No matter where in the world you are, no matter what culture you are immersed in, every organization is a system of relationships. Bill Stinnett, Ph.D., a leadership training consultant, explains that every organization’s success depends upon the quality of those relationships and whether they work or not. Stinnett has had the opportunity to teach L.E.T. (Leader Effectiveness Training) in every corner of the world, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, China, Philippines, Japan, and Trinidad, where he has seen first-hand the leadership training workshop appeal to the universals of human relationships, regardless of culture or ethnic background.
You need a new sales person to help you grow your struggling business in a devastating economy. If you don’t win some new business soon, things will get ugly.
You place an ad on monster.com, spread the work on LinkedIn and start telling everyone at your company that the person who refers the perfect candidate to you who you hire will receive a $1,000 bonus upon his or her first sale.
After interviewing ten or fifteen candidates (plus a few who expect a six-figure base, stellar bennies and a $1,000/month expense account), you settle on the one person you are convinced can do the job. He’s hungry. He’s aggressive. He’s goal-driven and if there is a dollar to be had at a company, he’ll find it. You strike a deal and firmly shake hands. Life is good.
Sep 27, 2011 – SOLANA BEACH, CA — Gordon Training International (GTI) will offer instructor training in Bulgaria for the first time in November, 2011, in Burgas, Bulgaria. Working with their new representative, Gordon Bulgaria, GTI will train a group of parenting instructors to offer Dr. Thomas Gordon’s P.E.T., Parent Effectiveness Training, program.
About Gordon Bulgaria
Gordon Training Bulgaria holds the copyright on the program TOUR (successful training of parents) in Bulgaria known as PET in the initials of the English edition Parent effectiveness Training, which in 1962 used as a learning tool for parents not only U.S. but also in a further 43 countries. The mission of the organization is to implement and disseminate educational model in Bulgaria, which aims to make human relations more democratic and mutually satisfactory and support system of this model to as many people.
Some leaders depend on a fearful work environment so they can maintain control of their team. Other leaders depend on fear simply because they don’t know of any other way to lead – they didn’t receive the proper leadership training.
W. Edwards Deming, a management consultant who made a large contribution to Japan’s post-WW II economic power, said that driving fear out of the workplace is one of the keys to a successful organization. The Gordon Model, taught in the leadership training workshop, L.E.T., gives leaders the skills to create a work environment where fear is unnecessary. It’s amazing how productive and efficient an organization can be when the team members are not working in a climate of fear.
Food metaphors are everywhere. When someone is busy, we say, “Her plate is full.” Our competitors are going to “Eat our lunch.” When we have to cut back, our boss says we have to, “Eat our peas.” If we spend too much we are told, “You have Champagne tastes.” If we complain about being passed over for a promotion, we hear, “That’s just sour grapes.” I suppose that truth lurks in metaphors and that these colorful phrases make ideas more memorable or “palatable.”
We place high expectations on our leaders. We look to them as a moral compass of what to do and how to act in all situations, both good and bad. We expect them to have all the answers and know how to react in crisis situations, often times on the spot without having the benefit of knowing all the facts on which to base a decision, or without the luxury of time to think things through. Inevitably, all leaders occasionally stumble and fail.
We all know that anyone can be a leader when everyone is getting along, expectations are being met, and when everything seems to be running smoothly. However, most leaders aren’t measured when everything is calm – they are measured by how they react under pressure in crisis situations, especially when problems occur as a result of their mistakes or poor decisions. This is the time when leaders are watched very closely by everyone with a very critical and judgmental eye.
Bill Stinnett, Ph.D. explains how Leader Effectiveness Training was first introduced to Honeywell International, a tech manufacturing company. After learning essential skills such as problem solving and conflict resolution in a small circuit board manufacturing plant, the production level rose a staggering 330% (after a 12-18 month period). What could possibly create such a positive effect on production? Was it new, more efficient technology? More experienced staff? Nope, it was effective leadership training that made some simple changes in team member’s behavior.
Nine percent and holding! Unemployment seems to be stuck at record high levels with little prospect of improving any time soon. No one seems to be able or willing to predict what will happen next. Another recession? Continued slow growth? Nothing? And what is the impact of this on our organizations? Is everyone waiting for the other guy to make the first move or are we doing what we can to be ready for a turnaround when it comes? Are our organizational leaders taking this opportunity to make needed changes and improvements in their companies so that we will be more competitive in the future? I don’t pretend to know the answers to these questions. I am certain, however, that these conditions put a lot of stress on leadership and on the workforce.
We are all in this together. That is true on a lot of levels. Despite the animosity, bellicose rhetoric, intransigence, partisanship, pettiness and lurid reporting, we know, that in certain ways, our fates are entwined. We breathe the same air, drink the same water, travel the same roads, and live on the same globe suspended in space. During difficult times, it is easy to feel defeated. “Nothing I do matters. I might as well give up.” But, like it or not, sometimes the smallest acts can have immeasurable consequences, not only for ourselves but for our families, our neighborhoods, cities, countries, and the world.
