Thursday, June 7, 2012


Imagine the following scenario: You and I are negotiating. You own a bank, and I agree to give you some of my money. Okay? What if I give you someone else's money? It's not illegal. Is it ethical? Or how about this: We're buying goods from Bangladesh. There are people in sweatshops starving. What's a fair wage? What are the ethics in such a situation?

The study of ethics is an ancient tradition, rooted in religious, cultural, and philosolphical beliefs. However, it is obvious that not everyone agrees as to what is ethical and what is not. What causes such disagreement? Is it the complexity, dynamism, and interdependence of business? Is it because business operations are often tainted with compromise? Is it that judgment is clouded on questions of what's right and wrong, unethical or ethical? Or is it that we have ignored (or denied) the importance of values and morals for ethical decisions?

Two points need to be agreed on by leaders and followers. First, our business ethics cannot be separated from our personal ethics (or all ethics). Second, business will never be any more ethical than the people who are in business. Seem simple enough? In the long run, ethics has to stand on its own. Decisions have to be based on company values and ethics.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Emotional Moods, Part II

Daniel Goleman has set forth four key factors about emotional moods:

1. Self-Awareness. The ability to understand your own emotions, know your strengths and limitations, and have high self-esteem. Self-awareness helps to measure personal moods and understand how they affect others.

2. Self-Management. The ability to control emotions and act with honesty and integrity in consistent and adaptable manners. Self-management helps prevent temper tantrums when things don't go as planned. The occasional bad mood does not ruin the day.

3. Social Awareness. Empathy for others and intuition about organizational problems. Social awareness allows leaders to show they care and to accurately size up political forces in the organization.

4. Relationship Management. The ability to communicate clearly and convincingly, disarm conflicts, and build strong personal bonds. Relationship management helps leaders spread their enthusiasm and solve disagreements, often with kindness and good humor.

Thus, if you wish to discover the most effective leadership style, perhaps you should first look at the key role that mood plays in what you do best. Moods--good or bad--apparently matter just that much.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Emotional Moods, Part I

If leaders do not have emotional intelligence, they may not be able to develop the ability to manage personal moods and the moods of followers. For example, my mood and behavior drives the moods and behaviors of followers. If I am bad-tempered and ruthless, I could cause a meltdown and create a toxic organization. If, on the other hand, I am inspirational and inclusive, I should be able to create an organization of people able to meet any challenge.

If emotional moods are such powerful drivers in organizational life, you must ensure you are regularly optimistic and authentic and, when appropriate, demonstrate high energy. Obviously, it is difficult to be that way all the time. However, if you are upbeat, reliable, and cheerful, your actions should generate a performance-oriented organization. Such emotions are caught by others. A cheerful mood swiftly spreads among followers.

This dynamic of how moods affect people and organizations is called resonance.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Emotional Intelligence, Part II

A five-part process to rewire the brain toward more emotionally intelligent behaviors was designed by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. Their five components involve leaders asking themselves the following questions:

1. Who do I want to be?
2. Who am I now?
3. How do I get from here to there?
4. How do I make change stick?
5. Who can help me?

The answers will vary by person.

Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee also suggest that the process begins with imagining your ideal self and then coming to terms with your real self, as others experience you. The next step is creating a tactical plan to bridge the gap between ideal and real, and after that, to practice those activities. It concludes with creating a community of colleagues and family--call them change-enforcers--to keep the process alive.

The answers and actions thereafter may prevent an emotional train wreck in the office.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Emotional Intelligence, Part I

Based on research in a number of companies, Daniel Goleman has suggested that effective leaders can move among leadership styles, adopting the one that best meets the needs of the moment. He discovered that effective leaders were alike in one primary way. They all had a high degree of "emotional intelligence" (EQ). There's an IQ (intelligence quotient). Why not an EQ?

If leaders do not have emotional intelligence, their full potential may not be achieved. Goleman and fellow researchers Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee say, "The message sent by neurological, psychological, and organizational research is startling in its clarity. Emotional leadership is the spark that ignites a company's performance, creating a bonfire of success or a landscape of ashes."

Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence will develop an organizational culture of information sharing, trust, healthy risk-taking, and learning. Those with low levels of emotional intelligence will create a culture of fear and anxiety. Followers will demonstrate tension and terror because their leaders don't "feel the pain."

What's your EQ?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Faced with a Divisive Employee

Rick Boxx, President and Founder of Integrity Resource Center, describes a situation a CEO he knows had with a disruptive, divisive employee:
"A longtime employee of his had been an adequate performer in the organization for many years. As the business grew, and more interaction between him and others became necessary, however, this employee's shortcomings became obvious. He would deride other employees, stir up dissention, and even make inapprpriate remarks to--and about the business owner."
Naturally, no one wants to work with such a difficult person. Frustrations rise, morale goes down, and colleagues, customers and vendors get upset. So what do you do with such a problem person--especially if he or she is a longtime employee?
You can't ignore the person. You're going to have to intervene as quickly as possible and help get this person on the right track. If that is impossible, termination may be the only choice. To not take action is unfair to this emplyee, the employees with whom he or she works, and to the organization itself.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leaders Come in All Shapes and Forms

Leadership style is not about fashion. It is about meeting the needs of followers and organizations. The demand of the situation, requirements of people, and particular challenges being faced result in a multitude of leadership style possibilities.

Plato reminds us that the unexamined life is not worth living. If you or I spent 27 years locked away in deprivation, we would have plenty of time to examine ourselves. Nelson Mandela was such a man. He faced enough trouble for several lifetimes of examination. Yet he was able to liberate a country from violent prejudice. He united whites and blacks, oppressors and oppressed. He believed that overthrowing apartheid and creating a nonracial democratic South Africa "was not a question of principle; it was a question of tactics."

Leaders come in all shapes and forms and intellectual directions. Like Mandela, leaders have the power to change people.