I’m going to admit something here. I get angry… often. There’s a lot of things to get angry about, based on things I see and hear, mainly online, since I almost never watch TV and, except when I’m consulting, spend a lot of time working on my own.

Wrath/This Woman Scorned
darwin Bell via Compfight

I can’t blame it all on social media though. I’ve dealt with anger for decades; who hasn’t, right? At some point all of us get angry at something, whether or not it affects us. Luckily, all of us don’t go grab a gun and go out shooting people; that would be overkill (pun intended), and none of us want to go to jail or have something worse come to us.

Anger is one thing; hate is another. I often say that I hate this or that because it’s a phrase that easily comes off the tongue, but when I think about it I realize that, though I say it often, I don’t come close to hating as many things as I say I do… and frankly that also applies to people.

But I do hate. I hate racism; sexism; bullying; other isms; physical and verbal abuse; the general disregard for human life. I think that’s fair; don’t you?

There are even a few people in my life that I’ve truly hated, to the extent that had I had some kind of weapon, not necessarily a gun, I’d have wanted to inflict some serious damage on those people. Even now I’m still mad at them, but luckily I don’t wallow in hate against them. These were people who made it personal; I feel pretty justified in my former hate against them and my every once in a while still angry self whenever I think of them.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s turn to dealing with hate in the workplace, and why it’s a leadership issue.

Only a naive person believes that hate as I described doesn’t happen at work. There are way too many accounts of all those things above (probably not as much physical abuse but the other stuff) for them to be ignored. Any real leader knows that when these things occur that they need to do something about it. That they don’t is inexcusable, if pretty regular.

Woman
Creative Commons License aeneastudio via Compfight

I get it; dealing with these things can be really uncomfortable. It can be even worse when the person you need to address or call out is your peer, not someone working for you.

Still… I’ve done it. I called a director out once for making a sexual statement towards a female employee in front of me. I first talked to her, since I happened to be there, to see how she felt and what she wanted me to do about it. Then I talked to him, told him what he did was inexcusable, and gave him an option for what he needed to do. It was handled and that was that.

I also called out two HR directors at two different hospitals for the lack of diversity at those hospitals when I was an employee, and I’ve mentioned it to upper management at a few places where I’ve consulted. I “mentioned” it; as a consultant, unless I’m there working on a diversity issue there’s not much change I can institute but as a black man I will always bring it up if there’s something blatant going on.

I’ve been lucky overall. I’ve never had to deal with anything personal at it pertained to race, and the one business issue I had to deal with had nothing to do with an “ism”… although I still had to deal with me.

Thus, I’m not afraid to call out hate when I see it; leaders have to be strong to eradicate these types of things because they can impact the workplace in a negative light.

And yet… well… there are some issues that even I’m not sure how to fully deal with as it pertains to leadership.

There are a lot of protests lately against police brutality. I support those protests; I don’t support the violence.

I also support those athletes, at all levels, who are protesting in their own way, making statements by not standing for the National Anthem, raising fists in the air, taking a knee… after all, it’s a rising concern.

And yet… well… I wonder how I’d handle it in the workplace. What if an employee wanted to put something up on the wall of a cubicle showing support? For that matter, what if someone else wanted to put something up to support the police? Where does one draw the line when it’s about peaceful protest, even if it could destroy the foundation of a good working relationship?

Would I be a hypocrite if I banned it, even as I condemn coaches of college and major sports who are condemning the protesters? Am I a hypocrite if I recommend you not allow such things in the workplace while supporting athletes doing it? If so, would I do it anyway?

Lucky for you, just because I said I’m not sure how to fully deal with the issues doesn’t mean I don’t know how I would deal with it. 🙂

relay-for-life

Whenever I’ve been in a position of leadership, even as a consultant, it’s always been my intention to bring everyone together so that we can work towards a common goal, that being to make things better. I talk to everyone, individually and in groups. I always establish what the goals are and work to make sure all of us are on the same page when it comes to the goals. I try to make it plain that, though I’m the one in charge, that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute, to learn, and to progress.

When the need arises, I’ll also express an opinion on something, although I try not to be so blatant about that opinion. When it comes to external things, I can only remember one time where I expressed an opinion about something, and in that case it was an immediate reaction to something, which I gave myself 5 minutes for and then never talked about it again at work; thank goodness!

