All posts by navi6217

Margaret had this to say…

I hope everyone had a great weekend! 
Today, I want to begin by sharing a quote about leadership by a well-known leader.

Margaret Thatcher
, the first women, and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said, “Being powerful is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t”

IS LEADERSHIP ABOUT ORDERING PEOPLE AROUND in order to prove you’re powerful, or for any other reason? 
Tell me what you think!

One-Word Definitions for Leadership

Thanks to those of you who posted your one-word definitions for Leadership.  I noted:

  • Empathy
  • Vision
  • Integrity

Some of the words that were posted on the LinkedIn message board were:

  • Authority
  • Power
  • Skill
  • Knowledge
  • Manager
  • Superiority
  • Initiative
  • Guidance
  • Governing

I learned through this exercise that it’s very difficult to define leadership in just one word.  There are as many different ways to define leadership as there are different situations, different cultures, and different reasons to lead.  Trying to define so many differences in just one word doesn’t seem possible.

On my next post, I’ll provide definitions by some of the world’s greatest leaders. 
Please share what some of your most respected leaders have said about leadership…

Defining Leadership

I appreciate the comments that have been shared by Arny, Norma and Victoria.  I HOPE MORE OF YOU will join in the conversation about the definition of leadership.
While you’re thinking, I’ll share an experience I had with “leadership” (or in this case, the lack thereof…)

I was once hired by a dental practice to facilitate a workshop on Leadership. 

“My staff lacks customer service skills”, the doctor said.  “They don’t communicate with each other well, and they aren’t getting along”. 

Several weeks prior to the day of the workshop I sent a questionnaire to all the employees and asked them to answer some questions about the practice anonymously.   

Based on their answers, I discovered the following:

  • No one understood what the game plan was
  • There were no written job descriptions
  • An office policy manual either didn’t exist, or they’d never seen it

Survival mentality was evident in this practice.  Each individual had the same goal—“get my work done and go home as soon as possible”.  The doctor was right, there was no communication, nor did anyone understand the specific role they played in the providing practice success.  Because this doctor had failed to provide clear expectations, the team was floundering.   There were no rewards or pats on the back when things went right; yet, individuals were being blamed by everyone else when things went bad.  

As unfortunate as this situation was, it was not surprising to me.  I had seen these types of behaviors and attitudes many, many times.  This office fishbowl environment had been conditioned by an owner who was not practicing effective leadership.  I looked forward to providing guidance to this doctor and mentoring the team through improved communication.

However, on the day I arrived to facilitate the workshop, the doctor had excused himself, and had left the office.  He assured the staff he’d be back when it was time to see the patient scheduled that afternoon.  This doctor didn’t attend ANY part of the workshop that he had paid me to facilitate to improve HIS practice. 

It was clearly evident to me why the environment of this fishbowl was so turbulent: this doctor must have assumed that all the problems with communication in his practice were the fault of his staff.  He didn’t know that as the leader, he was responsible for the environment of his practice.   

I invite you to respond with examples you’ve seen of both good and bad leadership…

How do you define Leadership?

Since I’m a member of LinkedIn and belong to several consultant and HR groups, I was very interested in a recent question posted by one of the members of one of these groups.
The question was “If you could define leadership in one word, what would that one word be?”
As you can imagine, the response was all over the board, and answers were coming in for months as many discussions ensued.
Without influencing you in any way by revealing what others said, I’d like you to answer the same question here on my blog.
If you could define leadership in one word, what would that one word be?
Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

Baiting the hook

Hello friends and fellow leaders!  Today is the first day of my new blog!
I want to welcome you into my fishbowl as we discuss characteristics of leadership, and how to build our skills and those around us!

Years ago, my young children returned from a school carnival with their “winnings”— 7 goldfish.  Looking at these tiny critters through the plastic bag that held them, it was evident that they were feeder goldfish.  Feeder fish are raised specifically to be food for other larger, more valuable fish. 

I was not keen on goldfish.  However, for the sake of my children I was forced to indulge them and feign fondness for our new fishy friends. 

These “prize” fish had been won in games, and were (by rude definition) “free”, but they couldn’t live in a plastic bag much longer.  Off to the pet store I went to purchase a bowl, gravel, plastic plants, a filter, even an underwater castle.  I also had to get water conditioning drops, and of course—food!  Since this was my first ownership experience with goldfish, I bought a manual titled, “How to Care for your Goldfish”.   Seventy-five dollars and two hours later we had everything set up at home.

I began to read the instruction manual.  Chapter 1: “The Behavior and habits of Goldfish”.  Seriously?  Goldfish have behaviors and habits?  I learned that they do, indeed; and there was nothing fishy about it!

The book said that the habits of goldfish depended on their environment, and were conditioned by the owner.  I also learned that goldfish exhibited a wide range of social behaviors including bullying, chasing other fish and fin-nipping (which sounded painful).

I had an epiphany!  (Perhaps it was more of an efishany).  Whatever it was, I began to see a very strong correlation between these goldfish, their environment and behaviors, and the environment and behaviors I was experiencing at the dental office I worked in at the time.  Some behaviors I’d seen in the office were eerily similar to the behaviors and habits of these Goldfish.

In the dental office I had often been witness to bully-like attitudes, arrogance, and an inability to communicate—and that was just the patients!  I also dealt with an office manager that didn’t like me much, a hygienist that thought she was a prima dona, and two assistants that fought like cats and dogs!  It was a turbulent, often stormy environment!

If at this time, I had written a book called “The Behavior and Habits of Humans”, I would have commented that the habits of office employees depended on their environment, and that those habits were conditioned by the boss.  Furthermore, the range of social behaviors I’d seen were often bully-like, chasing of other humans, and nit-picking.  As I compared the list between fish and fellow-workers, I realized that I was employed in a fishbowl environment!

Everyone in the dental practice I worked in was vying to be the leader in the area of their expertise.  That was a good quality, except we weren’t working as a team.  When we all tried to be the leader, or when there was no clear leader, we’d devolve into nit-picking and bully-like behavior!  Those were the times when I felt like a feeder fish. 

Was my role as an employee merely to “feed” the boss?  To make him or her larger and more valuable, while my talents and skills were overlooked?  That’s certainly what it felt like.

I began to feel a commonality of character with my new goldfish friends.  I had misjudged their worth.  I didn’t know it then, but those goldfish were going to provide me invaluable lessons about leadership, and how to cope with all the different behaviors and personalities at work.

In the following pages I’m going to share what I’ve learned as a team member and a leader in business.  You’ll learn my theory of leadership principles, and how successes are created or mistakes are prevented through the behaviors and attitudes that abound in the environment we live and work in.

I believe we’re all leaders, even when we’re not the “boss”.  You see, the health of a healthcare practice is most often determined by the practice owner—the boss.  If you want a healthy medical or dental practice; or if you want to understand how team members can work harmoniously to stay afloat and be successful, then read on.  This blog will help you determine your leadership style and how to work with every one in your practice—even the patients.  Let’s jump in, shall we?