3 Signs Your Team is Malfunctioning

You have to identify the malfunction. Determine what it costs to fix it? And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.

The check engine light pops on in your automobile and you look in your handbook to find out you need to take your car to the dealership to have a million dollars worth of work done to it.  Your vehicle has many different components that have different functions but all work simultaneously to allow for a smooth ride and safe travels.  When one of those components malfunction, it sets off the check engine light indicating that something is wrong with the car.

This is exactly how teams work.  Everyone has different functions, but every member works together to create a high functioning unit.  When one of the members gets out of wack, we have a malfunction within the group, and the team suffers for it.  Not only the team, but every individual or company that the team directly affects.

I want to give you 3 signs that your team is malfunctioning.

1.) Leadership is Dysfunctional  

Have you ever known a team whose weakest link was the leader?  The team is determined, they have skills, they have passion, but they have no direction and instruction.

There have been ball players that were amazing at playing the game, but when they retired and tried their hand at coaching, their teams suffered and never succeeded.  Why?  Because they were good ball players and captains, but they lacked leadership skills and the ability to facilitate their players to the playoffs or championships.

We hear about people that have the money to purchase a business, hire employees, and even do some type of marketing.  But the business goes under or suffers for years. Why?  Because the leadership is toxic and lacks the leadership skills to meet the needs of their people or customers.

It’s not difficult to find signs of leadership dysfunction in most organizations – all you have to do is open your eyes.

-Mike Myatt

Here are four signs of a dysfunctional leader:

  • They seek ultimate control vs. liberating their employees
  • They are always negative vs. being inspiring
  • Always threatening vs. being instructing
  • They take up petty issues vs. being constructive

To build dynamic teams and keep them running smoothly and efficiently, quality leadership is a must.  It’s imperative that we leaders reclaim the spirit of true leadership and seek to guide and coach our teams to be well running machines.  If the leadership malfunctions, the rest of the vehicle doesn’t run right.

2.)  The Atmosphere is Toxic

Once again the leadership is a catalyst for setting the right atmosphere.  If the atmosphere is toxic your team will suffer.  How many of you have been apart of a team that suffocated from an environment that choked the life out of your group?

Automobiles can create an atmosphere full of smog and pollution.  That is why they have components on the car that recycle exhaust, and maintenance that cleans out the carbon build up.  When the proper maintenance is done to a vehicle the Malfunction Indicator Lamp illuminates indicating an issue with various parts.

To have the right atmosphere we must have constant maintenance and the right components in place to absorb the bad pollution.  For example:

  • Encourage unity instead of gossip and bad attitudes
  • Reward for good behavior and meeting goals instead of nit picking every little mistake
  • MICROMANAGING pollutes the atmosphere
  • Shut down clicks and always work on team building
  • Developing clear cut boundaries and rules instead of setting unrealistic and unclear expectations 

I am sure their are many more thoughts and maybe you can comment on some ideas that you have.  But I know this for sure, there are things we can do to clear up the atmosphere that allows our teams to perform at the maximum level.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

-Ken Blanchard

“As long as I have this one person, my business, my team will be A-OK!”  Only problem with this attitude is when you take out that one person your team suffers.  But a good environment that fosters teamwork will bring everyone to the same level of efficiency and the team will succeed no matter what’s thrown at them.

3.  Leaders Fail to Produce Leaders

Notice a common thread here?  Leaders fail!  Leaders, please take responsibility for your team, no matter if it’s at work, at home, on the field, or at church.

We as leaders face a daunting task, and that is to create leaders around us.  Your organization will only rise as your team rises.  If you do not want your team to be dysfunctional, then the best way to remedy this is to create a ladder for everyone to get on so they can go up.

Creating a tight group of people and fostering growth will develop a foundation for future leaders.

Training, training, training is everything.  Knowledge is power.  Giving them the information that they need to succeed will determine the type of leader they will be.  Technical skills, people skills, and personal development training would be a great start to growing leaders.

Goal setting and projecting.  Maintaining a strict goal program.  Cast the vision and maintain steps to meeting these goals.  People get bored and anxious when they just have a job to do.  They want purpose and they want to make a difference.

