5 Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

Dealing with a bad boss

Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used!

If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might be right. A British study found that stress induced by a bad boss lowers immune response, and participants were more susceptible to a cold virus.

As with much in life, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about it. A bad boss might victimize you, but you choose whether to be a victim. Strong leaders don’t wait, they initiate. If you have a bad boss, you can decide that he or she’s not unbearable and live with your situation, fire your boss by leaving, or practice upward leadership with some boss management.

Boss management or leading upward is one of the most popular topics on our website. Recently The Globe & Mail published my column on Five Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss in their Leadership Labs section. I condensed years of writing and coaching on this topic into five steps:

  1. Strengthen your credibility and relationship
  2. Check your timing and approach
  3. Don’t wait, initiate
  4. Speak up
  5. Fire a bully boss

Click here to read the column for a brief description of each step.

A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama why he didn’t hate the Chinese Communists. Now they have some bad bosses! The Dalai Lama replied, “They have taken over Tibet, destroyed our temples, burned our sacred texts, ruined our communities, and taken away our freedom. They have taken so much. Why should I let them also take my peace of mind?”

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The Hidden Benefits of Properly Training your Staff

Many organizations today still do not understand the importance of spending the time and effort to ensure their staff is properly trained. The common reasons for the companies who do not properly train staff are either “too busy” or “can’t justify the cost”.

Although it’s true that training costs do come right off the bottom line, it’s important to understand that proper training has many unseen, yet verifiable benefits to add to the bottom line. Especially with heavy equipment operators and snow plow operators.

 

Properly trained operational staff will reduce costs such as…
• Less waste of material such as gravel, salt and sand
• Less damage to heavy equipment and property
• Reduced injuries (WSIB and insurance costs)
• Reduced maintenance costs on equipment – due to proper daily pre-inspections
• Less turnover in staff – which reduces HR costs
• Projects completed faster – due to skilled equipment operators
• Improved moral – staff feel like they have a future with the organization, so they stay on

While training in the digital learning space is gaining in popularity, ON-SITE training with a qualified Instructor is still necessary for Municipal Public Works departments, to ensure their teams gain the hands-on skills they need to operate the municipality’s heavy equipment.

There are 3 measurable cost advantages to having an Instructor come to your location to provide training on-site for your staff using your equipment…
1. You don’t have the travel costs involved with sending your staff to a training centre

2. Your staff will be trained on the actual equipment they will be operating on the job

3. The Instructors will provide the hands-on practical (in-seat) portion of the training programs for only a few employees at a time, therefore you do not have to pull your entire staff away from their regular jobs/duties all at once. The rest of your staff can continue doing their jobs/duties until they’re scheduled to be with the Instructor.

Canada Heavy Equipment College (People call us “CHEC” for short) is a professional Heavy Equipment, Snow Plow and AZ/DZ truck training organization providing ON-SITE training to Municipal Public Works departments and construction companies throughout Canada.

CHEC has seasoned Professional Heavy Equipment Instructors stationed all across Canada and can send an Instructor to any customers location to provide ON-SITE training anywhere in Canada using the customers equipment.

Learn more here, contact us via the website – or call Toll Free 1-888-934-2432

Ted Butler
Canada Heavy Equipment College

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Are You Doing it…To…For…or…With…Your Team?

Are you manipulating your team

Many studies have shown the impact that control of our situation has on our health, happiness, and effectiveness. In one experiment a white-footed deer mouse was placed in a brightly lit cage. The mouse could press a bar to alter the light. The mouse reduced the lighting to a dim level. The next morning experimenters set the lights to dim. The mouse immediately stepped up the lighting to bright. The mouse didn’t seem to care about its level of lighting. The critical issue was having control.

Another autonomy and control experiment was in a nursing home. One floor of residents were allowed to rearrange their room layout, schedule their time, and given a plant to keep and look after. Another floor or residents were told about all the good things being done for them. The staff arranged their room, scheduled their time, and gave them a plant that the nurse looked after. Eighteen months later, the residents on the floor with more control were more active and healthier than their controlled peers. Only 15 percent on the control floor died compared to 30 percent on the other floor.

