Category Archives: Motivation

Likes & Dislikes in Bosses

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Top 5 dislikes

ENIGMATIC We hate it when we don’t understand the boss. We want to know where we stand and what the rules are. We hate it when leader is inconsistent, or plays head games.  (Yep, my boss Jim was like that.)

THREATENING We don’t like the sword of Damocles over our head. We don’t like to see co-workers in that position either. Scapegoating, the art of torturing a subordinate for the sins of all, is a big no-no. It’s entertaining to a point, but no one wants to be the next line for humiliation. We expect our leaders to be able to discipline their passions and keep control of their emotions.

HYPOCRITICAL If you are an evil person, please let us know. We will be able to tell soon enough if you are self-serving. But please don’t say one thing and do another. It’s very confusing and gives virtue a bad name.

PEDANTIC Attention to detail is one thing, but let us do our jobs. When you are down in the hold rearranging the baggage, it makes us very nervous about who is steering the ship.

WASTING OUR TIME We understand the need for meetings. Hey, you are the boss. But we have a job to do here.

Top 5 Likes

COURAGE We love it when you take risks. We will feed off your confidence, and make you a legend. But we also want to see that 3 o clock in the morning courage, the courage to keep fighting when the whole thing seems to be coming down around our ears. We love fighters.

OPENNESS Let’s communicate. We can tell whether you want the real answers to your questions, or you are just showing off. How much noise you can handle. Challenging the prevailing wisdom always is. Openness means  making yourself a temporary equal once in a while and listening for the information that only the lower ranks can give you. (I think  I do it at times)

DRIVE TO WIN Sure, we all have different levels of commitment but at heart we all want to be winners. Set clear goals for us. We will block, carry the ball, or whatever but we want to know what the goal is. We want to see you committed to victory, however you define it.

FAIRNESS We know life is tough. Not everybody is going to make it. But we want to feel like we all have an equal chance to succeed. Mentorship is one thing, cronyism is another. Just be fair.

TRUST At the end of the day, we want your trust. If you give us the benefit of doubt, we will live up to your highest expectations. The greatest gift you can give us is your trust. If you can’t give it at least let us earn it.

(By Mark Bender)

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Women bosses

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There was an article in newspaper on how women bosses are perceived differently and how they are far better than they are credited for. That made me think of two women bosses I have had.

One was a terror so to say. She used to shout at the slightest provocation, and that too on small things. All floors in our head office were aware of her loud voice. I caught her backbiting and backstabbing too, even on me at times. She was all good goody to your face but screwed you in your appraisal and rated those persons better who sucked up to her, or did her personal errands. She was more interested in her personal interests, rather than company’s interests. She played politics to ensure that a junior of mine, who was working with her for last 15 years (I came to head office much later) always got better of me. Additional telephone, better seating, better rating, better visibility and better job assignments. Though in front of me, she always criticised him, her bias was very clear. So women bosses also have as many bad qualities as men bosses have, so I don’t get this discrimination thing really. She did have positive side also. She was assertive, protective, woman of her words, caring at times, forthright in negative feedback in her trademark style of course, well-connected, good command over language, resilient, fast and go-getter.

Then there was this another boss who had this image of a tigress, but was very good at heart. She was too cold and calculating though with no personal interest in you whatsoever, self-centred (as most of the bosses are, I don’t know why I have a problem with that always), self-confident bordering on arrogance. For example once I sent her an sms regarding some event she had asked for the day before. Her reply comes- Yes, I know. Well I did not expect a bouquet or commendation but a plain thank-you or even no response would have sufficed. She threw water on my FYI act by snubbing me this way, and this she did a lot. Though I might have also irritated her at times unknowingly. For example, once she appeared for an interview of Board member, I sent her wishes and all, but when she did not get selected, I avoided raising the topic with her, thinking that it might hurt her more. And two days later, in a discussion with juniors in front of her, I said that she might become a board member some day and you will suffer if she goes out. A positive comment delivered at the wrong time. I repented the moment i said it, but the damage was done already. Aniways she adopts the need-to-know principle to perfection which at times is demotivating as you feel out of the loop. She will expect the unexpected from you at times like doing a 30-minute job in 5 minutes. She keeps her calm in big crisis situations but smaller issues ruffle her up and she loses her calm.