Give individual team members responsibilities.  Allow them to make decisions and coach them along the way.  Allow for failure and mistakes.  Remember, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT!

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

― William Arthur Ward

Determining to take your team to the next level demonstrates the type of leader you are.  Making a difference in their lives, and helping them grow the leader within them should be your ultimate goal.  By doing this you reduce stress, create great customer interactions, the loyalty and morality will rise.  They will care about the business not just a paycheck.  They will care about the team and the family versus their own good.  It has always and will always be about others.

Conclusion:

Is your check engine light on in your team?  Is there a malfunction and dysfunction somewhere?

You have to identify the malfunction.  Determine what it costs to fix it?  And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.  Do not let your team become dysfunctional, and if you inherited that kind of team, take the challenge and grow with them!

Dustin L. Carr

thesuccessfulleader.blog

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Leading Through Hell and Back

Leading through hell and back is a blog about guiding others and yourself through the most difficult circumstances.

While leading people, you lead them through the sunshine and rain, the good times and the bad, and sometimes it’s heaven and sometimes it feels like hell.  Now I am not speaking entirely in the business world, but rather leaders in a general sense.

Many different individuals, some famous and some are not, that in the course of their life have trudged through the hardest of times, in the most difficult of circumstances.  Allow me to give you a few examples.

Mahatma Gandhi- This man is a famed figure for his non-violent civil disobedience, leading India to its independence.  This man was assassinated in 1948 with three bullets to the chest.  Gandhi truly was a leader, but it ultimately cost him his life.

Martin Luther King Jr.- MLK was an amazing figure in America’s history.  He was immortalized for his stand against racism and segregation.  This Baptist minister charged the gates of Hell with his passionate messages of equality and ultimately gave his life in the month of April 1968.

Susan B. Anthony- The face of the dollar coin, this pioneer of women’s rights forged a path that few would dare to walk.  She paved the way for women voting, even being arrested and accused of destroying the sanctity of marriage.  Her impact is still being felt today.  But the road was long and hard for this leader.

Many of the liberties that we enjoy today are the product of leaders storming through the violent fires of resistance and persecution.  I want to provide you with a few ideas to help you lead in the toughest of times and encourage you to lead when you feel the heat beating upon your life.

1. Identify Your Calling

What is it that stirs a passion in your heart?  Keeps you awake at night, with your mind racing a hundred miles per hour.  It calls out to you and drives you to near insanity because you cannot seem to wrap your arms around such a mammoth task.

People are called to many different causes.  Some are called to find a cure for various diseases.  We find people in the states that take up social causes, as well as in foreign countries where clean water is scarce, governments are corrupt, and views on women are low.  You can go to our military in the past and present and find men and women that lead a group of soldiers into the jaws of hell, with some giving their very lives to protect those of us here at home.

Teachers, business people, industry leaders, politicians, clergy, parents, coaches, mentors, police, firefighters, military personnel, and many other leaders that find themselves up against the odds and having to lead through difficult circumstances.  Here are three things that having a calling will do for you:

  • Gives you stick-ability:  A calling will plant your feet in concrete and allow you to stand and lead though everything is against you.
  • Gives you encouragement:  When it seems like you are up against it all, you can always go back to your calling and remember why you began this path in the first place.
  • Keeps you zoned in:  When you have a calling you seek to master that one thing.  You won’t let the winds scatter you all over the place, but rather you are the thin arrow flying down a very narrow path hitting the bulls eye.

“If you find what you do each day seems to have no link to any higher purpose, you probably want to rethink what you’re doing.”
― Ronald A. Heifetz

Do you have a calling?  If the path you are on leads you into the presence of strong difficulty, you better have a calling if you want to remain faithful to your cause.  Find your calling today, or better yet, answer the call that’s been nagging you for years.

2.  Develop Fortitude

The definition of fortitude is, courage in the midst of pain and adversity.  Listen, leadership is going to require a great deal out of you.  You may find yourself in a great deal of trouble and fearful situations and you will need courage to face them head on.

Most people have never heard of Desmond Doss, until recently a movie titled “Hacksaw Ridge” directed by Mel Gibson, was showing in theaters.  Desmond was a Seventh Day Adventist that did not believe in carrying a gun.  Oddly enough, he enlisted in the military to serve the US Army as a medic.  Doss found himself in WWII at the battle of Okinawa, with many calling him a coward and questioning his beliefs as a conscientious objector.

