“What Keeps Leaders Up At Night” Chapter 1: I’m A Good Boss. So Why Do I Sometimes Act Like A Bad One? A good boss sometimes acts like a bad one basically because everyone reacts differently to various situations. Throughout the chapter Nicole gives many reasons and explanations on this particular topic. Just by reading the title of the chapter and giving a response off hand. I would say, most people deal with stress, decision-making, leadership, and various responsibilities in their own way. Some people can’t handle being under pressure as well as others. This goes for students too.
Nicole expanded on three main reasons why good bosses go bad; 1) too busy to win, 2) too proud to see, and 3) too afraid to lose. She says, “Even the best boss in the world can have a bad day. No one escapes the occasional bad mood, irrational thoughts, angry outbursts, nasty self-righteousness, bad decisions, or mistrustful reactions; imperfection makes us human. ” I agree with this because everyone has their days where they just feel overwhelmed. It’s only natural. Nicole also says, “Good leadership requires dealing effectively with messy, quirky, unpredictable, confusing, irrational, and clumsy people. She calls these three reasons “Good Boss Gone Bad Syndrome” symptoms. Too Busy To Win, comes into play when you have a lot on your plate. In some cases it can just be someone’s excuse for not being able to follow through. Nicole states that, “keeping busy may make you happy, but at the same point excessive busyness can overwhelm your coping capabilities. ” Being so busy can interfere with the important things at hand like problem-solving, decision-making, and your best performance. She also says this can result in physical ailments, and in some cases mental health.
Some people can handle a heavy workload but taking on so much is not for everyone. The author says, “Gaining a little self-awareness when you find yourself succumbing to this variation of the good boss gone bad syndrome. ” You should consider solving the problem by asking yourself these three questions; 1) have I gotten so lost in the trees that I can no longer see the forest? 2) Have I taken on extra work thinking I can do it better or because I don’t want to waste time telling someone else how to do it? 3) Have I resisted delegating work because I want my people to like and respect me? Asking yourself questions r even just stopping and taking the time out to calm your nerve and collect yourself is always good. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you definitely have become Too-Busy-To-Win! This also can come from technology because technology has a great impact on society today. Technology plays a part in everyone’s busyness. How? You become very busy when you constantly get continuous interruptions from phone calls, emails, alerts, messages, etc. Nicole said, “The avalanche of information not only overwhelms our personal lives. Difficult personalities, and complicated workplace politics quickly deluge us. Most people hate this state of affairs, and most probably secretly take a certain amount of pride in the fact that they have way too much on their plate. She says, “If you don’t believe that ask yourself one of these four questions, if not all. 1) When I’m busy, do I make that fact known to others? 2) When people see how busy I am, do I think I gain more respect? 3) When I hear other people complain about being too busy, do I feel superior, or on the other hand, a little jealous? 4) When I am idle am I uncomfortable? Do I fill my downtime with a lot of activity? If your answers are positive that reflects a tendency to get too busy to win!
People tend to turn assets into liabilities, just by overusing their energy, talent, and mental or physical prowess. No one really recognizes when they come down with this variation. How would you know that you’ve come to a state of super-saturation? Our bodies and minds can cope with an incredible amount of sensory data, especially during times of short-term stress. We deal with increasing numbers of responsibility until our breaking point and we fall under pressure. If you just think about your current work-load or your last time feeling overloaded and ask yourself if you: 1) lose your temper more quickly? ) Regularly seem more anxious? 3) Get more impatient than usual? Or 4) see and solve new problems more slowly? So basically in my opinion, “Too-Busy-To-Win,” simply means being overwhelmed with work to the point where you lose focus on what you really should be focused on. Too Proud To See, simply means being deeply involved in a situation or business that you fail to take any advice or suggestion from anyone else. According to Nicole this variation means, “That even a competent leader can get temporarily too caught up in the business at hand that they cannot receive the information they need to make an informed decision. ” In her xample she tells us about the Lieutenant who was too wrapped up in his own ideas and thought he had a master plan. He died in battle, when he could’ve still had his life if he would’ve been open-minded to his troops’ ideas. I’ve experienced this also with my basketball coach. She was always so focused on winning the games that she never listened to any of our suggestions during games. One game we were down by four points with one minute left on the clock. When she called our last time-out she was giving us a play that I just knew wasn’t going to work, so I interrupted to tell her my idea that I knew for sure would help us take the win.
