Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Fools on Parade

Volume: April 2009

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com

One of my favorite April Fool’s Day jokes was pulled off by a local radio station. As alarms around the area went off that morning sleepy slumberers were greeted to nothing but Led Zeppelin music. During breaks, the somber voice of a lone DJ (their late night guy) announced to people that the popular morning crew, as well as their successful format were all gone. The station, he claimed, had been sold and the format had been changed to all Led Zeppelin, all the time. The station’s phone lines lit up that morning as callers either expressed their ire over the departure of their beloved morning team, or rejoiced with jubilance over the second coming of their favorite band. It was a good bit that stirred a great deal of foolishness.

There are other places where a great deal of foolishness is also taking place – and not just on April Fool’s Day. Check your workplace and see if any of the following foolish practices are flourishing.

Closed Door Meetings Without Subsequent Explanation – Nothing quite freaks out team members like seeing their boss’s door closed. Has yours been closed a lot this year? If it has, strive to communicate to your team before it will be closed. And most certainly, after you emerge from a closed door meeting do your best to communicate some level of detail with your people. Communication is particularly important for those of you out there who were never big door-closers before, but find yourself closing doors with some frequency of late.
Bottom Line: Good leaders are visible, even more so during tenuous times.

No Implementation of Change – What I mean here is to embrace the distinction that change is not about the past, rather, it is about creating something new. I cover this topic in detail in my book, Leadership Simplified. Leading change is about making the “new” magical (if possible), and taking the fear out of change.
Bottom Line: Leaders who are change agents take their team through a process that delivers a fighting chance of understanding the psychology of change, and a construct whereby team members begin to rationalize why they should embrace it.

Confused Priorities – During turbulent, changing times, priorities shift. So let me ask you this question: “What kind of priorities are you communicating?” I guarantee you that if you become distracted by much of the negative swirl that has become commonplace, so too will be your team and their priorities. You cannot expect your team to execute flawlessly if you are in a panic, make sarcastic remarks about your business situation, or hold a bevy of closed-door meetings.
Bottom Line: Enlightened leaders use a Priority Communication Tool (outlined nicely in a spiffy little business book mentioned previously) that enables them to effectively communicate their vision and changing mission to their team.

Allowing Morale to Sink into the Abyss – While it is inadvisable to create a false sense of hope. Some sense of hope is always needed in order for team members to function properly. So, no matter what direction your business is headed – and plenty of you are headed upward – lock in on hopeful trends and opportunities in your world, and paint a picture for your team of how those items can positively impact their lives.
Bottom Line: Talented leaders pull morale up by its bootstraps and don’t stand for sullenness in the workplace.    

Forgetting to say “Woo Hoo” – Good things are always happening – perhaps less good things than in the past, but never neglect opportunities to celebrate. In fact, now is a great time to challenge your team to come up with creative, low-expense ways to celebrate their achievements.
Bottom Line: Leaders drive enthusiasm. Catch and acknowledge the terrific-ness in people.

So on this day of hijinks (or any day for that matter), don’t be a fool. Be visible and pragmatically positive. Lead change and discover the new. Until next time…..be well!  

Doug Van Dyke is a leadership and communication consultant, executive coach, and business planner. His book, Leadership Simplified, as well as audios and video are available at the Productivity Store of www.leadershipsimplified.com. To learn more about consulting services, coaching, and training, or to have Doug speak at your next event, contact him today at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or at 941-776-1121.

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