But then again compared to other bosses, she respects her time so she respects yours too,, she is polite when she speaks, she is reasonable and understanding if you exclude the time-problem, she shares her experience, she trusts you, she keeps her calm and is well-mannered.

So, that is how I saw my women bosses. Will write on women juniors some other time.

Leading people

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Today I was reading a blog on how we should lead with compassion and not authority. Our goal should be development of our team/subordinates.It led me thinking how peculiar work environment in public sector enterpirse (PSE), the type of organisation where I work, is better suited for this kind of leadership.

As we say, there are 1-2 typical things about a PSE.

-Horses and donkeys, meaning smart-workers and shirkers get equal treatment. Smart workers don’t get any special facilities, nor do shirkers get any punishment.

-Pays and perks are exactly the same, irrespective of the amount of work you put in.

-Promotions are time-bound. What matters more at senior levels is your connections etc. So a mediocre executive with networking skills has as good chances of promotion as an excellent executive.

-Transfers are also for those not well connected.

Now if you consider these and other factors, I don’t have much to motivate me. And it’s any fool’s guess that the same applies to my juniors.

So what do we do, keep working like machines without any aspirations, hopes, expectations, just rewards and all that.

NO, that is where the first line of this post comes. These conditions or obstacles which seem hampering growth, can be converted to opportunities.

If I don’t play politics knowing well that it hardly matters either way. If I don’t go running around grabbing credit for junior”s work  knowing that it matters not. If I don’t suck up to seniors instead I work sincerely for mental peace. If I am not egoistic, don’t throw my weight around, literally and otherwise, don’t treat juniors as machines and  tools, then I may already have made a good start.

Let me put it in other words. By doing all this, I will be motivating myself by getting the real happiness of developing and mentoring  my juniors, and my juniors will be hopefully happy to have a really caring and different boss.

Had I been in a private firm with cut-throat competition, backbiting, backstabbing, ratrace and all that, you can’t be a genuine caring and sincere boss. Unless ofcourse in C-suite.

I am saying this and will try to practice it now that I know its true worth. But irony is today only unwittingly I did the reverse. Actually ever since my appraisal rating has been downgraded, I have been a little bit edgy or maybe confused. Today happy was showing final proof of inhouse magazine to boss, and without being sure of it (though I had an inkling that she might be in doing that, and I hesitated also for a second, before entering boss’ room. Had it been pre-downgrading I would have not gone in even if I had 10 % inkling, as I would have wanted her to take credit for the job we did together). But I went in. Moreover while boss was perusing the magazine, I butted in at places. She did not seem to mind overtly at least. But I felt bad at my un-me behaviour. So, note to myself to avoid this in future.

Let me see if I can maintain this.

 

Standout behaviour by Marcus Buckingham

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A few years ago, while conducting a study of top-performing managers for the electronics retailer Best Buy, I interviewed Ralph. He was a star, having transformed one of Best Buy’s lowest-performing stores into a repeat award winner. On virtually every metric, from revenues to profitability to employee engagement, he had taken his team from the bottom 10% to the leading 10%. What had he done, I asked, to effect such dramatic change?

Ralph said that he had played on his likeness to the young Fidel Castro. He had called his store “La Revolución,” posted a “Declaración de Revolución” in the break room, and made supervisors wear army fatigues. As I was scribbling all this down, he told me about the whistle.

Because his team was at the bottom of every district performance table, he wanted to give people a way to celebrate the fact that good behaviors were actually happening in the store, and to make them aware that they were happening all the time. So he issued a whistle to all employees and told them to blow it whenever they saw someone do something good. It didn’t matter if the person they observed was their superior or worked in another department; if they saw anyone go above and beyond, they were to blow the whistle.

“Didn’t it make the store incredibly loud?” I asked.

“Sure,” he replied, with a wide Castro grin. “But it energized the place. It energized me. Heck, it even energized the customers. They loved it.”

I was so taken with this innovation that I included it in a book I was coauthoring, Now, Discover Your Strengths(Free Press, 2001). But I didn’t include what happened next.

Scale Concepts, Not Techniques

Clearly, Ralph Gonzalez is one of a kind. Not everyone leads like him, or could. However, the typical leadership development paradigm would not make that assumption. It would try to incorporate Ralph’s standout behavior into a competency model and spread it throughout the leadership ranks.