She wasn’t trying to hear that. When we ran her play it backfired and the other team took the win, she was devastated. I thought about running my idea but I didn’t want to go against what she wanted, I respected her. This happens to the best of us. Sometimes we can be conceited or just plain out selfish without noticing. Nicole states three problem-bound behaviors involved in this variation. They include; 1) letting yourself get so tied to an idea that you won’t let it go, 2) refusing to heed the advice of others, 3) relying on your past successes at the expense of weighing different patterns, options, or solutions.
Doing any of these behaviors can impair your integrity as a leader. They damage more than just your performance and/or abundance. Nicole quotes a great American author , Anais Nin, who said, “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are. ” Another example that the author Nicole Lipkin gives on the variation “Too-Proud-To-See,” is the experiment that was conducted at Stanford University by Charles Lord, Lee Ross, and Mark Lepper. This also helped me get a better idea of what this variation of the good boss gone bad syndrome truly means.
It basically proves that once people have their minds set on one thing or idea in particular they tend to stick with it no matter what. This understanding then became known as the “Confirmation Bias. ” Which is what causes us to seek out information that supports our views and beliefs and to give more weight to confirming information, while discounting or not noticing information that contradicts our point of view. Too Afraid To Lose, simply means you’re so focused on your outcome that you can’t catch a grip on the job or task at hand. You tend to make bad decisions, behave stupidly and out of character.
The author says, “Good bosses who fall into this trap often worry about appearing weak. They mistakenly associate failure and mistakes with weakness and incompetence. ” She also says,” a leader who shies away from certain risks not only hurts him/herself but also hampers everyone else’s ability to forge ahead and get the job done. ” In other words “choking. ” A few reasons she shares for this variation are: 1) worry excessively about failing to get the right result. 2) Question and second-guess every step along the way. 3) Avoid decisions and commitments that might cause mistakes. ) Get involved in every detail, particularly as deadlines loom. Self-efficacy is a key factor as to why people suffer from this common ailment, according to psychologists. Depending on the situation this can fluctuate. Psychologist Albert Bandura says, “self-efficacy is a person’s belief that they can achieve a particular goal/outcome. ” He also states that, “a person’s ability, cognitive skills, and attitudes constitute that person’s self-system, which determines how that individual perceives and reacts to a given situation. You are the engine and self-efficacy is the fuel. This variation comes with a lot of doubt in yourself and others, second-guessing everything. Nicole says that, “it’s easy to slide into this mode, but it’s not so easy to pull yourself out. ” Albert Bandura gives a list of leaders with a strong sense of self-efficacy and leaders with a weak sense of self-efficacy telling what they tend to do. A few from a strong leader are; 1) maintaining a strong sense of commitment. 2) Recovering quickly from setbacks. 3) Believing that success depends on hard work. A weak leader; 1) Avoids challenging tasks. 2) Puts less effort into accomplishing a task or goal.
And 3) questioning whether they can succeed. Confirmation Bias, according to Nicole’s research, is a phenomenon that causes us to seek out information that supports our views or beliefs and to give more weight to confirming information. While discounting or not noticing information that contradicts our point of view. Confirmation biases includes: biases research, biased interpretations, and biased memory. Studies that took place at Emory University states that, “Motivated reasoning triggers our emotional centers, and once that happens we cannot easily change feelings, opinions, and decisions.
In fact, we get pleasure out of finding consistencies and agreement. ” I believe this has happened to me plenty of times before. Since, this is basically having your own perception of something and not wanting to hear anyone else’s ideas even if they’re right or have facts. With me, I love to be right so if I’m doing research or in the middle of an argument. I can have true facts and someone else can come with facts that contradict what I’ve proven and I wouldn’t even consider anything they said because I just know there could be no way I would change my feelings or opinion!
The cure for confirmation bias, is basically keeping an eye out for it so you can keep control of it. Once you get this understood there is no way it could interfere with your leadership. I believe being a great leader mean keeping an open-mind and being self-aware to these things. Self-awareness is the primary defense against confirmation bias anyhow. To analyze confirmation bias behavior in your own leadership acts, Nicole gives eight questions you should ask yourself. 1) Did the difference in opinion launch the battle? 2) Did the parties marshal facts support their respective positions? ) Did either side ever strive to separate hard facts from purely subjective opinions? 4) Did either party genuinely consider the other’s point of view? 5) Did any new facts alter either party’s belief? 6) Did either person ever say, “That’s a good point? ” 7) Did the change of heart undermine mutual respect? Proceeding to do this small exercise from time to time, can and will ultimately result in better decision making, improved judgment, more satisfying interpersonal relationships, and enhanced leadership effectiveness.
