May 2007 Newsletter

Maximize People, Generate Performance,

Achieve Results

Do your workers have fun on the job?

Do they like what they do and do it well?

Are they loyal to your company?

Or are you hearing rumblings of discontent?


In this issue: 

  • Five Deadly Sins of Leadership
  • Tip of the Month:  Leadership Integrity Drives Long-term Results
  • Technical Corner:  Feedback System Gives Leaders Information About Their Performance


Five Deadly Sins of Leadership


What has happened to enthusiasm in the workplace?


For many employees, it has seemingly disappeared.  They gripe and mutter about their frustrations at work.  You hear them complain about managers -- and to be fair, managers complain about them.  Both complain about the company.


And why is it that in so many businesses, the whole company seems out of whack? It has one agenda, the worker has another and the manager can't mesh the two. Core competencies fail to support the company vision.  Worse, company policies and procedures impair efficiency rather that help get the work done in a timely manner. Everyone but the worker doing the job defines the way it should be done, and quality improvement means doing more faster rather than doing less more profitably.


Sadly, many companies today operate in an atmosphere of distrust where corporate loyalty no longer exists, not to mention "fun" on the job.



What's going wrong?


That's the million-dollar question. For the answer, we can turn to a boatload of self-help books, which tell us how to do things right. But sometimes learning what can go wrong and how to avoid these problems is just as valuable.


Here are five deadly sins of leadership for your consideration:    

  1. Assuming your employees know the company's objectives and purpose.  You have a vision and a great plan in place. Now who will implement it?  Even the best plan is worthless if it's misunderstood or your employees--at all levels--fail to embrace it. After all, your workforce powers your plan.  For success, integrate your strategic workforce planning into your business planning.
  2. Approaching selection and hiring in a haphazard manner.  Hiring employees in a haphazard manner is like drawing to an inside straight in poker. Odds are you'll lose. Statistics show you will hire a less-than-stellar worker 86 percent of the time if you use poor hiring practices. Worse, without careful hiring practices, you could get sued.  If you want your odds to improve, use pre-employment screening. Although rigorous interviews and background checks can help you form an accurate picture of past behavior, pre-employment screening is a better predictor of future behavior. It assesses attitudes toward integrity, substance abuse, reliability and work ethic.
  3. Assuming your employees are trained.  Training to ensure that your employees have the right knowledge and skills to get the job done is fundamental to a company's continued efficient and profitable performance. Yet some companies overlook training, often because of the expense.  It's true training costs money. But failing to develop your people's talents, wastes resources.  If you truly believe your employees are your number one asset, give them the training they need to do their job. Think of creative ways to develop employees so they grow, stay on the job and with your company.
  4. Failing to provide appropriate feedback.  We've talked before about engaging employees, and how important communication and appropriate feedback is to helping engaged employees stay that way.  Unfortunately companies and their employees often disagree about the effectiveness of feedback in their companies. In a recent study of 2,000 employees and 330 HR professionals, two thirds of companies believe their performance reviews are effective while only 39 percent of employees agree.  Make sure you and your employees see eye to eye on the effectiveness of your feedback. Giving meaningful constructive feedback through performance reviews and conversations during the course of daily activities boosts employee engagement and performance, not to mention their career development.  
  5. Treating employees as a commodity.  Any company that has experienced the high cost of employee turnover understands its toll: replacement costs, loss of productivity and decreased morale.  Treat employees like a commodity and they will respond in kind: They'll leave as soon as possible for the next best offer. 


So there you have them: five deadly "people" leadership sins.  Now here, as a bonus, are three business management sins:


  1. Failing to evaluate and measure.  It's easy to fall into the "business-as-usual" habit--that is, performing tasks by rote or doing things the same way simply because that is the way we have always done them.  Yet, rarely, can we meet changing customer needs by doing "business as usual."  To avoid this trap, continually assess your business' activities. Are they necessary and relevant? Track them to determine their effectiveness and efficiency. Further, if you can't measure it, don't do it.
  2. Assuming you are doing a good job and your customers are happy.  Are your customers happy? Have you asked? Assuming customer satisfaction simply because you have had no complaints, will most likely give you a false sense of security.  Use mechanisms to encourage customer feedback. Carefully listen to, and act on, that feedback.
  3. Not marketing.  Marketing and its related disciplines, public relations, research and advertising, identify new markets, communicate to prospects and clients, and establish your brand and message. In other words, marketing works hand-in-hand with sales.  Unfortunately, many companies do not understand this marketing and sales relationship.  Failure to pursue marketing strategies handicaps your business' ability to compete. Even if you have an excellent sales force, you should actively market your business.  To prosper--even survive--companies must constantly rethink the way they do things.  Begin your own evaluation process by turning the above negatives into positives to leverage leadership practices your business needs to succeed. 



Tip of The Month:  Leadership Integrity Drives Long-term Results


A leader's corporate vision is fed by his or her personal values. It's been shown, for example, that leaders who hold kindness and respect as personal values are more likely to create a corporate vision that exemplifies respect for clients and associates.  


So what should you do to encourage leaders to employ their upstanding personal values on the job so your company can reap these benefits? Here are a few steps you can take: 

  1. To begin, know what motivates your leaders.
  2. Encourage them to employ these values to make their mark on the company.  (Good leaders are as driven by their values and principles as they are by recognition and rewards.)
  3. Establish leadership training and mentoring programs to provide new leaders with tools that will help them grow professionally and personally. Beyond this, incorporate programs that encourage leadership integrity into your training. Not only will your company benefit from better management, your leaders will more likely stay with you and make a difference over time.     

Leadership integrity drives long-term results.  You may achieve short-term results by fear, threats and coercion, but you will accomplish sustained organization results through integrity and consistency.




Technical Corner:  Feedback system gives leaders Information about their performance    


In most organizations, only 15 to 20 percent of employees perform at the peak of their abilities. At the same time, 80 to 85 percent slough along unmotivated and disengaged. Many of these employees have the skills, experience and education to be peak performers, but they lack the engagement.




Because quite often management and leadership ability is missing.  Your company's success depends upon effective leadership and effective leadership depends upon reliable feedback.


Enter Profiles CheckPoint 360º Feedback System

Profiles CheckPoint 360º Feedback System provides leaders with feedback from their supervisors, employees and peers--people who observe their performance. With this specific, job-related information, they can clarify issues and misunderstandings, and make positive changes. Indeed, with the self-knowledge they gain from this instrument, they can:

  • Improve their performance.
  • Identify training needs.
  • Improve their leadership, goal setting, interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • Increase their leadership accountability.

Of course, your leaders must be open to this feedback and willing to respond positively. Given this willingness, however, CheckPoint 360º will positively impact not only their individual growth but your organization's success. 



MGA can help put people in jobs where the demands match their abilities, the stimulation matches their interest, and they have the greatest opportunity to succeed. 

Never forget, you already have a significant investment in your people through salary, benefits, recruitment and training.  This investment can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, per person.  With MGA you can maximize that investment.


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