clear on your values, check your ego at the door, start asking the right questions, build your perseverance muscles, and create an extraordinary team to surround yourself with. Focus on how you can improve yourself and you will pull your organization up with you.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO 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.

Four Ways to Overthrow the Status Quo

pumpkin-cage“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.” —Niccolo Machiavelli

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

No one ever succeeded by simply maintaining the status quo. The key to success is to constantly be growing, be changing, and be improving. In order to do these things, you must learn to not only question, but as Niccolo Machiavelli stated, overthrow the status quo. Here are four things you can do to get started.

New questions

One of the most obvious ways to overthrow the status quo is to start asking new questions. Ask questions about yourself, about your team, about your processes, about your goals, about the marketplace, and about your competition. Asking new questions helps keep you from falling into unproductive habits. Ask questions of others; encourage honest answers. Ask about plans and projects. Ask about the organization. Why do we do things this way? Does it work? Is there a better approach?

New people

You must understand that your own biases drive the way you view situations and the decisions that you make. To overthrow the status quo, try surrounding yourself with new people, the right people who can help you see through your biases. Build new relationships and get other people involved. Build yourself a team of subject matter experts and then learn to rely on their expert advice.

New information

You can’t know everything. To overthrow the status quo, embrace curiosity and learning as part of your daily routine. Seek out new and valuable information, not just what you want to hear or information that substantiates what you already believe. Evaluate your failures and mistakes. What can you learn from them? What new information do they provide you with?

New point-of-view

The world we work in is changing at breakneck speeds. In order to remain competitive, you must learn to look at situations from a new point-of-view. You must learn how to have a perspective that is fluid and flexible. A fixed position will no longer serve anyone’s best interest. Use a new vantage point to help overthrow the status quo.

Overthrow the Status Quo

Don’t default to the status quo; it won’t address the challenges to success that you will face. Use new questions, people, information, and points-of-view to reexamine situation, goals, processes, and ways of thinking. It’s a new world, one in which the environment you are operating in is changing fast. If you want to keep up, overthrow the status quo.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO 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.

Four Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way

DSC09374-B“You’ve gotta find a way to get out of your own way, so you can progress in life.” —Steve Carlton

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

How much would you benefit from becoming more self-aware of the behaviors that cause you to stand in your own way? Would your focus change? Could you learn to be more curious, agile, proactive, and prepared to overcome challenges? Here are four ways to get out of your own way so you can thrive.

Let go of your ego and pride

First, you must let go of your ego. Your ego and pride will alienate those you need on your side; no one succeeds alone. They will taint your perception of reality. And, they will bias your decisions.

Challenge the status quo

The status quo is the enemy of progress. Once you have set aside your ego, you must challenge the status quo. Get comfortable with the idea of change, develop a positive attitude, and stop settling for the status quo.

Learn from your mistakes and failures

One of the keys to success is to continually learn; and, one of the best ways to learn is from your mistakes and failures. Now that you have removed the status quo barrier to progress, you need to pull together all of the lessons learned from your past mistakes. Admit vulnerability, recognize where your opportunities lie, and get comfortable with failure.

Recognize your weaknesses

Once you have thought through your past mistakes and recognize the lessons you have learned, you must recognize and admit your weaknesses. Again, no one succeeds alone; who will you need to help you accomplish your goals? Surround yourself with the right people and engage others in contributing to mutual success.

What Are You Waiting For?

So, how long are you going to stand in your own way? Let go of your ego, challenge the status quo, learn from your mistakes, and recognize your weaknesses. Get out of your own way so you can thrive.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO 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.