Sure enough, the whistle technique started down that path. Having been shared at a number of company gatherings, Ralph’s story began to take on a life of its own. All of a sudden it was cropping up in districts and regions around the country. “Whistles for everyone!” There was talk of a whistle hierarchy: green whistles for store managers, white ones for supervisors, regular silver ones for frontline blue-shirts. There was talk of checklists: the 12 conditions when whistles may be blown, and the 20 conditions when they must never be.

What had begun as a vibrant expression of a particular leader’s personality was fast mutating into a standard operating procedure. Fortunately, some wise Best Buy executives, realizing that the technique was almost entirely dependent on the presence of Ralph himself, killed the mutation before it could spread.

Source

http://hbr.org/2012/06/leadership-development-in-the-age-of-the-algorithm/ar/3

 

Gallup Q 12- measuring motivation

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The Gallup Q12
(From the Gallup Management Journal, “Feedback for Real”
Author: John Thackray)
The Gallup Q12 is a survey designed to measure employee engagement.
The instrument was the result of hundreds of focus groups and interviews.
Researchers found that there were 12 key expectations, that when satisfied, form
the foundation of strong feelings of engagement. So far 87,000 work units and
1.5 million employees have participated in the Q12 instrument.
Comparisons of engagement scores reveal that those with high Q12 scores
exhibit lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, better customer
loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance.
The Gallup organization also uses the Q12 as a semi-annual employee
engagement Index – a random sampling of employee across the country.
The engagement index slots people into one of three categories.
• Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to
their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
• Not-Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They are
sleepwalking through their workday. They are putting in time, but not
enough energy or passion into their work.
• Actively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re
busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine
what their engaged co-workers accomplish.
The results of the latest engagement index:
Engaged employees – 28 %
Not-engaged employees – 54%
Actively Disengaged – 17%
In other words, 71% of the workforce is either under performing or actively
undermining their work. 2
The Q12 Index
1) Do you know what is expected of you at work?
2) Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work
right?
3) At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best
every day?
4) In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise
for doing good work?
5) Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about
you as a person?
6) Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
7) At work, do your opinions seem to count?
8) Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your
job is important?
9) Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing
quality work?
10) Do you have a best friend at work?
11) In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you
about your progress?
12) In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

source- http://www.artsusa.org/pdf/events/2005/conv/gallup_q12.pdf

Bossing around

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Well at times bosses do go on bossing around, without any rhyme and reason. They will start lecturing on what should or should not have been done in a situation, without asking if I did something. Today was one such day. A set of newspaper clippings was to be organized from a small town 1000 miles away. There was this guy we had tied up with earlier this year for such jobs, again my idea and initiative, but no credit, but he was not responding today. Aniways we knew it is not that urgent as it is being made out to be, no sky is going to fall. In some departments, like the one, where we had to send these clippings, where every junior officer thinks of himself as  god incarnate, and tries to earn brownie points with his seniors by pressurizing us minions. But our own boss goes out of the way to impress them, so we are left with no help. Okay, so boss who was bunking almost the whole day, calls up in evening and starts lecturing why clippings were not arranged. I tried to explain how we tried different sources, but he was not ready to listen. Neither did he ask his favourite executive in department, who is senior to me, to take care of the job. When it comes to facilities, perks, trainings, tours, exposure, seminars, conferences, committees, he is the favourite, but when it comes to shitty jobs, I am the chosen one. So I was given a piece of boss’s mind, without ever given a hearing to what all I tried. I WILL TRY THAT I DON’T DO IT TO MY JUNIORS.

Another incident that happened today was a junior coming to me and reviving my faith in giving credit to team. Though she is very conscious, touchy and all, but she came out from boss’s room and told me, sir, boss liked the photo we got edited last week, and was appreciating the agency. But I told boss that it was your idea and not agency’s idea to redo the photo. I was not expecting this maturity and broad heart from her, I would have imagined that she would have gladly accepted the praise, without ever mentioning my name. But she did and pleasantly surprised me. That she came out and told me, and I believed her also speaks of trust in our relationship. So I am tempted to consider my self a better boss to my juniors, than my boss is to me. This junior can sit idle for long hours without feeling any repentance, which I find strange, but then she works sincerely when required, is obedient, cooperative and cheerful. So I rate her better than juniors who do insubordination, are two-faced and dishonest.

