top of page

644 items found for ""

  • Trust Withheld; Micromanagement Unveiled

    Micromanagement and lack of trust are cries often heard in today’s business arenas. In this age of accountability, downsizing, larger spans of control, complex global competition, and job uncertainty, all managers are faced with getting results through people. Managers preach empowerment and yet, if the results are not right, who gets the blame? And so, I think, the issue of trust resembles a crystal with four facets. The first facet has to do with that term “empowerment”. Too often management throws out the term without clarifying what are the limits or parameters in which employees may make critical decisions. When boundaries are not clear employees naturally think the manager is sending mixed messages. When employees feel micromanaged, they’re basically saying, “Stop looking over my shoulder I can do this. Stop checking upon me. Why must I report in every step of the way?” Good question. Why? Clarify for yourself first, and then with the employee, what is the performance outcome you need. The more quantifiable, the better. Note the word “outcome”. This is not the same as “do it MY way”. As long as you get the outcomes and results keep the team and ethics intact, who cares HOW they got the job done. Ask yourself what are your “twitching” points. That’s my term for those areas in which you have special sensitivity, where you get a knot in you stomach or the hairs stand on the back of your neck. The sensitivity might be caused by demands which your manager has placed on you. Share these demands and then find out how your colleagues can help you meet them. You might have other “twitching points”. For example, I value relationships. Form letters, bored telephone voices, disregard for returning phone calls, and impoliteness drive me crazy. These are all things which I think show a lack of concern for the relationship. If I micromanage in these areas, it could be that I have not either trained my support staff well, have hired wrong, or have failed to explicitly state my sensitivity. Another facet of trust has to do with authenticity. “At the core of becoming a leader is the need to connect one’s voice with one’s touch,” wrote Max Dupree, former chair of Herman Miller. Is what you say and what you do in line? I am constantly amazed at the systems, practices, and behaviors found in corporate America which send mixed messages. the manager who claimed he had an “open door policy” but greeted anyone who entered with the statement “and this better not be a dumb question.” the company which touted itself as “innovative” and yet used a one-size-fits-all budget scheme for its diverse operations. the vice president who sent around articles on TQM but refused to allow employees to go for training. the executive who wanted her managers to learn leadership, communication, problem-solving, team-building, and visioning in a two-day training because “learning is important.” the vice president who sent around articles on TQM but refused to allow his employees off the job to attend TQM training. And the list goes on. Never, I’m convinced, intentional. And always detrimental. The third facet of trust has to do with fear. Of what are you afraid? What is your worst fear and what’s the chance of it really happening? Are there checkpoints or fail safe measures which you and your employees could put into place to short-circuit a negative outcome? And once done, relax and enjoy. As Mark Twain said, “I’ve had 103 catastrophes in my life, only two of which actually occurred.” The fourth facet of trust rests in self-reliance. We all have heard the dictum that a strength overused becomes a weakness. Perhaps our life’s experience has taught us that we depend solely by our own wits and wiles. Too many people have let us down. Or perhaps we take great pride in Frank Sinatra’s mantra “I did it my way”. Our world is too complicated and interdependent to live solely by our singular guts and brain power. We need the insights and ideas of others. Too much now lies out of our control and coronaries await for those who attempt to do it all. In the final analysis, trust is also a four-letter word; love. When people know we care about them, they respond in kind. Easy to say. Harder to do. Practice in action is the only key and trust blooms as a result. © The Resiliency Group.  All rights reserved. You may reprint this article so long as it remains intact with the byline and if all links are made live. Since 1980, professional speaker and Hall of Fame member Eileen McDargh has helped Fortune 100 companies as well as individuals create connections that count and conversations that matter. Her latest book is Gifts from the Mountain-Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities.  Find out more about this compelling and effective professional speaker and join her free newsletter by visiting

  • Female Combat Marine Leans In for Women

    Talk about “leaning in”. Imagine doing two combat tours in Iraq, being promoted because of “meritorious combat service”, being nominated three times as “Enlisted Woman of the Year" and then facing sexual harassment from a senior enlisted advisor. I encountered Jenna Lombardo through her story posted on Sheryl Sandberg’s LEAN IN site. Given the current details of increased sexual harassment and assaults on women within the military, I wanted to find out more about this amazing woman. Over coffee at a local Pain du Monde, this gorgeous woman spoke about how she realized there were few other women she could turn to for advice and support. Today, as a former Marine, mother, a Marine wife, student and philanthropist her response has been to create a support group called Lady Leatherneck. Through Lady Leatherneck, her goal is to bring a community of military women together through shared experiences, to counsel, and to mentor and inspire one another. In my next blog, I have asked Jenna for advice on how to handle sexual harassment.