Countless organizational studies show that autonomy, participation, “having some say,” and a modicum of control in the workplace are vital to employee engagement. Here are a few ways you can engage your work teams:

  • Develop a regular Listen-Feedback-Action process. This generally starts with a survey or third party interviews or focus groups. The outside company then prepares a summary report. This is reported back to everyone in the organization for feedback, clarification, priority-setting, and action planning. Broader organizational issues are identified, and actions set for implementing those changes. This is reported back to everyone and part of an ongoing process.
  • Coach team members to enrich their jobs and align their personal strengths, passions, and organizational or job needs.
  • Engage frontline service providers in a systematic process of identifying changing customer expectations against your team or organization’s performance. Get their help in analyzing trends and planning to meet those shifting needs.
  • Hold regular breakfasts (“muffins with management”), lunches, and celebration dinners with frontline teams. Take this time to ask for feedback, concerns, and suggestions. A simple question such as: “What’s the dumbest thing we do around here?” can produce powerful insights and engage people in resolving the issues raised.
  • Keep highly visible scoreboards, big thermometers (like a fundraising campaign), bulletin boards, web sites, blog/Twitter posts, newsletters, and the like to update everyone on your progress toward key goals or change and improvement targets. Make goals/targets and progress as visible as possible.
  • To get partnering behavior, treat everyone like partners. Share financial and other “confidential” information openly so everyone can see how his or her efforts contribute.
  • Ask frontline service providers what systems and processes would better help them serve your customers. Get their involvement in prioritizing the areas to be changed and improving them.
  • Send personal thank you notes (on real notepaper, not by e-mail); make detours to offer a verbal “thanks again,” and make lots of supportive phone calls.
  • Use focus groups (a cross-section of frontline staff) to test new management directions before making grand announcements to everyone. Even if you press on against the advice of the focus groups, you’ll have deeper insight on how to face the issues the new direction may raise.
  • Promote those people who are exemplary leaders. Use 360 feedback and other input from a variety of people to get a profile on their leadership effectiveness. Promotions send the clearest signals about the true culture of an organization. Are you promoting your cultural standard barriers?

Resistance to change often frustrates managers. But most of us enjoy change — especially for the better. What we resist is being changed. Effective leaders “do it with” their team or organization rather than doing it to or for them.

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The Mediocre Leader – Pt.3

The world is full of mediocre leaders, and I am one of them.

But I don’t want to be mediocre, and I don’t believe I’m condemned to a life sentence of mediocrity. Most of all, if I have any compassion on those I lead, on those subjected to my middling skills, I have to get better.

In Part 1 of this article, I talked about how odd it is that we practice our leadership skills on those we lead. Unlike other high-skill professions (surgeons, speakers, pilots, musicians, etc.) that are practiced off-line, our expectations of our leaders are apparently so low that we allow them to practice while performing.

Is an Effective Leader Simply a Well-Practiced Leader?

Before I get completely hung up on the idea that a significant quantity of deliberate practice is all that’s required to make me an awesome leader, I am forced to consider that there is much debate around Ericsson’s work. The debate doesn’t challenge the value of deliberate practice, or even the 10,000-hour marker. Rather, it suggests that inherent, non-trainable traits differentiate the best from the rest – such as height and bone structure in sports.

This debate makes sense to me, and completely I agree that effective leadership requires more than just deliberate practice. However, unlike height and bone structure, the traits that differentiate the best leaders from average leaders ARE trainable. In my experience, these differentiators are a leader’s principles – the leader’s beliefs about herself, about others, and about how things operate in world at large.

Much has been published regarding leadership principles by Ray Dalio, John Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Patrick Lencioni, Brené Brown and many others. Desiring to improve their “leadership game”, many leaders (including me) voraciously consume this literature. We learn from, and are second-hand mentored by, these strongly-principled leaders, and we slowly change our bone structure – our differentiating traits.

Principled and Practiced

But, to be effective, a leader must be both principled and practiced. And while I’m very much looking forward to my next shipment of principle-focused books from Amazon, I just can’t help but be disappointed with my lack of attention to deliberate practice.

To create opportunities for deliberate practice of leadership skills, LevellingUp was formed.  At Levelling Up, we help growing leaders quickly become exceptional leaders by connecting them with expert mentors & coaches.

Visit us at www.LevellingUp.ca

The experts you want.  The skills you need.

 

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Smiling is Contagious. Try it!

It has been a spring that many will say there was nothing to smile about. It was cold, rainy and dark. From all the rain we have beautiful green lawns and flowers starting to bloom. Again there are many people in parts of the world that are not smiling with all the rain causing flooding and destruction. I wanted to take this opportunity to write about smiling and how contagious it may be in our workplace and for our clients.