During a major counter-attack the Japanese wreaked havoc on top of “Hacksaw Ridge.”  While most of his comrades took cover Desmond Doss, through much fortitude, rescued the lives of 75 infantry men atop of that blood soaked hill while sustaining four major injuries himself.

It’s men and women like this that can lead people through hell and back.  Leaders with fortitude and a back bone to face the most incredible challenges and endure such amazing conflicts.

I know of no higher fortitude than stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds.

-Louis Nizer

May we have leaders with the utmost courage and strength.  No matter the circumstance or battle you may face, the deep calling, and a healthy dose of courage will help you when it seems all hell has broke loose.

3.  Remember Those Behind You

Never forget, as a leader, when you are going through the fire, there are those going with you through the same fire.

For various reasons you are the leader.  You have proven yourself and have gained the position of leadership.  Therefore, there is a great responsibility given to you for those you lead.  Everyone is looking to you for guidance, instruction, and yes, inspiration.

There are a few things you can do to maintain your focus on those around you when you are going through difficult times:

  • Give them a job to do– I remember as a boy when our power went out for several days because of an ice storm and as a kid I was pretty scared.  But dad instructed me to go out back and carry wood in, and let me know I was an important part to this family during this difficult time.
  • Show them you trust them– Similar to giving them a job to do, but taking it a step further, you are transferring to them that you have confidence in there ability to handle complex problems in the midst of turmoil.
  • Lock arm in arm– I tell my guys all the time, we win as a team and we fail as a team.  Leaders shouldn’t shirk their responsibilities when all hell pours out, but instead get in the furnace with them, leading and comforting them along the way.

There was a sign I read the other day that said, “The comfort zone can be a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”

 -Someone a lot cooler than me said that!

It’s during these hellish battles that we grow together, the team matures, and your leadership abilities develop even greater.  There are some things that you just can’t learn outside of the hard times.

Conclusion

So the next time you have to lead a group of individuals through the fires of Hell, never forget that these trials are for your benefit, and even though you want to focus on the hear and now, let us cast our eyes on the horizon to view the lesson and benefits that we shall receive through much patience, fortitude, and strength.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill 

 

 

3 Ways to Deal With a Pessimist

Do have that one person in your life that is a pessimist? Here’s a few examples on how to deal with them.

Let us take a line from one of our favorite pessimist, He turned around angrily on the others and said “Everybody crowds round so in this Forest. There’s no space. I never saw a more spreading lot of animals in my life, and in all the wrong places.”  That was Eeyore, our depressed little donkey from Winnie the Pooh.

Thousands of people have the same mentality as Eeyore, they are gloomy, negative, downbeat, defeatist, and feel as if the world is going to end.  Another term I always use is melancholy.  This is a person or personality that is always sad, sorrowful, faces depression and unhappiness.  The cloud is always following this person.

Now we all get pessimistic and melancholy from time to time.  Even as leaders we get gloomy and depressed, seeing the glass of water as half empty sometimes.  But it shouldn’t define who we are and our personalities as leaders.

Let me give you 3 ways on how to deal with a pessimist:

1. Understand Yourself First

That may sound strange when dealing with someone else, but it was a very valuable lesson passed down from one of my life long mentors.  Before I can deal with someone else’s attitude and seek to change the atmosphere, I must first understand myself and deal with my own attitude.

When you lead your team, your family, or congregation, ensure that your attitude is top priority, that you have completed maintenance on yourself so that when you go to lead you can lead with the utmost confidence.

“Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

It is not that we should have the “me first” mentality but rather the “if I am not right as the leader, nothing around me will be right” mentality.

Tell yourself this over and over.  “I must start with me.  I must look in the mirror.  I must evaluate myself.  I must change myself.  I must change my thinking, my attitude, and my outlook.  If I worried more about myself as I did others, I would be a better person.  If I changed myself more than I tried to change others I would be a better leader.”

Now that we have laid a foundation, let us look at the second thing we should do.

