Thought Provoking but Obscure Articles from 2014 – 2 Career

Onward, now, with Topic 2, and those articles which pertains to career (and work, and job. In case one has forgotten the difference between these three: One is perceived as +∑, one is 0∑, and the third is -∑. The task of distinguishing among the three I will leave as an exercise for the reader, unless you make it to the end of this post.)

There were also a number of subcategories that could be recognized under this heading. The most popular by far was Bosses, which is probably connected with the Gallup research that shows that 1), 80% of people who leave their jobs say it was primarily due to their boss, and 2), about 70% of Americans overall are unhappy at their place of employment (that is, career, work, or job).

On Bosses

7 Signs It’s Time to Un-follow a Leader” (Mike Henry Sr., Switch & Shift, 5 May 2014). For many of us, we will “give our best energy to people we admire pursuing a purpose we desire” and will be glad to pitch in. But when the person or purpose fails to measure up, what happens? If the leader is honest and upfront, we can continue to be inspired; if they are not, we begin to feel manipulated. What behaviors are red flags that it is time to choose to un-follow a leader? Mike Henry provides as short list of 7 (deadly) signs that something is amiss.

The 5 Signs of a Bad Leader” (Katie Mehnert, LinkedIn, 26 May 2014). One of the facts of life is that not everyone is created with equal skills, talents, interests, nor perhaps endowed with the motivation to maximize any of these. The same goes for leaders: “Not all leaders are created equal” (which, given the above research results, should come as no surprise). In addition to 5 signs that have a lot in common with Mike Henry’s 7 signs (above), Katie Mehnert gives a sample of 5 potential outcomes that can alter the situation, one of which is certainly under our control.

5 Signs That Your Job is Absolutely the Wrong One” (Marla Gottschalk, The Office Blend, 9 February 2014). Ok, I didn’t say the article titles would be revolutionary or thought provoking, just the content. Marla’s post focuses more on the work environment and culture, which may or may not include/or be caused by a boss, and our subsequent responses. Being honest and paying attention to these responses can be instrumental in retaking control of our careers and work. (But I suspect not for those who just have “jobs.”)

How to Spot a Bad Boss Before You Start a New Job” (Sam Manna, LinkedIn, 25 August 2014).   Not a scenario we typically think of when interviewing for a job, especially early on in our careers. Later in life, we are probably more tuned in. While there are very few realistic ways accessible to us through which we can discern the quality of leadership in a potential new boss, (besides hoping to see a public display of forced ranking results in HR), there are behaviors that can prove enlightening. This is a good short discussion of what to look for, especially for those of us who, for one reason or another, naively assume(d) that “since (s)he’s the boss, (s)he must be good at what (s)he does.”

Now, on to more positive approaches. If you are striving to grow to be a great if not good leader, take these to heart. If you are a millennial, you might also consider a tattoo.

8 Qualities That Make Great Bosses Unforgettable” (Jeff Haden, LinkedIn, 26 August 2014). Yes, I too was hoping for better titles when we got to the positive stuff, but alas. In any case, here is a sampling of Less Common but Highly Desirable Behaviors more often exhibited by great bosses and leaders. It will probably be helpful to brush up on this list before getting to The Article on Great Leadership Under Crisis (below, under On Leadership).

The Three Qualities of People I Most Enjoy Working With” (Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn, 24 August 2014). Ok, considerable improvement in the title here as the number of Qualities is actually spelled out… Weiner is the CEO at LinkedIn (thus: chops!) and in typical CEO fashion cuts to the chase – here it’s to focus on the really big behaviors that go a considerable way to defining the culture in which achievers thrive: Dream Big; Get S**t Done; Know How to Have Fun. When pondering my life, I can’t underestimate the importance of that last aspect (after you’ve accomplished the first two).