In other words, it’s important to establish good communications early and often because it makes addressing other things so much easier.

If I had already established this type of relationship, then when something like protests come up, I would have no problem in first talking to the individuals to see where their minds were, and then bringing a group of people together to talk it out. True, the workplace isn’t supposed to be a democracy, but even the most autocratic leader has to realize that if a majority of the employees are riled up that even if the leader tries to clamp down on them their concentration isn’t going to be focused, thus mistakes and bad results will prevail.

So, we’d talk, get things out in the open, and ask everyone’s opinion. After that, as the leader of the group I’d have to make a decision. Since I’d have already established our departmental culture, everyone would know that any decision I made would be, in my eyes, best for the department. Also, if need be, I’d have contingencies set up so that if things went badly based on that decision we’d go in a different direction, and I’d make that clear up front as well.

Outside of the isms, I’m good with freedom of expression as long as it doesn’t separate people in the workplace. Having a ban on political and religious discussions is one of the smartest moves any business can take; we don’t all believe in the same things, or in the same way. Everything else needs discussion, negotiation, and consideration.

In essence, I wouldn’t make a rule in this case until I talked to everyone to see how we stood. Leaders can’t be afraid to make decisions, but in the workplace we have to treat adults like adults. We can’t, or at least shouldn’t, make everything about our personal feelings. That’s the major problem with the coaches I’ve been hearing who have been against the protests; it’s their feelings they care about, and nothing else. How does that bring a team together?

Tough one isn’t it? I’d love to hear your opinion and thoughts.
 

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Some weeks ago my wife came home to spend a weekend with me, as she travels for her work. We were looking at some numbers on her Fitbit app when I noticed she had something I didn’t show.

need for intention

For those of you who don’t know, Fitbits are portable step trackers you can wear on your sleeves or like a regular pedometer. You use an app on your phone to sync with it to capture all the information you’re looking to track, and it gives you other information at the same time.

My wife had something that showed a pair of feet and a number of hours. Its purpose was to track how many hours, based on your own settings, you walked at least 250 steps. It’s purpose is to remind us that we need to get out of our chairs and onto our feet to move at least a few minutes every hour.

I added this feature to my phone, but instead of 9 hours I decided to go for 14. Since I’ve started following it I’ve made my goal to be to see if I can hit 14 of 14 rather than the number of total steps in a day. This gives me a mental break during those times when I’d normally be sleeping and a time period where I should be taking a mental break; whether I do or not is up to me.

The funny thing about this is that, though I’m only required to walk 3,500 steps a day based on this plan, I’ve been averaging 17K steps instead, often topping 20K steps. I’m hitting the 14 hours I’m scheduled for about 3 times a week, because we can’t always keep total control of our schedules.

I tell this story to help me get into the reason why I’m talking about the need for intention. Throughout my life I’ve found that when I go into things with intention I tend to not only achieve my goals but often surpass them. When I don’t… well…

When I don’t it takes a long time to get things completed.

When I put out my 2nd book on leadership last year titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, it actually was the culmination of a project I started 2 1/2 years earlier. I was pretty much floundering, allowing everything else to get in the way of my completing it. When I finally decided it was time to sit down and get it completed, it took me only a couple of weeks to get it done; intention!


For months I wondered about my falling traffic on this blog and others and figured it would take care of itself. Eventually I realized that wasn’t going to happen and so I spend about 3 weeks working on my mobile speed issues for all of my websites and now all of them are humming along; intention!

I find these days that I often need to schedule my intentions, first by logging them and then setting alarms to remind me to start working on them. The funny thing is that it’s not only for work purposes that I need to do such a thing.

I have alarms scheduled to go off twice a day to remind me to eat and take my medication. I sometimes have to set alarms to remind me to take breaks and get away from the computer, and not just to walk a few steps.

I even have to schedule alarms for phone calls I need to make, because otherwise I’ll stay engaged in other things and keep forgetting to do what I know needs to be addressed, but also know is going to take me away from what I happen to be doing at the time… sometimes knowing it’s just “busy work”.

I find that intention keeps my steady in other areas as well. For instance, something as small as picking up a piece of paper that’s on the rug in my living room takes intention because, like many men, I’d tend to pass it by and tell myself “I’ll get it later”. I’ve gotten into the habit of stopping and picking up change on the sidewalk or in the road (when it’s safe) because intention reminds me that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Most of us go through our days pretty much following routines we’ve gotten used to, whether it’s in our personal or work lives. Intention allows us to deviate from the norm. Intention encourages us to interact with others. Intention helps us become better leaders. Intention helps us focus on our short and long term goals.