Another colleague who had expressed his desire to sit away from me, as I keep reminding him of jobs to do, was taken aback today, when I taunted that I will remind him weekly since he does not like my daily reminders. Well that was my midway solution and also I wanted him to know that I know what he said about me to others. He today tried to reconsider his decision of seat change, discussed with others and me too. So tactic worked, though this time I insisted that he sits away because I am not very keen on sitting with him specially if he was not happy with it. He also tried to patch up with me by showing some soft-porn cartoon, ultimate in male bonding, and offering to give some movies in pen drive.

Such are the ways of the world.

 

 

My confusion

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Happy told me today that big boss asked him to do some new things in the company magazine. Now happy is part of my team, so i felt bad.

Why did boss not tell me about the new things. Then I recalled happy is boss’s advisor so boss can do that. Besides I myself ask happy to take care of many things about magazine with boss, so boss is right in talking directly to happy. But still i felt bad.

One reason could be that the change boss wanted was earlier suggested by my immediate senior to me. I rejected the idea as unpractical. It seems this person went to boss and convinced him to implement the idea. And it came to me through my junior. I was pissed off.

I was so angry today that I felt like telling that my name should be removed from the editorial team. I will keep on doing the work but my name won’t be there. But then I thought I will be dubbed as a cry baby who is making mountain out of a molehill.

Then I thought of sabotaging the idea. But this will spoil my improving relations with immediate boss, if this is his backstage management. Besides boss did not ask me to do this. Happy will also be in trouble just because he shared with me.

I am so bloody confused. How do I stop boss from ignoring me and giving job to my juniors directly. Maybe by trying to get more involved and not delegating all tasks to juniors.

Moreover I and happy are not really in favour of the idea also. Let us see how this develops. The way things are going I might have to swallow my pride and do what the boss wants.

Another incident happened today. A media team was to come visit CEO. Boss did not tell me, he told happy. Again the boss seems to be ignoring me, but then again I convinced myself that boss did this because happy is advisor and also boss wanted happy to escort them up and did not want to send me, a senior, to go and escort them. Am i fooling myself nicely? It seems I am.

Such is working life.

Demotivation

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Human mind is strange. I shared in one previous post that I have been assessed and my rank downgraded from excellent (E)  to high (H). I pretended even to myself that I have been able to take it in my stride and am kool and okay with it. I asked the boss about reasons and what I could do to improve myself, but was brushed off politely saying u r good, this happens, will discuss sometime, which I am sure will never come.

Right so things must go on, but reality is not so. Now whenever boss goes away after office time and asks me to sit and wait for some important task, my heart burns. Whenever there is a holiday or weekend and I am asked to do some office work, I feel like reacting but I stop myself. Whenever boss attempts to praise me I get edgy and reply back harshly.  When other colleagues leave at 5-30 and I am expected to work overtime, I feel frustrated. Whenever I am admonished for small lapses of my team, I feel my blood boiling. But non-assertive me, always keeps quite. But internally I know all this is the result of E to H downgrading. I am still not able to digest it well. Though objectively the new boss is well within his rights to assess me as he wishes, but still downgrade is not easy to take.

Another problem I am facing with this boss that demotivates me is that he interacts directly with my reportees, gives them tasks without telling me, monitors those tasks directly, but when something gets delayed, I am expected to take care of this. I am not saying that he can’t interact with the millennials, as HOD he has right to do so. But then if they don’t act or respect me, he is to blame, as boss has given them undue weightage, and they think nothing of me in front of boss. Now they also don’t mind directly interacting with boss, without keeping me in the loop.  I try to act kool, but I don’t like this.

Then there is this ex-boss, who keeps digging holes for the present boss and expects me to help him, which I don’t, as I owe my loyalty to organisation not bosses. Yesterday only he sent some unit press release to boss. Boss called me and asked to mail to media. I edited it and sent some pix of CEO to media. Now this ex-boss calls me and starts giving lecture, why you did not research, why you did not talk to me, why you did not do this and that. I kept silent, he got the message and said take care in future. Same day earlier he called me and asked to arrange a car for a journo. Now he is ex-boss and I have to act with orders of present boss. So I asked how do I do it, he shouted that is your problem. I am literally screwed from both sides. God knows when I will be out of this grinding mill.