Chapter 2: Why Don’t People Heed My Sage Advice? According to Nicole; influence, persuasion, and manipulation means three completely different things than what myself or any of my peers are familiar with. Influence is basically the upper hand over something or somebody. “Influence requires winning the minds and hearts of your audience and thus inspires action. “Persuasion is simply making someone believe they need to do something because it’s right or just because they should. “Persuasion stimulates a person to action because it makes intellectual sense. Manipulation to my knowledge is no different from influence or persuasion. In fact, people use manipulation for their own benefit, using it against someone that you can persuade and/or influence to get what you need or want. “Manipulation crosses a fine line between persuasion and influence. It replaces the welfare and benefit of the group with the selfish desires of the individual. ” The author defines power as the ability to exercise influence. You can’t achieve influence without power. You can’t exercise power without a relationship. She says that influence occurs within relationships.
The seven distinct types of power are: Legitimate Power, Coercive Power, Expert Power, Informational Power, Reward Power, Referent Power, and Connection Power. Legitimate Power is someone having a certain position that they deserve and the people look up to them and respect their authority. Coercive Power is influencing other people to do what you want by making them afraid of you, threatening them with something precious to them such as their job. Expert Power is having the right knowledge and skills that will influence people to follow through with you.
Influential Power is having access to certain information that people have to come through you first to see this particular information. Reward Power is being in control of what promotions and raises people get, this will motivate action. Referent Power is having certain personal traits in which you can influence anyone to do anything because they respect you and the person you are. Connection Power is being able to build relationships with others and influence them to do anything so they won’t lose or break that particular relationship.
Nicole says that: “a successful leader often relies on referent power to influence people because it most effectively breeds credibility. ” “Even if people admire a leader’s personal traits and values, they might still ignore the leader’s message. ” For me, personally, I might not listen or catch the message if the speaker didn’t grab my attention by relating to something I would understand. Or if they didn’t have a sense of humor. According to the author, there are four strategies to creating a compelling message that gets through: Telling stories, filling in the blanks, Levels of buy-in, and Delivering the message.
Telling a story will most definitely help you get your message across because if you have a boring topic, it makes it more interesting to listen to. It actually catches your audience’s attention and makes them want to listen to you or hear you out. They create pictures in people’s minds. “Nothing can help a leader become more convincing than coupling an important message with an unforgettable story. “Filling in the Blanks” in Chapter 1, I learned that people don’t see things the way everyone else wants them to.
Filling in the blanks partners with telling stories because a story can provide common ground where people can share an experience with others. Even though people will have their own perception of a story, all around everyone gets the point. The author considers a story a universal connector, which helps you make sense of something. When you hear or read one your mind fills in the blanks (what you don’t know or understand) until you can see it all happening in your mind’s eye. Since a story triggers different parts of the brain, including our emotional powerhouse, from those stimulate by a simple presentation of facts.
Nicole gives a mind teaser to prove what she’s saying. The teaser is a small paragraph where each word’s letters are out of order except for the first and last letter. When you read this you can easily figure out that it’s not hard to read. This is your brain taking shortcuts to fill in the blanks. Nicole says: “In the same way, our minds complete stories and experiences for us. It’s in our nature to complete a story and come under its influence. It makes us feel comfortable and trusting. ” Basically if you want people to listen and pay attention to you or actually learn something from you, tell a story. Levels of Buy-In” trying to influence people to change their attitude or behavior. In order to do this you need them to buy into the change. You can do this with a powerful message. To guarantee that you made a change you need to address the three different levels of buy-in. Level one being the basic level where facts and figures go to work. This level doesn’t bring upon any change because facts don’t trigger any emotion. Level two is where your emotions come in and begin to influence your behavior. The facts trigger an emotional center in our brains.
Hearing a story that catches your attention will convince you to change your behavior. This message was more influential. Level three states that a story told from personal experience by another person, carries the greatest influence. If you make an influential message personal, it can most definitely motivate behavior, and change values and attitudes. You have to tell your story the right way, not to scare people or make people not want to take you seriously. You have to make sure they get the right message. “Delivering the Message” When giving a message or just speaking in front of a crowd you must know your audience. The best communicators and influencers can read their audience and adapt their presentation to that audience’s background and preferences. A skillful style-flexer can talk to people both similar and dissimilar in a way that makes both parties feel valued and respected. “Adaptive Influence is adjusting your influence style in a way that accounts for the varying expectations, abilities, and personalities of your audience. A good communicator and great style-flexer has mastered this specific style. A good relational philosophy according to Nicole consists of about eleven different characteristics.