Some people are always smiling, cheerful, and they seem to brighten up a room. Their positive attitude and gusto are identified by those they come in contact with. Moreover, we have all encountered those have the opposite effect on people-the “doom and gloom effect.” we often refer to one’s attitude and yet what is that? It is your mental state or the position you take regarding life.

Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”  If you take the word “OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE,” some people see the “no where” while others see “now here.” So is the glass half empty or half full? Often the difference between success and failure is not linked to how we look, how we dress, or how much education we have; it is based on how we think!

Great leaders share the same thought; knowing that a positive attitude is contagious. As leaders, it is vital that we display a positive mindset daily. After all, if we expect our employees to express positive attitudes, we should model such behaviours for them to see.

Each day we have a choice of whether we elect to display a positive or negative attitude. Daily, we encounter negative attitudes at work and in our personal lives. If you remain positive amongst pessimism, you can be contagious.

Some times it is not that easy. I have found some tips I would like to share to help you be positive from “Attitudes are Contagious. Is Yours Worth Catching” by Patti Wanamaker.

  • Be enthusiastic – people love to be around enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious and draws others to you like a magnet.
  • Associate with positive people – if you want to stay positive, stay away from people that drag you down. Associate yourself around like-minded people.
  • Smile – smiling makes it all better. Smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are known as the feel-good hormones. It is a lot easier to adopt a positive attitude when you feel good!
  • Change your thoughts – positive thoughts lead to a positive attitude, while negative thoughts lead to an adverse reaction.
  • Stop complaining – limit your complaints. Whining and griping about anything and everything will not create a positive attitude. When you are complaining, you are spreading negativity.

·        If you want more success in your leadership role and to have a positive impact on your employees, then make sure your attitude is worth catching.

Many of you are thinking, what is there to smile about, and why maintain a positive attitude when there are doom and gloom around us? Research has shown that there are health benefits of smiling in the workplace. We are dealing with conflict, mental health issues and have difficult situations arising every day as we manage our workplace. Interestingly many years ago, it was declared that “the smile is the best medicine for the happiness of humanity.” Later scientific research explained the effects and physiological benefits of smiling for a healthier life. Smiling can be beneficial, in dealing with illness, pressures of everyday life, stress at work, and smiling can even substantially change the quality and forecasts of our lives.

Would life not be better if people smile regularly? I think smiling every day would keep you away from the doctor and feeling self-confident. Try these:

  • By smiling, we can reduce the level of stress hormones. Smiling helps us to increase the number of antibody-producing cells and improve the effectiveness of other cells.
  • Smiling is good for our general health. Smiling 100 times is equivalent to ten minutes of rowing or cycling in fifteen minutes.
  • Sometimes we just want to laugh or cry. That means you want to release all the pent feelings in your head, making you feel both physically and mentally better. So to reduce anxiety smile often, even when you are not happy. Smiling at others will, in turn, help them be happy.
  • Smiling can take you from being angry, stressed, feeling guilty, and negative to putting you in a more favourable frame of mind. Smiling will make you change yourself and improve the attitudes and thinking to other people to the better.
  • When people can view an event that may be frightening as funny, they may be able to feel more content and see the events occurred just merely as a “challenge” in life, rather than a threat.

There are times when smiling, and laughter can be contagious. If you smile more than you can make other people around you also smile more. So by smiling yourself, you can reduce the stress levels of people around you and change their moods. Maybe even improve the quality of social interaction, and reduce your stress level as well.

They say that optimists have a stronger immune system and can fight disease better than the pessimists. There is a link between a positive attitude and good health, which is measured in many different ways. In general, researchers have discovered that optimistic people are more healthy, and they have a stronger immune system.

According to the British Organization of Dental Health, a smile has the level of stimulation as eating 2000 chocolate bars.

A smile does not cost you a cent, and it is easy to spread. A recent study showed that preschool children laugh 400 times a day, but the time we reach adulthood, we just laugh an average of 17 times per day.

So take the challenge and smile more often and find things in your lives that you can laugh about.

Stay great and healthy.

 

Monika B. Jensen PhD is Principal of the Aviary Group and can be contacted by email at [email protected]

 

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The Mediocre Leader – Pt.2

The world is full of mediocre leaders, and I am one of them.

But I don’t want to be mediocre, and I don’t believe I’m condemned to a life sentence of mediocrity. Most of all, if I have any compassion on those I lead, on those subjected to my middling skills, I have to get better.