Intention also helped me to write this article. What do you think about the process of intention and what do you do to reinforce it?
 

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About 4 or 5 years ago on the anniversary of this date, September 11th, and the planes flying into both the Twin Towers in NYC and the Pentagon, and of course the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, some guy on Facebook (who I didn’t know well and have never spoken to again) commented on a post I put up and asked “Why do people keep bringing this up? Can’t we move away from it?” Instead, I moved away from him because I was irked at him for even daring to say something like that, especially on a post by me, and I wasn’t ready to lay into him, which I’d have done and that wouldn’t have been pretty.


11 settembre 2001 - 11 settembre 2011
Riccardo Francesconi via Compfight

Today it’s the 15th anniversary of that day, a day that literally changed how this country perceives itself and those around the world. If we didn’t know how ugly things were as far as the rest of the world’s perspective on the United States before then, and if we didn’t know how vitriolic a large percentage of our population felt against those who believe in the religion of Islam before then, we certainly learned it after that day. We also learned how special so many people can be in light of a tragedy and how resilient we are; we don’t need to “make America great again”; America is already great, even with its few foibles and the like.

Today I’m actually ready to answer that guy’s question; it’s taken me 15 years to want to answer that question. I answer it now because of what’s going on in this country and around the world. I think it’s important enough to finally get to the “why” of the matter and what’s at stake for all of us.

The “why” is because we should never forget; that’s pretty much it. There are many reasons behind that one:

* we need to be reminded to always stay vigilant against threats;

* we need to be reminded that most people have no idea what a terrorist looks like;

* we need to be reminded that everyone isn’t going to agree with us and some people are ready to take things to the extreme;

* we need to keep making sure the truth stays the truth, unlike Texas and Bill O’Reilly trying to make slavery “friendly” or Japan trying to change the truth about their role in World War II;

* because too often history repeats itself, and maybe someone will remember a lesson and stop before something newly bad goes too far;

* because times change but people don’t, which means circumstances don’t either;

* because we should always honor those who ended up giving their lives, whether they signed up for it or not, for a cause that benefited the rest of us;

* because it’s the right thing to do

I think that covers it; at least it does for me today. Meanwhile, I’m linking to previous articles and one video that show my thoughts about the date from previous years. At this point I’m no longer mad, which took long enough; I just want to make sure that the significance stays alive while I still have the opportunity to talk about it.

For anyone suffering through memories of this day, I wish you peace.


https://youtu.be/QK3OewEgNqQ

Are We Ready For The 9/11 Anniversary?

8:46AM – 9/11/01

September 11, 2001 – I’m Still Mad

Sunday Question – Your Thoughts About 9/11/10?

September 11, 2007 – Six Years Later

9/11/01 9 Years Later; Never Forget

September 11, 2001; 11 Years Later

September 11th; The Day Trading Stopped Before It Started

Ten Years Later; Have We Moved On?

September 11, 2011; Ten Years Later

September 11, 2001; 11 Years Later

September 11th, 2001 – Other Stories, Other Articles

September 11th, 2001; 13 Years Later…

September 11, 2001 – 9:03AM… 14 Years Later

September 11, 2001 in 2015

Did Al Qaeda Win The Financial War?

Everybody’s Got A Little Hero In Them

The Day The Stock Market Didn’t Open
 

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It’s been about 5 months since I began writing my series of posts on Revenue Cycle and what consultants work on regarding those areas. The first post introduced the 4 specific areas of revenue cycle, while the second article dug deeper into what the areas concerning revenue cycle actually did. It might help some of you to go back and review those articles before reading the rest of this post.

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This next part is going to go into the biggest concerns that revenue cycle consultants run into when working with these departments. These aren’t necessarily the biggest issues hospitals are having at the time they reach out to consultants, but the biggest issues consultants find and try to work with their clients on.

A. Admissions

1. Lowest paid employees

These days the people in admissions have become one of the most important assets to every hospital as it pertains to getting their money in quicker. Yet, in most cares these folks are the lowest paid in the patient accounting department, let alone the rest of the hospital. Even though people aren’t supposed to discuss their salaries, everyone has an idea of what someone else is making, and knowing you’re being paid less than you believe you’re worth never helps anyone.