  • Promote Resilience With Adaptability Skills

    Security rests in adaptability. Our current uncertain times can either freeze us from action, or create a space where we strengthen our ability to adapt. Remember, survival is based on "requisite variety". That's a fancy biological term that basically means the organism that has the greatest number of responses to a situation has the greater chance of surviving. Watts Wacker, a noted futurist, offers things we can do to gain more options for ourselves: Learn to be a better listener. You don't learn when you are talking. Read a trade magazine from a different industry. Find two things in every issue that relate to your business. Let your kids tutor you in a subject they know more about than you do. Volunteer, and see the world through a different window. Read what has stood the test of time. Read Aristotle, Shakespeare, Adam Smith. Reading the great books helps frame your thinking.

  • Stop Selling. Start Serving

    John is like many sales folks. He's clever, competent, competitive and VERY hungry. In fact, looking at his bank account, he's begun to feel some panic when he sees that his services aren't being retained at the normal clip. Face it, John is scared. The desperation comes out in conversation. "I've just got to book some business. I'm making tons of cold calls a day. I think I've lost my edge. Why aren't people hiring me?" The answer: because John is TRYING to sell. He's focusing on himself and his need. And the self-service inevitably comes out. What's John to do? (1) Stop cold calling. It's only feeding his feelings of rejection. The negative spiral just sends him deeper into deeper pit. (2) Go back to his files and look for clients with whom he had a great rapport and did good work. Read the files and then visualize the relationship he had with them. (3) Call these past clients but not to sell. Instead, it's time to let them talk about their current state of affairs, how they are doing, and just catch up. If there's a way John can help them, great. But that's NOT the object of the call. John's call is strictly to be of service with no personal agenda. That's it. Results? John finds himself relaxing into his natural state of being. His finds that's clients are delighted to hear from him. One or two begin talking about new ways they might use his service. He makes a few appointments. This is not a fairy tale. It happened to a wonderful sales colleague whom I coached. She discovered that when she let go of her needs, her internal well began to fill up with fresh ideas, renewed relationships, and possibilities for work driven by the clients and not by her. Serving beats selling many days.

  • Happy Employees Abound in a Denver Airport Setting

    It started at the rental car turn-in location. My friend is a "platinum" with Hertz - a great benefit I discovered when the rental agencies are a considerable distance from the terminal. Our driver grinned as she slide into the driver's seat and said she could hardly wait for school to begin. Turns out she's a school bus driver and with her seniority, she gets to pick her route. Her passion: autistic children. "I just love 'em," she grinned. "I get them again this year." Fascinating. Sincere. And difficult. We stopped to grab a bite of lunch before long flights. The waitress excitedly nodded when we ordered the cashew chicken sandwich. "It's our new menu. We just got it yesterday. That's a great choice!" She grinned and gave us a two-thumbs up signal. I don't know about you, but I rarely get service help excited by a menu. It was as if SHE personally made the sandwich. Fascinating. Sincere. And standing on your feet all day - difficult. At an adjacent Frontier airlines gate, I asked where was my plane and how come no rep was at the gate. "Listen," she laughed, "it's also my gate. I can do amazing things. Watch how quick I get this plane loaded. I'll do the same for yours. You'll see." I did. I's almost 6pm on a Sunday night and folks are cranky and tired. Not my gate attendant. True to her word, she efficiently started the process AND took time to actually read every boarding pass and call the passenger my name. She patted my arm when I went through. "See, Eileen. Told you I could do this." Fascinating. Sincere. And the job of a gate agent is difficult - very difficult. My seat mate was a young man, a rotating guidance counselor for grades 6-12 in the Costa Mesa, CA school district. "There aren't many men in my line of work - and particularly men of color," he remarked offhandedly. "DO you like what you do?" I asked. His eyes opened wide and he offered a wide smile. "I love it. I really feel like I am making a difference. So many of these kids have no one to talk to-- no one to model the right behavior." He proceeded to tell me a series of stories that would break your heart. "I'™s when they come back after they leave school that is most rewarding. You just never know if what you say today will suddenly click in years later." Fascinating. Sincere. And difficult - very VERY difficult. In each instance, the joy came from how each connected with another human being. It was the CONNECTION that made the most. Not the money. Not the title. The eyes staring at each other. The hands reaching out to help. Fascinating. Sincere. And maybe - with deliberate intent we could try it. Might NOT be all that difficult.

  • Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

    Is it my imagination or has service gone the way of the dodo bird, tax breaks for small cars, and an 8-hour workday? Here's my proof: Within one 24 hour period, I thought I had landed on a strange planet, spoke no English, and furthermore, was penalized for wanted to (gasp!) spend money with a business. First - there's the voice mail roulette. How many times have we slammed down a phone in dismay because not ONE option was what we wanted? But this call was even more absurd. The scenario: the digital avatar's voice saying, "Let me get some information first." You know you're in for a bad time when you say "no", and the digital sweetie says, "I'm sorry. I do not understand that word." It was one of my choices, for Pete's sake! How many different languages does it take to say NO!!!! Second deal breaker: I keep trying to get an operator. I press "o". "I'm sorry," says the avatar. "That is not an option." I start screaming "operator". "I'm sorry," says the avatar. "That is not an option." Don't ask me how I finally broke through to a human but when I did, I was informed that the response which would have gotten me immediately to a human was "agent." Now gang, I was not calling the airlines - though it is hard to believe. It was a phone company. Since when do they have "agents"? Final straw: I am now trying to get an 800 number. Another digital voice says, "I'm sorry. Our office hours are from 8 - 5:00pm EST. Please call back." Excuuuuuuuse me.! That means that those of us in the other time zones are non-customers. So, this is going to make "the competitive edge" really simple. Answer your phone. And if you can do it right away - get back within a 24 hour or less period. LISTEN to people when they call. Return every phone call. And make yourself available when the customer needs you. (Heck - on the West Coast, I take calls at 6:00am. I'm not a hero - but it IS 9:00am in Boston.) Simple. Doable. And not rocket science.

  • Service Stars in Doctor's Office

    Dr. Howard Conn in Irvine, CA is a brilliant ophthalmologist and specialist in cosmetic laser surgery for the face. I went to see him for eyelid surgery. Sure I am thrilled with the results, but even more thrilled by his attention to service and truth. How many doctors would spend a FREE one-hour consultation and talk you OUT of an expensive procedure because it wasn't in your best interest? How many doctors would call you to check in and see how you are doing? How many doctors would give you their home number and cell number "in case of questions?" I only know one who does that: Dr. Howard Conn. This past week, I went to see him again. My appointment was for 2:30. Immediately at 2:30, he stepped into the waiting room and said that a procedure had just come up and he'd be delayed about 30-40 minutes. He could tell that I didn't have that kind of time. Instantly, he invited me back into an examining room and asked why I had come. I pulled out photos from a recent gathering and pointed-now--to my under-eyelid bags. Yes, he's helped the drooping upper lids, but what about this? He gently explained that I had no fat under my eyes and a very expressive face. "You'd not like the results in a few years," he explained. "Just keep smiling." He then wrote out a prescription for eye drops to help with the start of an inflammation I pointed out and wished me well. "No charge," he said. "See, there's always something good even if you didn't get the answer you wanted." I grinned at him, saggy bags and all. Now that's service and truth. And you, my clients, readers and friends, will just have to like me as I am :)

  • Who Was George Elton Mayo?

    George Elton Mayo (1880-1949) worked for the Hawthorne Works of General Electric Company. He managed human behavior experiments between 1924 and 1927 and is widely considered to be the creator of the human relations movement. Mayo reached certain conclusions and has been widely quoted and published. He discovered: That work is a group activity. The social world of the adult is primarily patterned about work activity. The need for recognition, security and sense of belonging is more important in determining workers' morale and productivity than the physical conditions under which he works. A complaint is not necessarily an objective recital of facts; it is commonly a symptom manifesting disturbance of an individual's status position. The worker is a person whose attitudes and effectiveness are conditioned by social demands from both inside and outside the work plant. Informal groups within the work plant exercise strong social controls over the work habits and attitudes of the individual worker. The change from an established society in the home to an adaptive society in the work plant resulting from the use of new techniques tends continually to disrupt the social organization of a work plant and industry generally. Group collaboration does not occur by accident; it must be planned and developed. If group collaboration is achieved the human relations within a work plant may reach a cohesion which resists the disrupting effects of adaptive society. Although you may not agree with all of his conclusions you can clearly see a pattern of importance regarding communication. Communications and teamwork greatly enhances work satisfaction and employee retention. If you would like to know how to increase effective communications in your workplace consider reading my book Talk A'int Cheap...It's Priceless. If you would like to purchase books for all of your employees call me at 949-637-4233.

bottom of page