Bigger than just Bosses is the larger topic of Leadership:

On Leadership

Leadership: Stupid Is As Stupid Does” (Mike Myatt, Forbes, 22 December 2014). “We live in a world that far too easily suffers fools in leadership.” Couldn’t put it more nicely myself. Here are five things leaders should stop doing (such as following the leadership crowd) in order to become more effective at the purpose of leadership. Also included here is the subject of political correctness, which also just happens to be on my “To Blog” list. Perceptive and enlightening.

Leadership Amazon Style” (Wayne Lazarides, LinkedIn, 27 February 2014). Lazarides admits he is not one for “The Best of …” articles, but discovered an website page that he feels articulates the finest qualities of a Leader and Leadership, and copied it and blogged it. And so I read it, and am now including it in my “The Best of …” blog. I suppose this is supporting evidence that two negatives make a positive… (P.S., this is a great read).

What Air Crash Investigations Don’t Tell You About QF32 (Airbus A380)” (Tony J. Hughes, LinkedIn, 26 December 2014). This is The Article I referred to above. This is about applied leadership and the culture that nurtured it: Before Crisis, During Crisis, and After Crisis. A must read.  (P.S. Yes, it involves an airplane).

On Growth, Personal and Otherwise

Monkey in the Mirror” (John E. Michel, Switch & Shift, 13 April 2014). You may remember John Michel’s guest post in this blog earlier in 2014. This article encourages leaders and people who aspire to become leaders to seriously question cultural “norms” and to break away from those that limit growth. “The only way you can ever expect to be more and do more with your life is to understand that sometimes, you have to be willing to go above and beyond what others are doing around you.” ‘Nuff said.

10 Powerful Principles of Exponential Growth” (Leadership Freak, 8 May 2014). Dan Rockwell’s motto is Empowering Leaders 300 Words at A Time, so this is a very good and very short read. “Your greatest service is growing yourself into helping others grow.”

Grow Your Business with Disruptive Altruism” (Bruce Kasanoff, LinkedIn, 14 April 2014). A very good allegorical lesson about +∑, 0∑, and -∑ behaviors (although Kasanoff doesn’t identify them in this way). “Help others, and you win, too. Screw others, and you’ll get caught.” Hmm, interesting thought.

The Top Ten Signs You Might Be a Taker” (Adam Grant, LinkedIn, 20 March 2014). Speaking of +∑ altruism (granted, not currently the strongest of opening lines), one can look at this from a slightly different aspect. Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take about the business aspects of being altruistic, takes the Taker (-∑) aspect of the Maker/Taker pair and peels it back. Entertaining, and enlightening.

5 Things Elite Customer Service Teams Never Do” (Jordy Leiser, Inc., 21 February 2014). If personal growth is among your top goals, and achieving it through working to make your organization grow and be successful, then this article is meant for you. I stumbled on these behaviors in the 1980s and was trying to instill them within my organization, alas to no avail. THAT experience was one of the sources of an important lesson (Fundamental Principle 7): some people don’t get that they don’t get something, and never will. The key to avoiding that trap is Strategic Problem Anticipation.

And lastly, the answer to the riddle:

The NEW Killer Interview Question” (Aaron Hurst, LinkedIn, 2 December 2014). There is always the nagging question, “How do I find the best hires?” and its inverse, “How can I show that I am the best hire available?” Aaron Hurst shares the interview questions that he now uses to gain quicker insight into hiring the best – and it’s not always about skills, but attitude and character. He also identifies potential employees into three categories:
-“Some people see work as a vehicle for material reward, but not fulfilling in and of itself.” I would categorize these people as seeking a “job;”
-“The second group defines work as a means toward social status, achievement, and prestige.” I would say they would be seeking “work;”
-“The final group finds the act of work inherently meaningful and rich in purpose.” These are the people that I would want, those who are pursuing a “career.”
And Hurst cites academic research to support his (and maybe my) categorization.

Go for a Career. And whatever it is, and wherever it is, make sure it’s based on Strategic Problem Anticipation.

There are a few other articles, but I’ll save them for the next post.

Next: Topic 3 – The Best of the Rest

About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 04: Games People Play, 11: Growth, 12: Character, 14: Behavior, Career and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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