2. Biggest opportunity for insurance fraud

This is mainly via the emergency room, but anyone with a little bit of intelligence can get free health care if they know how the process works. Not only that but it’s not uncommon for some people to give their insurance cards to someone else to use when they go for health care services, not realizing it’s illegal, even if they know it’s wrong. No matter whether you ask for identifying information or not, there’s no way you can force someone to share it with you or prove that they might have it on their person.

3. Scheduling

One of the first questions I’ll ask is whether there’s been any charting of the registration patterns to see when it gets busy and when there’s significant downtime. I’ve seen where a lot of hospitals schedule their employees based on tradition more than anything else, which could mean they’re overstaffed, understaffed or just improperly staffed to handle the workload.

B. Charge Capture

1. Insufficient training

officeemployees

I find two things most often.

The first is learning that almost all the people who capture charges were taught by someone else who captures charges, who learned from someone else who captured charges, on and on. I’ve never found a single department that had any written procedures for how to capture charges.

The second is finding out that not only do directors of these departments also often not know how the charge capture process works, but some of them have never looked at their charge master to even see what they might be missing. One time I met with a director who owned up that he’d never seen the charge master. I showed him that one of his departments didn’t have a single price on any of the services they were charging; I thought he was going to pass out, especially when he revealed that he’d only been in the job for 5 months but that the previous person had been in that position 4 1/2 years.

2. Little verification between charges captured by dept vs what the computer shows

The second part of #1 leads to this issue here. When I do a charge master review I often see services that a department should be doing a lot of with little activity and other services that shouldn’t have much activity showing a lot. I’ll usually ask general questions to see what the director and people who capture the charges say about these types of services before I show them what the revenue numbers reveal.

3. Sometimes charge master has multiple confusing charges

Once I had an interim director ask me to come help him revamp his departments charges because they had multiple charges for the same services with different written descriptions. Each employee was picking what they’d originally been taught to use but only one charge on the charge master was still listed in the computer system for revenue capture.

C. Billing/Patient Accounting/Business Office

1. Insufficient training

I’ve walked into business offices where employees didn’t know how to follow up on outstanding claims. At one hospital they weren’t even allowed to, as the supervisory staff thought everything should go through them, which of course they didn’t have the time to do. I’ve even met with directors who didn’t know the billing rules of some of their most prominent insurance carriers. Yet, training is always on the back burner because of either the belief that it’s too expensive or too time consuming.

Mitchell modeling image 03
Yours truly!

2. Rules are always changing

With almost every insurance company some of the rules change every year; Medicare seems to change some rules every couple of weeks. Because there are so many rules and so many insurance companies to deal with, and because often contract information isn’t passed down to the billing department, I find that many claims that have to be written off because no one knew the rules and they’re not liable for payment for one reason or another.

3. Way too many claims to manage properly

If there’s one department that should never be understaffed it’s the department hospitals count on to bring in the money. I sometimes walk into hospitals where each employee is expected to be able to properly work over 4,000 claims or more each. Since no two claims are alike, it’s an impossible situation to expect better of. Of course, sometimes all it takes is proper training or a true look at revenue to see if there are things in the system that shouldn’t be there but initially it’s hard to do because of a lack of personnel.

D. Collections

1. Tough job asking people for money

If it’s hard to ask someone to pay back $25 you can imagine how hard it can be to ask people to pay their hospital bills, which could be in the thousands. The biggest difference between health care and other industries is that most of the time health care asks for payment after services have been completed, sometimes after many months or even years. That kind of thing makes folks on both sides very cranky.

2. Need to balance the needs of the facility with the needs of patients

Understanding that health care is a business is one thing; making outrageous demands on patients to pay self pay bills is another. I’ve known hospitals that had policies saying that no matter the balance, if the patient didn’t set up a payment plan to pay the bill within 6 months that they were going to send them to collection. How many of us can pay an unexpected $10,000 bill off in six months? Who do you think has to take the brunt of anger at this type of policy written by a person who never has to talk to anyone on the phone?

3. Way too many claims to manage properly

If you think the number of claims billing personnel is high, you should take a look at how many claims collections people have. Most collections departments have way fewer employees trying to work on a lot more claims, and even with robo-calling (which has many restrictions) can’t help them get to everything. Not only that, but because of Medicare accounts can’t even be sent to collections until 120 days, which means those numbers keep growing.