In Part 1 of this article, I talked about how odd it is that we practice our leadership skills on those we lead. Unlike other high-skill professions (surgeons, speakers, pilots, musicians, etc.) that are practiced off-line, our expectations of our leaders are apparently so low that we allow them to practice while performing.

Not all Practice is Good Practice

In his groundbreaking 1993 paper “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance”, cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson explains “many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of [deliberate] practice”.

According to Ericsson, deliberate practice includes:

“A constant sense of self-evaluation, of focusing on one’s weaknesses, rather than simply fooling around and playing to one’s strengths. Studies show that practice aimed at remedying weaknesses is a better predictor of expertise than raw number of hours; playing for fun and repeating what you already know is not necessarily the same as efficiently reaching a new level. Most of the practicing that most people do, most of the time… yields almost no effect.”

You may have heard about Daniel Letiv and Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule – that a key prerequisite to mastery in any skill domain is 10,000 hours of practice. I quote Letiv contemplating that the 10,000-hour rule “doesn’t address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do”. Not only does Ericsson answer this with “deliberate practice”, but his research also lands on the 10,000-hour figure as a pre-requisite for mastery.

If 10,000 hours (or 5 years of 8 hours of practice 5 days a week) scares the pants off you, it has been established that 10,000 hours is insufficient in the most highly competitive fields such as the Olympics. Performances that were record-setting twenty years ago are now achieved in training by many competitive athletes! Or, maybe looking at this from a more reassuring angle, in pursuits where the bar is set low (like leadership?), significantly fewer than 10,000 hours are required to become outstanding. After all, the U.S. had 1 Olympic athlete in Rio for every 583,213 Americans – as compared to 1 people manager for every 4.7 employees.

As a musician and an athlete, I willingly adopt the discipline of focusing on weaknesses, and that (as Ericsson puts it) getting better “requires effort and is not inherently enjoyable”. However, in the realm of leadership, I don’t think I’ve ever invested in any deliberate, effort-laden, not-inherently-enjoyable practice. Given that I spend WAY more time leading people than I do in athletic competition and/or music performance, I profess this lack of investment doesn’t make sense.

Sure, I’ve spent over fifteen years – or 30,000 hours – of my career in positions of formal leadership and am therefore “highly experienced”. However, I grudgingly admit most of these practice hours match Ericsson’s description of “playing for fun and repeating what you already know” and will therefore “yield almost no effect”.

 

But practice obviously isn’t the only thing that allows leaders to achieve mastery – and we will talk more about that in part three of this series.

At Levelling Up, we help growing leaders quickly become exceptional leaders by connecting them with expert mentors & coaches.

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The Power of Video: Marketing YOURSELF!

 

muniSERV knows how important it is to get your message out to municipalities and municipal employers, and this includes videos! We’re letting you upload a video to your muniSERV profile and your Candidates’ Profile on muniJOBS, which lets you showcase you, your personality and why you’re a great fit! Let’s look at some of the best ways to get you looking and sounding your best.

Use a tripod

tripod

 

Tripods are important and inexpensive! They’ll keep your camera steady and you perfectly in the frame. Shaky, poorly framed videos will always appear less professional than a nicely framed, steady profile! Tripods are cheap, little tools that manage to increase the value of your shot exponentially.

 

 

Write it out first

 

Don’t just turn on the camera and improvise! Write everything out first. Read it back, listen to yourself and listen for anything you want to change. Practice it a few times by yourself – make it sound looser, fluid and more conversational. You don’t want it to sound like you’re just reading a script. You want to sound comfortable and confident, as opposed to stiff and awkward.

 

Be in the right setting

 

desk

Videos are visual, remember! It’s not just you that’s being shown off, it’s everything around you, too. The surroundings are reflective of you, as this is a clear window who you are. Messy rooms, background noise or pets running around causing trouble in the frame can cost you big. This is a video that you have complete control over. You can always do another take if the cat comes in and knocks over a book on your desk.

 

Keep the editing simple

 

This is for professional use, not a high school art film. If your video is of just you talking to the camera, intro with a fade in from black and end with a fade to black. Steer clear of the star wipes and excessive overlay animations. If the video is shorter in length
(around two to four minutes), try to get it done in one take to avoid cutting and pasting different sections of each take, causing distracting jump cuts and removing the confidence of the viewer in your skills to present yourself in a collected manner.

Subtitles

 

In what seems like a surprising addition to the list, subtitles are becoming more and more important. According to Digiday, 85% of videos are viewed with the volume off. Beyond this, subtitles ensure that your messages are conveyed clearly to everyone, as the words are printed right there. Those who are hard of hearing have a visual, and those who might still struggle with English can be sure about the content.

