Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness at Work

By far the most remembered sentence in the Declaration of Independence is the one that starts the second paragraph.

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Immediately after the construction of the Declaration and since, the segment which states “all Men are created equal,” has been part of hundreds of speeches, protests, boycotts and even wars. Continue reading

Developing Leaders that Operate from their Souls, not Ego

Is anything right with leadership today? I am totally overwhelmed by the number of people talking about the leadership crisis that we are currently experiencing. This is a global conversation that’s going on in both the public and private sector. The long-term forecast is it’s going to get much worse before it gets better, because of the actions that have brought us to the economic and socially responsible upheavals that cover our daily headlines.

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“I need to go get my beating,” Employee Morale is Low

Sometimes we must seek to find humor in pain. For many of us it’s the only way to maintain our mental composure.  It’s a mental protection system.  You probably can stop and picture when you have done this yourself.  We even have habitual phrases we use for situations like: “I meant to do that,” or “That’s going to leave a mark,” or “It’s not the fall but the sudden stop that hurts.” In all of those phrases you can almost see the pain. Oh, I am cringing as I write this.

Yesterday we received an email that was very funny and also reflected a lot of pain. It was obvious the sender was trying to use humor to replace the pain and salvage some sanity.  I am going to show it to you in a moment but I want to give you some context to best put it in perspective.

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Top 4 Reasons Why MBAs are the Worst Leaders

Bad Leaders or GoodHave you ever been surprised when people react to something you said or did? Have you ever said something funny (at least you thought so) only to have nobody laugh? Sure, we all have.  Well, I sure was surprised by the many comments and tweets to my post Why MBAs are the Worst Leaders. It was way more than what I expected. I suspect this post will garner even greater attention and tweets.

The response was so diverse and opinionated that I began to ask myself, is there a common thread to make sense of all of this emotional energy? Not sure if it means anything but most of the reaction was from people agreeing that employee engagement and leadership skills were poor in MBAs. Many people took the time to write first-hand stories of their experiences.   Continue reading

Why MBAs are the Worst Leaders

MBAs Make for Bad LeadersThe following is from an interview Steve Coomer had with Professor Henry Mintzberg. The excerpt below was taken from the discussion regarding what it takes to be an effective manager and why an MBA is not necessarily part of that equation.

You suggest that the dominance of the MBA as an educational standard has corrupted managerial practice. Why is that?

Well, because you have people coming out thinking they are prepared to manage, and they are not. And what is even worse you get people coming out who don’t even go into management, they go into consulting or finance. They do an end run around management and end up leaping from consulting jobs, or financial jobs, into chief executive chairs. And I think the performance of many of them is just plain dreadful. There are exceptions, but a lot of them fail terribly.

But what is it about an MBA education which you believe often makes people ill equipped to be leaders in corporations?

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You’re Not Alone in This Leadership Confusion

Many myths about leadership abound. One of those myths, in particular, steers leaders in the wrong direction. Be careful how much you embrace it.

You’ve heard this myth often, expressed in different ways:

  • “It’s lonely at the top.”
  • “The buck stops here.”
  • “Never let them see you sweat.”

What’s wrong with these aphorisms? Nothing, as long as we consume them in small doses. But swallowed whole and as our only diet, they lead us to conclude the wrong things about the nature of leadership and create confusion.

The Views on Leadership are Distorted

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How others Measure and Manage Employee Morale

Most leadership pundits talk about morale in business the same way they’d describe cotton candy at a state fair. Everybody likes it; nobody’s against it. It’s fun to have. But in essence, it’s just a sugary substance spun with a lot of hot air.

I beg to differ.

Morale has substance. It has weight. And it matters. It’s not something a leader spins from hot air; it is something that a leader can grow only over time and with unremitting attention. If you think leadership is all about “hitting the numbers,” and that soft and squishy stuff like morale is no different than cotton candy, think again.

 The late Roger Milliken, former CEO of Milliken &Co., and winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, once put it this way: Continue reading

3-Year Low for Employee Engagement yet Employers Clueless

A recent article in USA Today titled Workers eager to job hunt as morale plunges highlights the reporting of a recent study that reveals findings that employee engagement and loyalty is at a three-year low, but many employers have no clue as to the dismal state of affairs.

Employers think that employees are just as engaged and loyal as they were three years ago. The findings from the 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends conducted by MetLife shows that many employees, more than one in three Continue reading

How to Prevent Leadership Development Failures

The traditional path for Leadership Development focuses on the improvement and refinement of skills, and the understanding of models that aid in the diagnosis of which skill to apply in which situation.

This Doesn’t Work

This approach, is not proving to be beneficial for numerous reasons, including the lack of any element of measurement. Organizations continue to invest a significant amount of money and time without being sure of what benefits are being accrued. Managers are ending up overburdened by multiple, sometimes complex and conflicting, leadership models to analyze situations. Continue reading

Is Bad Leadership to Blame for Employees Poisoning Boss?

2 NC cafeteria workers accused of poison attempt March 02, 2011 

ALBEMARLE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say two North Carolina high school cafeteria employees have been arrested and accused of trying to poison their boss’ tea. The Stanly County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Angela Johnson and 64-year-old Eileen Hallamore were charged Tuesday with distributing food containing poison. Authorities say their investigation started last month after the county board of education reported a poisoning attempt at South Stanly High School in Norwood. No students were involved. Deputies have not said how the poisoning was discovered or what may have motivated the women. It was not clear if the women have attorneys. They are due in court April 25.

The Next Question You Ask Continue reading

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