There’s a lot more with each of these categories, yet it’s a good thing to start with. You might not achieve Pareto principle types of numbers but doing it on your own or working with a good consultant (like me lol) can improve your status a lot.
 

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For close to 3 weeks I pretty much put business on hold as I went to work trying to get all of my websites and blogs not only mobile friendly but drive up their mobile speed, which was atrocious. The traffic for all of my sites had dropped drastically, and all of them started dropping around the same day that Google had mentioned that they were going to take mobile friendliness into consideration when ranking sites. They didn’t mention speed, but since all my sites were already mobile friendly, per Google no less, I figured it had to be the speed.

TTM001
Not bad eh?

Truthfully, this wasn’t back breaking work. Yet it was still a heck of a lot of work. Because I used to have as an offshoot of my general corporation a SEO business, where I also created websites, I knew a lot about coding but, frankly, I had to relearn some of it to do some of the work that needed to be done, as I had a lot of things to correct.

Along the way, I figured out there were some leadership concepts that popped up, enough so that I can tie in what I was doing to highlight some of them. I’d like to share those lessons with you as I talk about some of what I was doing that I didn’t mention in either the above post or the post that article links to.

1. Always keep up on all aspects of your business, even if you don’t do things the same anymore.

I ended my SEO business in 2014 but I’d kept up with a lot of basic HTML processes, which is the first bit of programming I learned back in 2003. What came up is that I basically had to recode my two business websites (luckily not any of my blogs), which meant I had to go back into principles of what’s known as CSS (cascading stylesheets).

Although I had kept up with minor changes here and there, I’d forgotten how to do an entire website with CSS. There were also a few other things I’d never done with it that I now had to do. This meant a bit of a learning curve in having to relearn things that used to come easily to me. Outside of the constant testing, this was one of the biggest challenges I had to deal with.

A problem many leaders have is that they end up repeating history because they don’t remember it. When I was an every day director, even when we changed things up I always made sure I kept up with particular “physical” processes and that came in handy quite a few times down the road. What you find out is that technology might change but people and processes don’t. Think about customer service representatives as a good example of what I’m talking about.

2. Things never happen the same way twice.

That’s a line from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (I’m such a big kid) that’s very true. The strangest thing about working with the blogs is that, even though they were all created using the same basic software, and three of the blogs actually use the same theme, what worked for one blog didn’t necessarily mean it would work for all the others.

Happy Mitch
Happy Mitch!

The same thing also happened for my regular websites. I got all the main pages totally optimized the way I wanted and most of the other pages as well but every once in a while there was a page that wouldn’t conform to the norm. The thing is, Once you have a template set, there’s a lot of copying and pasting that helps to standardize everything so you should keep getting the same results. But I haven’t achieved 100% success, and that was driving me up the wall.

When it comes to employees, you’ll usually find that not every one of them will learn everything the same way that previous employees learned it. Some will learn faster, some slower, some in a totally different way. As a leader, if you really care about making sure an employee has a fair chance to be the employee you’re hoping they’ll be you have to be willing to modify training when necessary.

3. You have to know when to give something up.

I mentioned that all the work took 3 weeks. Truthfully, a lot of it was trying at first to reach perfection, and then deciding that getting everything into the “good” category should be my ultimate goal. For all my sites I got the mobile speed into the good category; for two of them, I couldn’t get the desktop up that high.

That irked me to no end, but what’s funny is that in the second post I wrote talking about my quest for speed (the one I linked to above was the third in the series) I said near the end of that post that I was good with what I’d already achieved. That turned out not to be true, because once I had a success with something else I felt compelled to go back to see if I could improve on what I’d previously done.

It wasn’t until Sunday night, around 9PM, when I finally told myself “ENOUGH!” Pretty much like that, since I’m the only one in the house right now. I knew I’d been obsessing on it for far too long, had achieved some miraculous numbers, and, as Dad used to say, it was “close enough for government work.”

I learned early on that not only could I not expect perfection from any employees who reported to me but that it also wasn’t fair to expect each of them to reach the kind of numbers I used to achieve when I did the same work they did. I also knew that you can only push people so much while on the course for numbers that just might be impossible to reach. Beating a dead horse never improves the condition of the horse and makes everyone else mad at you; nothing good gets done after that.

