Why Leaders Should Shine a Light on Fear

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Fearful BusinessmanAs a leader of technology teams, I’ve seen a lot of fear in the eyes of employees. Every day, companies outsource entire departments overseas; every minute, hard-earned technology skills become obsolete; and every second, senior leadership cancels a major project and disperses a team. I recall an especially memorable team meeting when fear stalked the room. A critical project had fallen badly behind schedule, and I needed everyone’s ...

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Boost Employee Engagement by Allowing Angry Outbursts

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EmoticonsPhil, a systems analyst at General Engines, is irate. He’s on the team that supports technology for the sales group, and his boss, Jonathan, just told the team the company is not going to fund tablets for the salespeople. The sales staff is counting on Phil to get them the tablets, and he had been planning to roll them out at ...

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Reduce Distracting Worries in Your Team

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WorryTom’s got a full agenda to cover so he gets to the conference room a few minutes early to make sure the powerpoint is ready. Joe and Bill are already there, and they’re obviously grumbling and moaning about something. He hears “they are idiots” and “how can they be so stupid”, while they snarl and shake their heads. Tom’s going to need to get them focused on the meeting ...

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Does Expression of Anger Help a Team?

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AngerDavid, a web developer at General Engines, has always been feisty, with strong opinions about what should be built on the website. But right now he is pissed. His manager, Laura, just told his team they’re not getting the budget increase they requested. David shouts “customers are going to be irate when we don’t deliver the features they want!” He continues, in a heated voice, to complain that they’re ...

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Desensitizing Your Team to Fear

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Fear-and-Negativity-copyI remember the day a colleague plodded into my team meeting and moaned “John Price has just been appointed CEO”.  Our entire team became paralyzed with fear. We knew the leaders of our company’s three divisions, who always competed more than cooperated, had been vying for the open CEO spot. Price was from the “other” division, our rivals, and openly didn’t like our group. Now he was going to ...

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Stop Letting Emotions Hijack Your Teams

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Have you noticed that you can be in a good mood and then walk into a meeting and suddenly you’re feeling negative or disheartened, and you don’t even know why? Researchers have proven that three people can sit in close proximity, and within a minute or two the most emotionally active will have transmitted their mood to the other two, even without saying or doing anything. ...

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The Emotion of Business Agility

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I shake my head in frustration when I see business leaders try to get employees to accept a change initiative by convincing them of the business case. Although this is the classic way to overcome employee resistance, it’s trying to quell fear with logic, and that’s really difficult to do. Employees don’t like change because it introduces fear of the unknown, and employees accept ...

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The Secret to Team Spirit

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We’ve all seen some teams, whether in sports, music or business, whose performance transcends the normal. It’s as though the team members have each surpassed any personal performance limitations and are cooperating at some unseen energetic level. What is the key to team spirit and can we intentionally create it?

As a leader of project teams, I admit that I can get impatient with the slow process of team development, ...

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A Better Definition of Winning

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Most of us like to win, yet our beliefs about winning are posing a huge risk to our organizations. We believe that winning requires that we make someone else lose. This means that in order to win, we actively harm the other players or at least ensure that we don’t help them, even when helping them would benefit a greater cause. We teach this mode of winning to our ...

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Can Employees Feel What You Are Thinking?

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I think we would all acknowledge that people perform better when they’re feeling positive, so as leaders we naturally want our groups and organizations to be positive environments. However, most leaders are not aware of the factors that influence the positivity of environments. We think we’re controlling environments when we monitor what’s said and done, but experimentation tells us that thoughts themselves become pervasive and set the tone in an environment.

A Revealing Experiment

Consider this exercise that I often conduct ...

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