Videos are incredible tools that we’re all able to use with the prevalence of cameras in our smartphones. The days of grainy, choppy webcam footage are long gone. Utilizing this tool to its fullest potential in both your professional profile on muniSERV and in your Candidate’s profile on muniJOBS can really showcase the product or service you’re trying to deliver to municipal decision-makers, and what an asset you are to a future municipal employer. It’s their chance to really get to know you before you even realize it. If you want to get your video featured in the muniSERV newsletter, email us at [email protected]

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The Mediocre Leader

The world is full of mediocre leaders, and I am one of them.

But I don’t want to be mediocre, and I don’t believe I’m condemned to a life sentence of mediocrity. Most of all, if I have any compassion on those I lead, on those subjected to my middling skills, I have to get better.

 

Practicing While Performing is Really Stupid

As a people leader, I’m not sure I have ever been asked or expected to go off-line and out-of-sight to work on my leadership skills. Sure, I’ve been “trained” in the art of people leadership/management via various courses, books, podcasts, blogs, mentors and the like. But the action plan always appears to parallel the classic Nike slogan: just do it.

Interestingly enough, we accept that many pursuits require significant time invested in off-line practice and closely monitored exercises prior to independent performance. This includes:

  • surgeons
  • pilots
  • hostage negotiators
  • public speakers
  • race car drivers
  • actors, athletes
  • artists
  • engineers
  • musicians
  • teachers
  • …and the list goes on

Consider just one example from this list. A public speaker that presents a TED Talk may have a preparation-to-performance ratio of 50:1 or more. That is, for a 10-minute talk, the speaker prepared with 8 hours of speech writing, memorizing, rehearsing and visualizing. In preparing for her TED Talk – a 20-minute Talk that has received over 21 million views – Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor rehearsed her speech over 200 times. Doing the math, she spent at least 67 hours rehearsing a 20-minute talk – on top of the time she spent writing and memorizing.

Why is it that people leadership is treated differently than other pursuits? Is it because the bar for leadership is so low? After all, the position of formal people leadership in the workplace is so common that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is 1 people manager for every 4.7 employees. And even more common is the informal leadership that nearly all of us assume throughout or lives – either in our homes, in our extracurricular pursuits, or with our friends.

In the corporate realm of formal people leadership, it is my experience that systems and processes provide so much support that most leaders need call on their leadership skills only infrequently. That is, we are actually prevented from truly leading by systems that assume our leadership skills are insufficient. And since we as leaders apparently only practice our leadership skills on those we lead, why should we create a world that expects otherwise?

In my next post, I will talk about how we ensure that our practice is effective. In the meantime, drop a comment below and let me know what you think!

At Levelling Up, we help growing leaders quickly become exceptional leaders by connecting them with expert mentors & coaches.

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The Benefits of Lean and Continuous Improvement for Municipalities

The Benefits of Lean and Continuous Improvement for Municipalities

By simplifying working practices and minimizing inefficiencies, continuous improvement (CI) techniques enable municipal organizations to save money and increase quality, without reducing the level of service offered to citizens. Leading Edge Group provide Lean training programs and improvement consultancy support, specifically designed for municipalities, empowering staff at all levels to apply Lean methodologies with immediate effect.

In our video, Lean for Municipalities expert, Callie Woodward, explores the relevance of Lean/continuous improvement for municipal organizations and the benefits that can be achieved through effective deployment.

We hope it helps with your continuous improvement planning and activities.

You can watch the video here.

Where in-depth support is required, a Lean for Municipalities expert can work with organizations to lead the effective deployment of continuous improvement strategy and tactics. Our consultancy services offer strategy, processes and tools to implement sustainable change and deliver measurable results.

We work with staff at all levels and functions of the organization, from City Managers to front-line staff. We’ve helped both large and small municipalities across Canada with their Continuous Improvement efforts.

Training options that are suitable for staff at all levels, across all functions of the municipality and training workshops for those who have a leading or strategic role to play in continuous improvement.

If you would like to discuss the benefits of Lean/CI and key success factors in more detail, please feel free to contact us using the details below.

Contact Name: John Whelton, VP North American Operations

Telephone: +1 (416) 637 5074

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.leadingedgegroup.com/

Fax: +1 (647) 748 3722

Address: 60 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 805, Toronto, ON M4T 1N5

 

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