Bosses Who Need the Most Help

I’m going to guess you’re a good boss.

How do I know this?

You’re reading this post.

And, more than likely, you’ve read my book, you follow my blog, and you listen to my podcast.

Like me, you probably regularly consume a steady diet of podcasts, audiobooks, and traditional books on business and leadership.

You’re a good leader because you’re humble and hungry.

You know you can always get better. There is always something new to learn.

You use that mindset with employees as well. You are humble when you are around them and you listen with the intent to learn – both how to be a better leader and to have a more successful organization.

Good leaders stay humble and hungry. They are always learning.

Good leaders stay humble and hungry. They are always learning. Click To Tweet

Bad bosses, on the other hand, think they know everything already. And they lack the humility and self-awareness to realize how bad they are as a leader.

The problem is – how do we reach these bosses when they are less likely to seek out new information?

Bad bosses lack the humility and self-awareness to realize how bad they are. They are less likely to seek out new information. Click To Tweet

It makes me think of the bible verse Luke 5:31 that says, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”

So, how do we reach those bosses who need a “doctor?”

Let me suggest four ways:

Share leadership articles. If you see a good leadership article or blog post, send it to those that need to hear the message. Add a simple note like, “I thought this was interesting.” That’s all you really need to say. Let the reader figure it out on their own.

Share podcast episodes. If you hear an episode that really resonates with you and you think it would help another boss, send it their way. It’s easy to text an episode to someone that needs to hear it.

Share the books you are reading. After you finish a good book, lend it out to those that need to read it or send them a link to an audiobook you liked.

Follow up regularly. Find out what they thought about the information you shared. Check-in with them. Did they read it? What did they think? Let them know what you thought of it.

I want to see a world with better bosses and the only way we can do that is for good leaders to help all other bosses get better. We owe it to 70% of corporate employees who are currently working for a bad boss.

Another simple idea is to buy multiple copies of a good leadership book and give them away to those that need it. Many authors offer a bulk discount.

I have the watch book

Did you know you I offer a bulk discount on I Have the Watch? Enter the discount code BULK25 at checkout to get 25% off 5 or more books on my website.

I’m happy if you share my bookarticles, and podcast with those that need it but I’m also happy if you just share any good leadership content.

Reach out to me on Twitter and let me know some other ways we can help build a world with better bosses.

Don’t Let an Arsonist Burn your Company Down

You’ve probably heard this leadership quote before:

“If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time”

This comes from Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

While most leaders understand this basic principle, they forget about another.

There are some employees who don’t care about rowing – they just want to drill holes in the bottom of your boat.

Yes, I know it’s hard to believe but…there are certain toxic personality types who thrive on chaos.

There are certain toxic personality types who thrive on chaos. Click To Tweet

Pete Havel, author of The Arsonist in the Office, calls them arsonists.

Who are office arsonists?

According to Havel, “An arsonist is somebody who has a little bit of power that has the ability to use that power against the organization.”

These are people who are wired differently than everybody else.

Arsonists in the traditional sense are motivated by finances, ego, desire for attention, adrenaline rushes, hero complexes, or revenge.  Arsonists in organizations operate under the exact same motivations.

So, how do you deal with these toxic employees?

The same way we dealt with a fire on a submarine.

Let me explain.

fire on a submarine is one of the most dangerous things that can happen.

Smoke can quickly fill compartments and asphyxiate sailors. The heat and flames can spread to weapons, volatile materials, and critical systems creating catastrophic damage.

A fire can quickly destroy a submarine if not extinguished immediately.

That’s why we were trained to ignore our natural instincts to move away from the fire and, instead, run towards the fire to put it out as quickly as possible.

In the same way, you can’t ignore a toxic employee.

You can’t turn a blind eye and hope the problem gets better.

You need to confront the issue and deal with the toxic employee before they get out of control.

You need to deal with toxic employees before they get out of control. Click To Tweet

Because just like a fire on a submarine, a single toxic employee can destroy your culture and your organization.

Don’t believe me?

Listen to my interview with Pete and you will hear a cautionary tale of his experience in a company that let a toxic employee run wild.

It didn’t end well for him or the company he worked for.

So, if you really want to lead your company well, get everyone rowing in the same direction AND deal swiftly with those employees who are trying to drill a hole in your boat.

Deep Leadership PodcastI talk about this issue in a lot more detail on the latest episode of the Deep Leadership podcast.

 

 

 

P.S. If you like this leadership concept and you want to learn more, get a copy of my latest book – I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following. It’s filled with 23 practical ideas like this on how you can become a more effective leader.

leadership book

Why It’s a Bad Idea to Run a Ship Aground

You probably know I was a Naval Officer early in my career.

Well, did you know the Navy has a zero-tolerance policy for running a ship aground?

That’s the funny thing about the Navy. They want their billion-dollar warships operating in liquids, not solids. If there’s a collision, usually the Officer of the Deck AND the Captain both lose their jobs.

And get this. Even if the Captain wasn’t standing watch at the time, he or she is still liable.

You’re probably thinking, how is that fair?

How is it fair that the Captain, who isn’t even driving the boat or giving orders at the time, can still be liable if something bad happens?

Well, the answer deals with how the Navy views responsibility.

In the Navy, the Captain is fully responsible for everything that happens onboard. If the ship runs aground, ultimately, it’s the Captain’s fault for not training the crew and supervising them properly.

This is how the Navy viewed responsibility.

As a Naval Officer, we were always taught that you can delegate authority but you can never delegate responsibility.

You can delegate authority but you can never delegate responsibility. Click To Tweet

What does that mean?

It means, you can give people under your command the authority to get something done but if anything goes wrong, the leader is ultimately responsible for everything that happens on their watch.

They are responsible for everything that happens under their command – good or bad.

If a ship runs aground, the Captain will have to answer for it.

Because of this reason, U.S. Navy Captains take the job of training and developing their crews very seriously.

They require competent teams because they are literally staking their career on it.

So, let’s contrast this with Corporate America.

In most companies, I see the opposite behavior. I see bosses who regularly delegate responsibility but they keep all the authority to themselves.

I see bosses who regularly delegate responsibility but they keep all the authority to themselves. Click To Tweet

Employees aren’t given the authority to get things done but they are still held accountable for the results. If anything goes wrong, it’s usually the employee who takes all the blame.

…and the boss never faces any consequences.

You’re probably shaking your head in agreement right now. I’m sure you’ve seen this behavior as well. Bad bosses tend to delegate responsibility but not authority.

And this is incredibly frustrating for employees.

When authority and responsibility are not in balance, employees are left discouraged and disillusioned.

So, think about your organization.

How are you dealing with these two important aspects of leadership?

Are you using the Navy model where you delegate authority but not responsibility?

Or, are you following the Corporate America model where you delegate responsibility but not authority?

How you manage these two leadership aspects is the difference between engaged employees who love their jobs or those who are frustrated and are looking to leave.

I talk about this issue in a lot more detail on the latest episode of the Deep Leadership podcast.

Deep Leadership Podcast

 

P.S. If you like this leadership concept and you want to learn more, get a copy of my latest book – I Have the Watch: Becoming a Leader Worth Following. It’s filled with 23 practical ideas like this on how you can become a more effective leader.

leadership book