Companies know that you can have the most talented, intelligent, and experienced employees, yet they still most often lack any formal leadership and communication skills. Why is this? Many of the left-brained scientists, chemists, physicians, and programmers employed by Merck, a global healthcare company, excel with technical and analytical skills, but are hesitant when it comes to managing people – and their “messy people problems” as Dr. Bill Stinnett (L.E.T. Trainer since 1985) puts it. This is why leadership training is an invaluable—essential–component to increase the E.Q. (emotional intelligence). In leadership training such as L.E.T. (that has been taught at Merck since 1978), team members that have leadership potential learn how to effectively listen and resolve conflicts – so those people problems are not messy, but quite manageable.
Have you ever said out loud – “I wish someone would just listen to me!”? That sentiment is shared by most people in the workplace (well, everywhere!). Effectiveleadership training incorporates and focuses on the power of listening vs. “here’s what you ought to do…and so forth”. What listening does is allow the person with the problem to take ownership of the problem AND the solution. So when they walk away from the conversation, they feel good about the solution because they came up with it themselves. Think about the times you have vented about problems – how did the other person react to you and how did you feel?
Congratulations! You’ve finally made it. You’ve been promoted into a leadership position within your company and received a handsome increase in pay. On Friday afternoon, you pack a couple bankers boxes and relocate to the third office down the hall on your left. You call your spouse to share the great news. Life is good.
Oh, and one more thing – all of those people who were your coworkers up until a few hours ago will now be reporting directly to you, effective immediately.
The instant you transition from an employee to a leader, everything, yes, everything changes. You are viewed by everyone as one of “them.” The friends you once went to lunch with and laughed with will no longer interact with you the same way. People will not be quite as talkative, and will be a bit more cautious about what they say around you. For you now have the power, or at least the influence, to fire, hire, lay- off, transfer, promote or demote. Every move you make, every thing you say and every decision you make will not only be scrutinized, some of your decisions will be challenged as well.
So, the man who changed the face of technology in the world multiple times has stepped down. Steve Jobs was certainly one of the most highly regarded CEOs of all time. He was, no doubt, one of the most well known. There will be lots of speculation about how well Apple will do without him at the helm (Just can’t resist those military metaphors). But a deeper question for organizational leaders is just how much influence should the leader have on his or her organization. Is it healthy for the organization to have a dynamic leader whom everyone looks to for inspiration? For direction? For permission? For forgiveness? It is hard to argue with the success of Apple Computer. By almost every measure, they are successful. But most of us don’t have a Steve Jobs at the top. There is no question that Steve Jobs is intelligent, brilliant, maybe even a genius. But, is he a great leader? I think that question is sill pending. If Apple prospers now that he has stepped down, I say his leadership was good (despite the temper tantrums and so forth). If Apple goes into the doldrums, I think we must question his leadership. Great leaders always have as their goal the creation of an organization that will flourish without them. Dependency is the enemy of true greatness. So, can Apple survive without Steve Jobs’ “Reality Distortion Field”, his infamous ability to get people to buy into seemingly impossible ventures? No one knows. But, the broader question for the rest of us, who are not geniuses, is how much dependency is healthy or tolerable in an organization? Start-ups are often extremely leader-dependent, but as they grow it is reasonable to assume that they have a better chance of survival if they become less and less dependent on the leader for guidance. Too much dependency creates several problems for organizations:
A co-worker comes to you with a problem – what do you do? Most people would normally feel compelled to ask questions or give advice to help the other person out. In the Leader Effectiveness TrainingWorkshop we call such reactions “Communication Roadblocks” because they actually can stop the other person from fully communicating their problem and digging down to get to the root of it. For example, giving advice to someone who owns the problem can not only make them feel like they are not capable of solving their own problem, they can even be steered in the wrong direction to a solution that doesn’t fit their needs. In leadership training, the focus should be on Active Listening to the other person who owns a problem, so they can fully vent their frustrations, figure out what it is that is really bothering them, and ideally find a solution on their own.
Think back to a time when you gave someone a piece of advice where you explained what they “needed to do,” using the phrase, “If I were you, I would…”
Was your advice well received? Was the person grateful? Or, did s/he look right through you, or away from you ignoring everything you said? In either scenario, you may think you’ve done someone a favor by imparting your wisdom to solve their problem, but what you’ve unwittingly done is create a huge problem for yourself. Read on…
Let’s take the case of a colleague or employee who shares a problem with you that they own, meaning that it is their problem, which doesn’t involve you. Within a few minutes of listening to him or her explain the situation, you intuitively know exactly how to fix their problem, and because you don’t have the time to deal with what you perceive to be a small, simple issue, you tell the person what they need to do. They’re relieved and thankful. Done. It’s over. Or is it?