2.  Have The Pessimist’ Best Interest In Mind

When you get depression negativity, sadness, and attitude together, you have have a concoction straight from the pits of Hell itself.  It is a brew that boils and steams, then poisons every individual that dare partakes of that devilish drink.

As a leader we surround ourselves with individuals of different personalities and walks of life.  Different races, backgrounds, and religions form our teams and those we come in contact with.  Unfortunately, we must understand that we do not have the luxury of choosing the cream of the crop top notch attitudes in every situation.  And many times we simply have to work with what we’ve got.

So how do I work with a pessimist?  Well one thing you can do is make sure your attitude is one that has this person’s best interest in mind.  What is your ultimate goal with this individual?  Do you really care for them?

You don’t want to manipulate and hijack their personalities, although that’s a thought! LOL!  Here are a few ways you can have their best interest in mind.

  • Show them you care
  • Congratulate and reward the desired behavior
  • By all means work on their weaknesses, but magnify their strengths
  • Lead by example.  “A positive attitude is better caught than taught!”

Show this person that you value their input and they have a very valuable place on your team.  People tend to want to be involved and make things work when they feel they aren’t alienated and sense that they are an integral part of the family, team, or congregation.

3.  Communication Is Key

According to HBR.com there are three ways to deal with a pessimist:

  • Create Awareness
  • Reposition Negative Statements
  • Involve the Whole Team

Unraveling these three actions would take a lot longer than one blog, but the thread that binds them together, is great communication.

Most leaders get and remain frustrated at these individuals and cannot properly lead them.  This is mainly a cause of not having the proper communication skills necessary to facilitate individuals of with different personalities.

Here are the 4 “Be’s” we can do to improve our communication with pessimistic people.

  1. Be honest-Do not let this attitude slip by.  It can disease the whole team and undermine your ultimate goals.
  2. Be patient-Building effective teams does not happen over night.  Helping a person maintain a positive attitude day in and day out will ultimately create the desired outlook in their lives.
  3. Be proactive-Always work on it.  Spend time encouraging, instructing, and guiding.  Teach!  Teach!  Teach!
  4. Be firm-If this person is absolutely not willing to change, fire them!  Fire them from the team, from being your friend, or remove them from your organization.  Cancer spreads and so do pessimistic people.  Some people will never come to grips how their attitude affects everything and everybody.

As leaders we should master our verbal and non verbal cues to dealing with different personalities.  You should position yourself in such way that you can help lead these types of personalities to being productive teams members.

In conclusion,

The leader is a person with a vision, that understands their team, and the different personalities that the individual represents.  They can take these personalities and maximize their strengths so that the entire team compliments one another and in turn deliver the ultimate demonstration of teamwork.

This means at times we have to work with less desirable personalities.  But it also means it gives us an opportunity to be true leaders.   Are you up for the challenge?  Do you see what you need to do?  Think of your own ideas, I would love to hear from you on your thoughts.  Keep on leading and one day you will be the successful leader that you have always dreamed about.

 

Dustin L. Carr

thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

 

3 Ways To Deal With Negativity

How many of you have “those” people in your life that are negative? Here’s a good starting place dealing with this issue.

To some people it is just second nature.  To others it is their main nature.  A carnal beast lurking around your mind, scouting the first available opportunity to tear into your brain and emotions  with the utmost furiosity.

This is the challenge of the individual that seeks a positive lifestyle, and like Jeffrey Gitomer says, “A YES attitude!”  The challenge is to stay positive in a negative world.  Let us look at a few reason why people become negative.

  • They were raised in a negative household and never broke the curse.
  • They aren’t fulfilling their dreams, so they knock you for yours.
  • They aren’t happy with themselves.  If they can’t be happy neither will you.
  • They live in a comfort zone, and if you disturb it, then they will disturb you.
  • They have tunnel vision.  If you have different ideas, they will stamp them out.

Turn on the evening news, go to a town hall, visit the average church, view your Facebook, or look at your job and those you work with and you will find this world is reeling from a cataclysmic burst of negativity.

Allow me to give you a few ways to handle negativity:

1. Accept The Challenge

When I come across negative people, the temptation is to be negative back.  But on the contrary we should use this as an opportunity to inject positiveness into someones life.  Your life is surrounded by negative people, and when you are outnumbered the best thing to do is overcome it by remaining positive.

