Leaders Have Choices

Our most recent post explained that climate controls 20 to 30% of profitability, and that leaders control 50 to 70% of climate. The better the climate, the better the profit. As a coach, you can help leaders leverage that connection. Let’s talk about how. Basically, leaders have choices about how they lead, which in turn influences climate, though they may not realize it without your help. Many people get promoted to leadership positions because they are great students of their technical or business area, not necessarily of leadership. When they are thrust into leading, they do what comes naturally to them, typically modeling leaders they have known in their own lives, including parents, teachers, and previous bosses. As a result, they develop a default leadership style and apply it regardless of the situation they face. Directive leaders tend to be directive even when it isn’t called for. Democratic leaders tend…

Coaching for Profitability

Does coaching ultimately increase profits for the organization? Research on that question is tricky. There are many, many factors that determine whether a company makes a profit. Some are under the company’s control, and others are not. That said, research cited in Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee) presents some compelling information that suggests that coaching can have a major impact on profit. The authors reported that an organization’s emotional climate determines 20 to 30% of its profitability, i.e., companies with emotionally unpleasant climates make less money than companies with emotionally positive climates. That’s huge, given that many factors which influence profitability are outside of a company’s control. Such factors include macro-economic conditions, the actions of competitors, supply chain issues, pandemics, and so forth. But company leaders can directly impact their organization’s climate. In fact, Goleman et al found that leadership…

Organizational Co-Dependency

Sheri was a smart, ambitious, and energetic executive. She had lifted herself up through many of the barriers that arise in all growing careers, and through many of the barriers  unique to women leaders. How? First, she had the requisite talents and competencies. She brought as much to the table as anyone. Wise superiors and mentors recognized her value and leveraged it. it was win/win. Second, Sheri maintained a can-do attitude. She never said no. It was a great asset. But it almost killed her, and it almost killed her career. She, like most of her colleagues, both male and female, had not recognized how the nature of organizations elicits co-dependent behavior. What is Co-Dependency? The term co-dependency comes from the field of addiction. As professionals were gaining an understanding of the nature of addiction, they came to recognize that people who loved the addict often unwittingly contributed to the…

A Career in Danger

Here’s a fictional but realistic story that illustrates what coaching for EQ can look like. Jim knew marketing like nobody’s business. Not only did he have a natural flair, he worked hard to master his craft. Promotions followed achievements like night follows day. But the promotion that nearly did him in was the one that gave him a staff to supervise. His company made a classic mistake, i.e., believing that because Jim was technically skilled, he must be competent to supervise others in his area. Sadly for Jim, the skills required to create killer marketing programs are not the skills required to elicit creativity, cooperation, and dedication from others. Jim had never held a leadership position. With no training to guide him, he did what came naturally. For him that was to use a pacesetter style, an unfortunate choice. Pacesetters demand that everyone perform at the leader’s level. Failure to…

Factory-Think

In my most recent post, I wrote about how organizations cannot be expected to behave humanely, any more than we would expect a refrigerator or chain saw to behave humanely. Organizations are not humans. However, humane leaders can steer their organizations in humane directions, but only if they can avoid getting caught up in Organization-Think.  Now let’s take it up a notch. Let’s look at meta-organizations, collections of organizations whose leaders and workers share a mental model, largely unconscious, that limits humane behavior.  Let’s call it “Factory-Think.” Imagine that you were a factory owner at the dawn of the Industrial Age.  Your problem: How to create an efficient, cost-effective, profitable way to produce goods. The solution? Piece work. Workers got paid by how many widgets they made in a day or week. To maximize productivity, and to ensure that every widget was like every other widget, steps and processes were…

Can Organizations Have EQ?

Thousands of studies demonstrate that leaders with higher EQ are more successful than those with average (or lower) EQ. But I’m not writing about that today. I’ve found myself reflecting on the nature of organizations, thinking about my own experiences with them, experiences that clients who work for them have told me about, and stories my friends and family have related to me. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about what follows. Think about times when you’ve dealt with a large healthcare organization. Maybe you’ve helped shepherd a loved one through a serious illness. Maybe you yourself were the patient. Did the experience enhance your sense of yourself as a human being? Or did you find yourself feeling like a piece of meat, lost in a maw of processes, procedures, and awful communication, while the people working there did what their organization told them was necessary? Think of the times…