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15 February, 2017 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Executive Leadership, Leadership, Podcast
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Leadership, Job Search, Career Management #FastTopics [PODCAST]

Posted February 15th, 2017 | Author: John G. Self
listensubscribe-itunesListen to today’s podcast here, read the transcript below or subscribe and listen on iTunes.

Frustrations in life, and with our careers, can be many and they can destroy our focus and balance on the road to success.

One of the most common in the workplace is when you suddenly realize that your boss is a buffoon — an abusive jerk — and you have to wait for your colleagues and your bosses’ boss to figure it out.  Sound familiar?

What really chaps people is to work on a mission critical team with a colossal goofball teammate who is a disruptive bully.  He is not the team leader but he wants to be, he believes he is superior and his behaviors reflect that arrogant lack of self awareness.

But here is the problem:  the team leader is slow to pull the trigger.  He is intimidated by the disruptive bully who is slowly destroying the morale and performance of the team.  Everyone knows what the problem is but they sit back while our disruptive team member challenges and undercuts the very smart leader.  Meeting after meeting team members have to sit through some unbelievable discussions where the agenda is lost and the team leader, yet, again, suffers through the bully’s onslaught.  Everyone knows, including the team leader, that they are falling behind and no one wants that to happen.

If you ever find yourself in that situation, as the team leader,  you must take action sooner or later, before you begin losing the high performance team members who will help you achieve success.  You must take action regardless of your personal feelings for the disruptive member.  Do your homework, build your case, review it with HR and the executive who commissioned the team and then pull the trigger.  Boot the disruptor off the team.

Here is an important take away for you when you encounter a similar situation:

Do not delay the inevitable uncomfortable.

Besides, instead of being the bad guy, your team members will only want to know what took you so long.

Important words for young executives on their way up.


As an executive recruiter, I cannot recall a time in which there are more challenges, threats and opportunities in the field of career management.

So here is my question:  What are you doing to adapt your career strategy to this rapidly evolving employment market across all sectors.  I encourage executives I coach to ask this question:

“When people look at me as their leader, what do they see?”  I recently wrote a blog post on this subject because it is so central to comprehending self awareness.

Here is another important question, one that I would like to focus on today:

Are people taking me seriously?

When you start asking this question, we need to set some boundaries.  There are some important drivers that affect people’s judgment on this question.  Key among them are your physical appearance, your ideas and how you communicate them.

This week I ran across an interesting article by Lolly Daskal, of Inc. Magazine writing for the Business Insider platform in which she shared her thoughts on this important question:  Do people take me seriously?

With a hat tip to Career Coach Ms. Daskal, I want to share her thinking on this important question.  Here are 14 actions you should take, according to Ms. Daskal.

First, always be informed.  Do your homework.  If you want to be taken seriously you have to invest time to become a subject matter expert.  Then you have to develop a style of communication that is compelling and captivating, where people want to listen to what you have to say because of your content and style.

Second, add value.  Do not speak because you feel you have to say something.  Speak when you have something to say – which plays to point one — so that people will want to hear what you have to say.  Intelligence is important but having actionable information in a meeting is a real value add.

Third, be truthful and genuine.  Surprisingly, honesty and authenticity are not in oversupply in the world of business meetings.

Fourth, keep your word.  You have been in meetings where someone is willing to promise everything to everyone.  If you want to be taken seriously, it is important for you to keep your word.  Never make a promise you are not 100 percent committed to.  Without credibility, it is very difficult to build sustainable relationships and without those relationships, you are not going to be taken seriously.

Fifth, be clear and concise.  Get to the point quickly. Filter out those issues that are not essential.  What you say and how you say it plays directly to your competence.

Sixth, represent success.  When you take yourself seriously, so will others.  Allow your presence to have an impact.  Present success.

Seventh, be relatable.  Stories are a powerful tool to connect with subordinates, peers and superiors.  Tell stories that relate to the group you are dealing with.  Invite them in to your inside persona.

Eighth, dress well.  This is an important issue.  In a day and age where business casual reigns supreme, and sloppiness seems to be tolerated more and more, let your appearance drive the day.  Send a message with how you dress:  that you take yourself seriously.

Ninth, be mindful of your tone.  Pay attention to your tone.  The tone communicates your truth even when our words don’t.  Be mindful of your tone.

Tenth, speak with assurance.  Be sure you convey confidence in your words.  Avoid being seen as tentative.

Eleven, draw people out.  Instead of talking about yourself to persuade people to take you seriously, encourage those you are with to speak about themselves and be an active listener.  This is key to building trust.

Twelve, be respectful.  When you show respect, you gain respect.  Even when you disagree, be respectful.  That is a lesson we all should remind ourselves throughout our careers.

Thirteen, always be on time.  Being on time sends a signal to others in the room that you are respectful of their time.  If you are always late, people will think of you as being rude.

And Finally, be confident.  Self-assurance is a certain pathway to making a great impression.  Be confident and let it define who you are.

Ms Daskal, you have provided some great insightful advice.  You can reach her through our website, Lolly daskal.Com.


Great leaders, the truly great leaders in government, in our communities and in business, are those who are trusted.  You cannot expect people to follow you, to support your agenda unless they believe in you as their leader.

You cannot play fast and loose with the truth to make yourself look good and then assume that no one is paying attention, that no one is keeping score.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Without trust you cannot lead.  Without truth you cannot build trust.

A company’s bottom line performance is important but only good leaders can sustain that type of performance.

If you are just beginning your career in management, that is one lesson I hope you will never forget, regardless than conventional wisdom of our day.

© 2017 John Gregory Self

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