Workplace Rights

Weekly (4/26/11)

Topic of the Week  Win-Win: Being a Better Leader

Let's face it; many leaders have taken advantage of the difficult economy.

Let's face it; many leaders have taken advantage of the difficult economy. Why work hard to be a better boss when there were so many people desperate to work? Unfortunately far too many leaders got lazy and acted more like prison guards than principled leaders. Which reminds me of a pizzeria owner who tried to get ahead of the competition by sabotaging his rivals. According to Upper Darby, PA police, Nikolas Galiatsatos, 47, dumped mice into two rival pizzerias. For his troubles, he ended up in police custody.

Vermin as a competitive advantage, I wouldn't have come up with that on my own. As the song says, you can also get ahead by "Accentuating the Positive." I've included three Do's and one Don't with strategies for becoming a leader people want to work for. For more, check out "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith (Hyperion, 2007)

Do listen to what others say about you. As leaders we tend to look down on the grapevine and what people are muttering under their breaths, but we do this to our own detriment. There is an old saying, "What people say behind your back is your standing in the community." And I believe that. Find out from people what they really think of you and your organization. Since most won't want to say it to your face, you have to try a number of strategies: confidential surveys, 360 degree evaluations but don't overlook creating dialogues with gutsy employees who will tell you the truth.

Do become more empathetic. Believe it or not, in the past few weeks I've both been fired and fired someone. What a weird turn of events. But it made me much more empathetic of the trauma of transition at work. Because of this experience, I was able to avoid pouring salt in people's wounds; we didn't immediately turn off the email account, we asked for feedback on how to describe their departure and we solicited input on what we'd say as a reference moving forward. Even at the most difficult time at work, letting someone go, you can bring empathy and decency into the interaction. But it takes thought and effort.

Do encourage people to challenge the status quo. As a leader change is often scary and threatening. But today's competitive environment requires an open mind about new approaches. Hold on to how you are currently doing everything more lightly.

Don't unconsciously discourage feedback. We've all tried to offer advice to someone only to be greeted by crossed arms, a scowl or the person constantly looking at the clock or their phone. Wouldn't you much rather get negative information from an employee than from your biggest customer or your boss? We really have to work hard to be accessible to people so they can give us the low down early and often.

Treating your employees like vermin is one way to get ahead, but a better strategy is to follow the tips above and to become a better leader.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Sherrie Campbell is a work relations expert and award-winning comedian. Check out their 13 years of searchable content at They'd also love to hear your workplace rants or raves. Email them via

Thought of the Week

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters"

–Albert Einstein

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from Recognizing a lack of recognition: Managers thoughts about employee recognition

    Administrative personnel receive too much recognition, 2%
    They receive the right amount of recognition, 70%
    They don't receive enough recognition, 27%


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