To helps change out unconscious behavior, that everyone depends on day in and day out, with a conscious relational philosophy. This is good for anyone because everyone can and will benefit from a productive relationship. It is pretty hard to change the way you interact with others but sometimes change is good. “It’s always easier to rely on what you’ve always done, even when your approach causes problems and undermines your leadership. ” Nicole states. Everyone can use a little change to their approach especially if it makes you a better person as well. As said by the author, a good relational philosophy; 1) Builds consensus and support. ) Inspires others and arouses enthusiasm 3) Recognizes values, and appropriately rewards people’s strengths 4) Tactfully addresses areas requiring development 5) Challenges others and promotes critical thinking, innovation, and creativity 6) Recognizes different perspectives, resolves conflicts, and brings people together 7) Collaborates and promotes a collaborative environment 8) Maintains empathy and promotes awareness of emotional cues 9) Facilitates listening to and hearing others 10) Demonstrates trustworthiness, conscientiousness, and perceptiveness. 1) Fosters internal and external relationships. A good leader can withhold these characteristics and this also means they display a great amount of referent power. Listening is a key factor in life. It’s also something a good leader should be able to do very well. Being a leader who is a good listener is a great characteristic. The people who look up to you will definitely love the fact that you listen to their ideas, suggestion, problems, and more. Anyone can say they’re listening but did you really hear what you’re listening to? There are many exercises you can do to improve your listening skills. The uthor says these exercises will improve your ability to suspend judgment and really hear what others are saying. Your listening muscle and your empathy muscle are both major qualities of a great leader. There are five steps for active listening. Step one: you have to shut up and listen to who’s talking. We all tend to judge what someone else is saying or finish their sentences before they do because we want them to shut up and give up the floor. Step two: Listen and look for any feelings or emotions beyond their words. Most of us show our emotion behind our words or where most people wouldn’t pay attention.
But there is a select few words that will express emotion and the only way you’ll catch them is if you really listen. Step three: Never mock. But simply repeat or summarize what you believe you heard just to make sure you understood what you heard. IF you paraphrase or ask any questions about and feelings or emotions you may think you saw or heard will give that person a sense of stability. Everyone loves for their feelings to be acknowledged. Step four: Give your own thoughts about what you heard without judging. Doing this will ruin any relationships you have with this person. Just make comments.
Step five: Pay attention to how they respond to your comments and opinions. If you see a change in their body language or how they begin to speak afterwards acknowledge it. Do so in a calm way and this will further the discussion or conversation in a civilized manner. Our body language tells others a lot about us. It also interprets how people take your message. Nicole states, “Everyone knows that communication involves more than mere words. We convey strong messages with our bodies, specially our facial expressions, hand gestures, and postures, not to mention the tone and inflection of our words. I believe if people don’t pay attention to anything else, trust they will notice your body language. This can make or break you! Chapter 3: Why Do I Lose My Cool In Hot Situations? Stress is something we all face in everyday life. I’m stressing over this assignment at this very moment. On a regular basis, it seems as though I’m stressing from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. I might even be stressing in my sleep; it feels like I am. There are two specific forms of stress: Eustress, which is a good type of stress; and Distress, a bad type of stress. We experience eustress from anything positive going on in ur lives. Like getting an A on this report. Then there’s distress that occurs with negative experiences. If you don’t manage distress it can cause physical and mental health problems. These could consist of heart attacks, strokes, anxiety, depression, and/or worse. Managing your stress and it’s levels is mandatory because unbelievably stress can be a good thing. Sometimes stress helps us get the job done properly. This includes being under pressure. I experienced under pressure stress for the first time in high school. When I did my senior project presentation, I was stressing, and turns out I did a great job.
This also happened during my FBLA final presentation. Again, I was nervous and stressing and as it turns out the judges loved me! I believe for me personally stress makes me perform better under pressure. If you find yourself unable to cope with a certain challenge everyone tends to do the same thing. Like Nicole says, “You will likely find yourself battered by a perfect storm of emotional, cognitive, and physical chaos. Your face flushes, your heart races, and your brain stops functioning properly. ” She says we have to learn to turn stressful situations into something soothing to our minds.
I tend to zone things out when it gets to be too much for me. In order for a leader to solve a particular problem or determine their stress level, it all starts with an inventory of their “stress personality. ” Our bodies react to stress whether it be acute or chronic quicker than our brains, a certain person’s beliefs can determine what stresses them out. “When it comes to all the little stressors (or big ones that impact us personally,) demanding deadlines, noise pollution, and relationship problems, we bring a unique set of beliefs and perceptions to these situations,” Nicole states.