But all this frustrates and irritates me no end.

Yes

Confusing Bosses

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This has happened to me many a times and this week this happened with another colleague of mine. He had got some design approved by our boss 2 months ago. The design was approved verbally, so there was no proof as such, but normally that is how it is. On the basis of that approval, the agency made several pages running into hundreds. And suddenly one day this week, the boss while reviewing the final version said she does not like the design. When colleague politely submitted that he had got it approved. Boss did not budge. We were discussing later how such a situation arises many times between boss and junior. I think this must be happening to many of you too. The net result always seems to be cliched-boss is always right. You end up adjusting to this but you do get demotivated.

At times, seniors will thoroughly check the final version and once there is any lapse they will say, I just had a look, you were supposed to check in detail. But if things are smooth, they will run to grab the credit. I do agree that senior/boss is not supposed to check and micro manage but then what is the point of checking. However you can’t say that to their face.

My ex-boss was showing some media queries to CEO. An earlier draft of these replies was shown to CEO by my present boss. In both the cases drafts had been made by me. When boss came back after meeting CEO, he told me-Did you not check the replies thoroughly, CEO wants the replies in a different manner. Here again, boss had checked and edited the replies but I could not say that. Aniways there was no factual error, but CEO wanted some additional figures to be given. I added, boss checked and gave to CEO office and left for the day. My ex-boss who is in CEO office again got some changes done and showed it to CEO. He came out with minor changes and asked- How does CEO know that you made the earlier replies. I was taken aback. I guessed and told- there were some data missing in earlier replies so when boss showed to CEO and CEO pointed out, boss might have   mentioned my name that he erred, to put blame on me. Ex-boss, who is otherwise very anti-present-boss and politicking always suddenly jumped to his side and said- No no, your present boss is not like this, he will not backbite, he might have mentioned in passing. Even I was surprized as at CEO level, bosses can not shirk responsibility by taking junior’s name. So here also boss and ex-boss confused me. I did not pester ex-boss much as to how CEO told my name in what context. Because this ex-boss has this habit of using CEO name to motivate me. After a while when I got to know of his lies, this trick stopped working for me though.

Coming back to present boss, for last 2-3 days, he has been very temperamental. Normally he is very kool and chilled-out. But day before, he shouted at me for a small thing, and repeated the same thing yesterday and today also. And you know I don’t like shouting bosses and people. Let us see if he makes it a habit.

This is the same boss who downgraded my appraisal rating and gave my happy friend (only person in department with whose better rating I was rather happy not hurt, though last time both of us got best and equal rating. ) better rating than me.  Then he asked me to sit till 9 pm to give a reply. How can be bosses so careless and demanding if they don’t think you are best quality material. So I tried to think of many reasons why I was given lower rating and one reason I could think of was boss wanted to empower women, and encourage youngsters. But then boss should expect and ask more from the best performers, specially the monotonous and overtime, late-sitting jobs. Maybe I am at fault somewhere, as I don’t crib and shout as others do. When will I Learn? Moreover, I am now taking extra precaution with my happy friend that she should not feel I am upset because she got better rating. I am not upset with her rating, I am upset with mine, and there is a difference. But as I told her I am careful as I am caring towards her. I don’t want her to think even for a second that I am envious or jealous or angry with her, which I am not. Hope I succeed.

Motivation by Lineback

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Methods of Motivation

 

Praise- Honest & appropriate

Money

Promotions & Career advancement

Matching the employees and the job

Are expectations clear?

Is there a match between responsibilities and capabilities?

Involve the person in the planning

Make a change

Make the job itself motivating

Forthright appraisals built around goals

Training

 

 

Psychologists identify  two kinds of motivation related to work-Intrinsic & Extrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation comes from rewards and other elements related to work like money, title, promotions, formal recognition.

Intrinsic motivation comes from work itself and positive internal feelings that the worker develops from doing the work well.

Job enrichment tries to increase intrinsic motivation by ensuring

-Work must be perceived worthwhile by the employee (Meaningfulness). Job needs to challenge workers skills.

-Employee must feel personally responsible for results. For this he needs to have a sense of autonomy- discretion in say scheduling, resource & time management. Job, its objectives must be clearly defined.

-Employee must be able to determine for himself regularly if his work is satisfactory.