It takes lots of discipline to remain positive.   Your patience will be tested, you attitude will be checked, and it definitely will challenge you.  But accept the challenge, because you can make a difference in others.

I had a boss once that told me, when a customer pulls on the drive, and they ask how you are, you look them in the eyes, smile, and say, “The best you have ever seen!”  So I accepted the challenge and I made it my purpose to say it every time, and customers jaws would drop, they couldn’t believe that someone was so happy.  I have built a lot of friendships and loyal customers simply from being positive.

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.

-Jack Canfield

Another thing you need is dedication to the challenge.  Make up you mind each and every day that no matter what negativity you encounter you will remain positive.  When we do an act everyday, consistently, and on purpose it eventually becomes a lifestyle, and it will be something you do not have to think about, it will be something that you are.

Finally, you need determination.  It is hard to stop a determined person.  Just as much as some are determine to derail your positive lifestyle, so must you be determined to curtail your negativity into positive energy.

Make it a point right now to take the challenge of creating a positive lifestyle.

2.  Build A Power Group

Building a power group is very important to sustaining high performance and goal setting.  There is power and solace when you meet or speak with those in your inner circle.  What is a power group?

  • A like-minded group of individuals with the same goals and same passions.
  • An oasis in the desert when you need encouragement.
  • Those that can grow you and help mature you.
  • Mentors that expand your mind and horizons.

What does this have to do with dealing with negativity?  Everything!

Remember this, “you become like those you hang out with.”

-Someone with common sense 

This is something I am passionate about.  I observe people that have a constant negative worldview and I look at who they are congregating with and I am absolutely convinced that negativity begets negativity.

Now for the sake of humanity, be friendly to everyone and never critical, but for the sake of your mental and spiritual well being, gather with those that build you up rather than tear you down.

Where are these negative people?

  1. Family
  2. Church
  3. Work
  4. Social networks
  5. Fringe friendships

It is important to identify where these negative people prowl, and then develop rules of engagement.  In other words, you set parameters on how much contact you will allow yourself with these individuals.  I’m not speaking of isolation but rather insulation.  Protect your attitude like a mother protects her helpless child from a giant grizzly!

Having a power group is a great way of accomplishing this. *WARNING* Do not choose people that will always agree or just make you feel good and fluffy.  Choose a diverse team that will challenge you, inspire you, correct you, encourage you, teach you, then watch your attitude and lifestyle sore through the sky!

3.  Saturate Your Mind and Spirit

Leadership maxes out your resources on a consistent basis.  Your energy, emotions, and your spirit will be drastically tested to their limits.  Many leaders have good motives and strive to put everything they have into their cause, but are left with an empty tank and running on fumes.

Without pumping positive things into your mind and soul you will become critical, burned out, grouchy, depressed, and left with low physical energy.

Here are some things you can do to saturate your mind and spirit:

  1. Read good books– Bible, Self-help books, good positive novels, anything John C. Maxwell, anything Jeffery Gitomer, anything Zig-Ziglar, anything Norman Vincent-Peale, anything “Chicken Soup For The Soul” -Jack Canfield.  So many more books, you can look them up and see which one interests you.
  2. Sign up for a YouTube account, Pandora, and other popular apps to download popular speakers, encouraging music, funny videos.  Hook it up to you speakers in your car, carry your earbuds everywhere you go, and saturate your mind every chance you get.
  3. Do not live on social media– Social media can be a blessing and a curse.  Use it to build others up not to air out your dirty laundry.  That’s all I want to say there.
  4. Start everyday off right–  Prayer/meditation, reading, and breakfast to fuel your day.

I will repeat myself intentionally, make being positive a lifestyle!  You will do this by saturating your mind and soul.

Conclusion

Build up your life, throw away the trash, help others, strive for your goals, don’t let anything stop you, push away and repel negativity, smile more, laugh more, live more, vacation more, have fun, enjoy life, don’t be all business, chill sometimes, and just enjoy the journey.

Get your journal out and write some steps your going to take to begin and maintain a positive lifestyle.  I would love to hear back from you to see what you came up with.  God Bless you!

Dustin Carr

thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com