She did her research on “The Signs and Symptoms of Stress,” from the Cleveland Clinic website. A few cognitive symptoms are: lack of concentration, indecisiveness, poor judgement, and a negative attitude. Emotional symptoms: moodiness and restlessness, tension and anxiety, sense of isolation, depression, or sadness. Physical symptoms: insomnia, colds, weight gain or loss, sleeping more or less, relationship conflict, jaw clinching, procrastination and combativeness. These signs describe the interaction among a stressor, and that person’s perceived ability to cope with it. Talking to yourself is another way you can cope with stress.
This is a way to calm yourself down. Then again this can be a bad thing to do , depending on how you talk to yourself. Often we turn positive self-talk into negative self-talk. We never actually stop and think about what we were really saying to ourselves. “Not surprisingly, negative self-talk can prompt our stress response because negative musings often distort reality” said Nicole Lipkin. A cognitive distortion would be jumping to conclusions (mind reading). What that is; lacking sufficient information you assume that you know how someone feels and why they act the way they do.
An example being; he yawned while you were talking. So therefore he thinks you’re boring. Everyone experiences one distortion here and there. We can cope with stress very well if we listen to that inner voice that encourages us to push hard and keep trying, which is always a good thing. In this chapter the section where the author elaborates on talking to yourself interests me the most. In agreement with the fact that negative self-talk can distort reality, I really enjoyed reading the different categories of cognitive distortions.
These are basically irrational thought patterns that are believed to support the effects of psychopathological states like depression and anxiety. Chapter 4: Why Does A Good Fight Sometimes Go Bad? Competition is something we all depend on. We stay trying to make ourselves better, stronger, or even smarter than the next. We also get arousal from putting others down while trying to make our way to the top. Just as Nicole stated, “Competition stems from our natural tendency to pay attention to what surrounds us. ” When we try to separate or make ourselves better than those around us brings out a very competitive behavior.
Then we feel the need to protect our feelings of superiority or diminish our feelings of inferiority, as reported by Stephen Garcia and Arishalom Tor. Competition is healthy, though. The benefits of healthy competition include: 1) Greater Innovation 2) Increased Motivation 3) Improved Productivity 4) Increased Self-Improvement 5) Enhanced Teamwork 6) Boosted Engagement 7) More Fun! I agree most definitely with enhanced teamwork because if you’re working with a team that has a few competitive team members is always a good thing.
This way you all will come together much stronger because you have a common goal in mind. But this healthy competition can easily turn into destructive competition and its disadvantages include: 1)Sapping Motivation 2) Killing Collaborative Processes 3) Stunting Performance and Productivity 4) Increasing Stress 5) Ruining Reputation There are also a few signs that tell you when a good fight has crossed the line; starting to resent another’s success, concentrating on your competitor’s weaknesses and feeling ashamed when you lose a battle instead of using it as a learning experience to better yourself.
When trying to deal with your emotions from a good fight gone badly, first address your self-esteem. The author states that, “these issues lie at the core of a person’s identity and involve some of the most raw and most powerful of human emotions. ” These emotions will be playing the victim and taking no responsibility or going on an attack and blaming everyone but yourself. These emotions stem from a large amount of envy. You have to gain self-awareness as a good leader you should take a personal inventory if you’re envying someone else’s success.
There are four questions you can ask yourself, one being: “Have I acted on my feelings by sabotaging the target of my envy? ” In the chapter the section explaining competition caught my eye. You would never really think competition went that deep in the work place. The fact that it does makes you want to learn more on why and how. The author explained it thoroughly throughout the section. Chapter 6: Why Do People Resist Change? Change isn’t something people just willingly want to do.
We’re so used to what we already do, say, and act like that we feel changing would mean changing who we are completely. See, what we fail to realize is that most of the time, change is good if not great. It doesn’t mean you’re changing who you are as a person over all, it just means you’re changing small particular aspects in your personality to better yourself all around. The way the brain operates, it can interfere with critical thinking and decision making.
This happens because we seldom welcome change gladly, and the brain’s hard wiring predisposes us to habitual, routine behavior and decision making. It is possible to change the way your brain works so you can learn to feel comfortable with change, Nicole says. Resisting change is pretty much the same for individuals, organizations, different cultures, and teams. These particular people, well all of us avoid changing the way things are because of myopic decision making, poor information, financier fear, and ignorance of market demands.
Financial fear goes for many organizations. They stick to the same routines and are afraid of change mainly because they are ignorant to financial information or market demands. I believe this could be why a lot of organizations fail. This chapter had a very interesting section on resistance. You never think that most organizations or big successful businesses fail simply because they’re afraid of change. Or just the fact that they lack the information they need to succeed.