The Harvard Business Review has an article in the latest issue: How to teach pride in “Dirty Work.” This is not a joke!
Here is the essence of the article. Employees in stigmatized occupations can be helped with an array of techniques to cope with or even feel proud of their jobs,
including developing an occupational ideology to confer a more positive image on the work;
creating social buffers such as professional associations;
and avoiding specifics in conversation with outsiders.
Trust someone in Harvard to come up with this gem of false pride.
This has left Dr. Z wondering how many sewer workers sit down to craft an occupational ideology. For example, “you know Joe if we are dwelling within the existential zeitgeist approach to sewers we are the new proletariat of the masses.”
Creating social buffers would involve more detour signs around a work-site and the professional association would meet at Moe’s bar after work for beer and lively repartee. Of course when someone outside the city sewer department walks past the workers at the bar they would stop the sewer flow of conversation and pretend to be an Amway group.
Of course remember that pride cometh before the fall…now, back to the sewer and further discussion of Friedrich Nietzsche’s, Thus Spoke Zarathustra role in creating self-actualized workers.
Picture Credit: The Sewer’s View by http://flickr.com/photos/theotherdan/315312254/
What is your legacy as a leader?
Even if you are just starting out as an assistance manager at the local convenience store it is time to think beyond yourself, beyond the current time, to your ultimate legacy. Do you want to be remembered as the leader who put the slur in slurpee or the ho in hoagie or do you want to be remembered as the leader who courageously and religiously never let one of those scary hotdogs be skewered in the rotating oven for more than 21 days?
A lot of people are confused with legacy. Read this: “legacy” is not a pejorative. Do not use it as such. Please consult your dictionary. A legacy is something that is left to another in a will; a bequest of personal property. The word is derived from the Latin “legare”, meaning “to leave by way of a will”. That’s it. By itself, it has neither positive nor negative connotations.
Some people confuse legacy with Emeril Lagasse which is also wrong. But his legacy of food and the word, BAM may live on.
So if your are not Emeril how do you cook up your leadership legacy. Here are the 5 key questions to create your personal big BAM:
- Determine your defining contribution to the workplace beside the bowl of jellybeans in your cubicle (Don’t try to become Ronald Reagan, become more of who you already are — maybe try a bowl of m&ms)?
- Ask who will miss you after you retire? If the answer is nobody then you have a legacy issue that needs to be addressed.
- What will they say you did around the office (besides bringing donuts for your loyal followers)? Craft your legacy litany by signing all your emails with Bob: The guy who got things done. By the way, this works best if your name is Bob and you actually did something.
- How did you make a difference? Were you courageous enough to stand out? Perhaps you wore a bowtie when all those around you dressed in drab business casual?
- Serve the people you lead without taking credit for your service so that when you are gone people will say, “who was that masked man?”
Dr. Z. reminds you: Get a leg up on leadership by ensuring your leadership has a legacy to stand on!
Picture credit: Your actions create a legacy for others to follow by http://flickr.com/photos/wildphotons/297077257/
Goals can drive you hairy or you can even have hairy goals.
Dr. Z. encourages you to have hope rather than goals. Because who ever wants to hear someone say to them, “you haven’t got a hope.” And nobody ever says, “you gotta be hag!”
Perhaps you have heard of a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal!
Collins and Porras defined a BHAG as:
A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.” (Collins and Porras, 1996).
Dr. Z recomends just the opposite – a SBEH – Small Bald Easy Hopes. Here are the benefits:
- Small: When you think of it at the end of small is the word all – small is all you need.
- Bald: Keep the hair out of the goal and have the fantastic association of soaring with Bald Eagles.
- Easy: Easy does it, why make work any harder than it is. Also this will give you plenty of time to goof off because the goal will not take much time to achieve.
- Hope: Why set goals when you can live on hope?
So rather than state : I will be the top widget guy in the world go with hope. Here is a hope statement. I hope I can keep these widgets being made and I hope I have a job tomorrow. And shoot for the finish line – this is Dr. Z’s finish line – so carry on leading, loving, learning and being lazy.
Picture Credit: Play Like The Dickens by http://www.flickr.com/photos/ok6/348923522/
Welcome back to Dr. Z’s Leadership Institute Quotation Corner.
The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. ~ Warren G. Bennis
If leaders are made what are the ingredients?
- 73 hours of work each week: this adds substance to the recipe of leadership. In addition it will make your hourly wage rate a whooping $.61 cents over minimum wage, and based on current calculation may make you eligible for some social assistance.
- One Wal*Mart Greeter’s vest: this will make you stand out as a leader and make you human and welcoming to all employees and to be able to show them where the toilet paper is. It may also give you experience in a future job you may hold to supplement your retirement income.
- One M.B.A. this will demonstrate a willingness to do many meaningless assignments at university to get your degree and future employers will seize that skill set to have you perform many meaningless activities at work.
- One Coach: someone who is willing to stand in your future and say it is impossible.
- One BlackBerry: this will keep you in constant contact without you ever having to really engage with the living breathing employee standing right in front of you asking, “can I have six months of paid leave to look after my aging budgie bird?”
Dr. Z.’s Leadership Point to Ponder: Leadership is for the birds so whatever you do don’t budge, budget.
One of Dr. Z’s. key maxims is: When in doubt, quote. Transformational leaders demonstrate the attitude of platitude.
Sprinkling your meetings with quotations is the secret formula for demonstrating high performance knowledge management.
To help you leverage your leadership moxie Dr. Z. will bequeath you quotations to share with your staff to instill inspiration, innovation, interaction, insight, and tepid applause.
At your next staff meeting before someone starts up the projector and turns out the lights, command the team’s attention and assertively proclaim:
There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs. ~ Source Unknown
Dr. Z. would like to share the leadership lessens of this quotation?
- When you can’t even find the elevator, do not lend your name to a quotation – leave the attribution as anonymous.
- This quotation is invalid if you work at the top of the Empire State Building.
- Beware of false dichotomies: Notice that there is no mention of an escalator.
- If the elevator is broken – call a repair person – if there really is no elevator move to another building.
- A true leader empowers, empower your minions to take the stairs for you while you take the credit and the kudos of all successes for your team – this will be sure to endear you to your staff as they recognize what a team player you really are.
Reflective Leadership Point to Ponder: If you actually did take the stairs, where would you put them?
Picture Credit: Patterson park pagoda stairs by http://flickr.com/photos/jepoirrier/512433995/