4. Delegation is a better use of management time.

Truth be told, all the while I was doing this work I kept wondering “isn’t there someone else who can do this for me?” The longer it took me, the more I lamented not knowing a single person who could do this work for me. Not that I didn’t try, but all I found were websites giving me a lot of tips (which I was thankful for) and not a single business marketing this particular service. I’m not bad at search after all these years so if I couldn’t find it, I’m not sure anyone else could either.

When you’re in a leadership position, sometimes there are things that you have to do because you’re in a certain position. What you’ll also find is that there’s a lot of work you end up doing that would be better handing off to someone else so you can concentrate on what it is you’re actually being paid for. This might mean you’ll have to train someone to do it the way you want it done but training is always better than always doing things on your own that don’t require you to do them.

I came up with more but I think I’ll stop there. Otherwise I’ll have to keep reliving the coding and testing I did and, frankly, my brain needs a bit of a rest. Isn’t it amazing the kind of things you can either learn or reinforce within yourself while doing other things?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

No one likes criticism; let’s get that out of the way. What we want is constructive advice on how to get better or how to solve problems.

Depressed dog

When it comes to me, the only time I want advice is when I ask for it. Over the years I’ve had to learn “how” to ask for it. In other words, when I ask for advice I want something specific instead of global. As an example, I might ask someone to look at a sentence that seems awkward and ask for their opinion it rather than asking them their opinion on an entire article. In my opinion that makes sense.

Still, sometimes people do ask for criticism. Every once in a while they get what they want, and in that case life is good. Sometimes the criticism you get might not be what you want but it’s what you need. Other times… well, we’ve all been there.

What’s bad criticism? When there’s nothing positive offered or nothing helpful, it’s bad criticism. Sometimes people don’t know that the criticism they’re giving isn’t helpful, either because they just don’t know how to be helpful or you haven’t helped by telling them what you need. Here are 5 tips on how to get what you need.

This article will offer ways to ask people for advice and how to accept criticism, even when it’s bad criticism. Let me know your thoughts (yeah, I guess I’m asking for criticism) later on.

1. When you need help, make sure you ask the right people for it. One of the problems most of us end up with is that we’ll ask people who don’t have experience in what we need for help rather than asking someone who might really be able to help you. If your friend fixes cars every day for 10 hours, asking them for help with your blog is illogical, no matter how smart they are.

2. When you ask for advice, be specific in what you’re looking for. When I was writing my first book someone I knew asked if he could see a portion of it, so I sent him the first 50 pages. He wrote back asking me if I knew anything about writing and formatting a book. What he didn’t do was give any commentary on what I’d written, which is what I wanted him to critique. It was an early draft that I hadn’t even finished, so everything he said wasn’t helpful. Instead, I shut down and thought about giving up the idea of writing the thing… for about 2 hours. If I’d been weaker I would have just quit but I knew better; after all, what had he ever written?

3. If you start whining or complaining about something, you almost have to expect that the person you’re talking to is going to offer something, positive or not. Two problems most of us have is that we don’t qualify the person we’re talking to all the time first, and we don’t tell people what we really want before we open up. I forget to do these sometimes and I end up not enjoying the conversation later on. I’ve also been on the advising side, although much more rare because most of the time I don’t like giving advice unless I’m specifically asked for it. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when someone needs help versus when someone wants to vent.

4. If someone starts offering criticism, even if you’re thinking about arguing with it, try to at least let the person finish their first thought, in case they might be right about something. Yeah, that’s hard to do, and yet sometimes the person might be spot on, and you just didn’t want to acknowledge it though you realize it is true.

5. If you feel you’re getting beaten up, you have the right to either tell the person you don’t want to hear anymore or leave. Sure, you might need the help, but if all you hear is negative stuff, with no idea if something positive is coming, you’re not going to respond well to it, no matter what’s coming afterwards.

You never know how people, including clients, will react to what you say to them. If it’s true about them, it’s probably true about yourself. The wrong words can stifle action; try to get what you need, when you need it.

I have no shame. 🙂 Today’s post is kind of a retread of a post I wrote back in 2013 titled Keys To Leadership Points Redux, which was kind of a follow up to an original post I wrote in 2010 titled Keys To Leadership.

