The Dreaded Rejection

We all hate being rejected, but at one time or another (or many times) we will be faced with rejection in our personal and professional lives.  Recently, I had the experience of having to let people know they were not selected for a position on my team, which completed changed my perspective of rejection.

Remember that feeling after an interview, waiting and wondering if you’d receive that call or if you’d simply be forgotten as if the interview never even happened?  Always that hopeful (and nervous) feeling when the companies’ number actually pops up on the screen, but when the person on the other end gives the bad news those feelings quickly turn to disappointment. Continue reading

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Are Disciplinary Write-Ups Really Effective?

Something happened recently that really made me evaluate my values as a leader and how I view the relationship between job performance and disciplinary action.  While I believe there are cases where disciplinary action is necessary (e.g. stealing, violence, etc.), I question the validity of using disciplinary write-ups as a way to address poor job performance.  In fact, it reminds me of being back in second grade where teachers used to give you demerits for talking while they’re talking or not raising your hand before calling out the answer.

So do write-ups actually improve job performance?  Maybe temporarily because employees fear they
will lose their job, but are the effects long-term?  Continue reading

Personal Change – On Becoming a Leader

With my vendor transition going live on Monday, I look ahead to my next endeavor.  Though my work in project management is not finished, I will be helping out with a different kind of change over the next six months. As we work to stabilize the final team transitioned over to our organization, I have agreed to help as the team lead.  This represents a change for me as well as the team as I help lead this organizational change.

Prior to the decision to make this change, the team was disjointed.  People were unsure of who they were supposed to report to and had no real support system in place.  I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with this team in providing the necessary support, but also bringing them back together as a team. Continue reading

Communicate Change

When I think back to changes I have seen and led in organizations, what really made a difference to me in terms of success or failure is effective communication.  This may seem like a given, but the power of effective communication is often overlooked in the overall plan for change.  Far too often I have heard about changes well before they were formally announced.  Leaders need to be proactive in communicating change rather than trying to put out fires caused by rumors and fear.

Why is effective communication so important?  It’s simple, because change is scary.  Continue reading

Dean’s Disease: Infected with Power

Arthur G. Bedeian’s article, “The Dean’s Disease: How the Darker Side of Power Manifests Itself in the Office of the Dean,” provides an analysis of how College Dean’s can (and often do) lose themselves to power.  Although Bedeian alludes to the different situation that Dean’s face from other leaders, the disease described in this article is generalizeable to any new leader and the effects that power can have on them.

Bedeian states that there are three reasons Dean’s Disease occurs: doppelgangers, strategic praise, and a taste for power.  Basically, Dean’s (and I would argue any new leader) is faced with people who want to please them for personal gain.  This includes being surrounded by yes-men, flattery, and the desire to preserve power.  People at the top want to keep their power by surrounding themselves with people who will agree with them and praise them, people below want to gain that power by being agreeable. This is not a phenomenon that only college Deans experience, but most, if not all, hierarchical organizations operate like this.

As Bedeian points out though, there are ways to resist this power-driven disease.  Leaders should be accessible to their employees rather than creating that divide between “us” (those in power) and “them” (those not in power).  In addition, Leaders should establish and adhere to values such as, honesty, and integrity.  Most importantly, Leaders should surround themselves with people who are not afraid to challenge their ideas.  Contention is good…it keeps everyone on their toes, including Leaders.  When people stop questioning assumptions/ideas, things can become stale and creativity is lost. 

Thus, while power that comes with being on top may be exciting and overwhelming, if Leaders let that power consume them they will find their success shortlived.  I personally would rather be an effective Leader as opposed to a powerful one.