Me&Dad03

The first post was about my seminar series, which is over there to the left. The second highlighted the points that I was supposed to do in the 3 seminars I planned (one of which had to be canceled because of the weather). This time around I’m not only going to highlight the 15 points but I’m going to say something about them also.

I figure that every 3 years I should return to the scene of the crime, and the crime in this case is that no one commented on the earlier posts and I didn’t have Google Analytics for the first post but I’m not sure the second post got that much love either. So I’m trying again; let’s see where this goes.

1. Position doesn’t make the leader, the leader makes him or herself

There’s managers and there’s leaders. The title matters more to managers than it does to leaders. More often than not true leaders lead and managers just get in the way. Everyone knows which is which; in a pinch, which one do you think most people will go to?

2. You need to make sure everyone’s on the same page if you wish to succeed

Not only do employees need direction, but they need training and they need to know what the ultimate goal is. If you decide to be a hands off type of leader, you’re going to have more chaos than success.

3. You are ultimately responsible for the performance of your team

All anyone needs to do is look at team sports. If your team doesn’t win, you won’t be in charge long. If your employees can’t help you succeed, it’s easier to get rid of you than all of them.

4. Show loyalty to those you’re responsible for

In my own set of morals, loyalty is at the top of the list. Loyalty goes both ways, but sometimes leaders have to prove that they’re going to be loyal to their employees to get loyalty back.

5. Give others the tools to succeed, and you’ll succeed also

Old equipment, lack of procedures, no real training… it doesn’t matter how much you know if you’re in a leadership position, if your employees don’t know as much as you or at least as much as they can about the work they do then you and your organization is going to fail.

6. Real leaders don’t wait for someone else to tell them to do what’s necessary

When you step into a leadership position, you’re expected to lead. If you don’t know how then you shouldn’t have taken the position. Real leaders don’t wait around hoping someone else tells them what to do. They need to be ready to act on their own with the best of intentions and knowledge possible.

Coke Yes Girl
National Museum of American History
Smithsonian Institution
via Compfight

7. Saying yes, saying no; when and when not to

Leaders can’t always say either yes or no. True leaders know how to evaluate situations and make the best decision possible based on those evaluations. Don’t treat employees like children.

8. A bad decision is better than no decision

There’s never a perfect time to do something, and waiting around for the perfect time or the perfect answer means that you’re waiting around for things to get worse. Fortune favors the bold; if you have good information to make the decision go for it. You can always fix it later.

9. Change for change’s sake isn’t good

Don’t upset the status quo because you’re bored or trying to trick people into a different behavior. The belief that if everyone’s mad at you that they’ll work better is fallacy. Having a good reason for a drastic change is easier for others to accept.

10. Learn to resolve conflict by any means necessary

Other than getting physical with others, this is essentially true. If you have to raise your voice to stop others from fighting or say something shocking to gain control of a situation, recognize that there’s never a chance to solve anything if conflicts persist.

11. Learn to master delegation

No one person can do everything within a big organization, and sometimes not even in a small one. If you’re in a position of leadership, you need to learn how to delegate work to others so you can do the job you were hired to do. Never use it as punishment but as a way to strengthen the team.

12. Stay in control of your emotions

No one does this 100%, but if you can master your emotions at least 95% of the time your employees will appreciate it. Truthfully, it’s better if you’re always mad than if you’re emotions are all over the place. At least your employees will get used to you and learn how to work with you (although if you’re angry all the time they won’t put up with it for long).

13. Allow people to grow, learn, & make mistakes

If you have a well trained staff, and you’ve given them all the tools they need to succeed, then you have to be ready to step aside and let them do the job you’ve hired them for. You’ll never be able to evaluate their talent until you do, and most studies show that employees want a chance to show what they can do.

14. People are going to leave; make sure it’s not for negative reasons

Employee actions aren’t always personal and they’re not always about you as the leader. Don’t be a baby and react badly to employees leaving, especially if they’re leaving for a better opportunity because you’ve shown them how to grow. If you’re driving employees away, you’ll know it because you’ll always be hiring; no one likes that.

15. Don’t be afraid to lead

Leadership can be scary, not only to new managers but sometimes to those who’ve been in leadership a long time. You took the position, took the money, so you might as well step up to the plate and lead. Who knows; you might be good at it and you might like it. If either of those occurs, your employees will like you and do anything for you. There’s few things more satisfying than that.
 

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