Tag Archives: appreciation

Four Reasons Leaders Need To Avoid Labels

Labels were part of my upbringing. I say that because in my family each child was given a label to describe their abilities or personality. One of us was the baker and dramatic. One of us was pushy and a guitar player. One of us was an ice skater and not an academic. And crazy as it may seem, we lived up to those descriptions. They became us and we became them. It’s a very interesting phenomenon, that if we are told that we should behave or act in a certain way or that we are talented or not so capable, we tend to gravitate towards those depictions. We even create a narrative about who we are and what we can accomplish based on those labels.

Similarly in our companies and on our teams, we place labels on the people we work with. We decide early on who they are and what they are able to contribute. We continue to believe that the characteristics we attach to our co-workers and bosses are there for the long haul, never to be adjusted. This is how it is and we evaluate each of our strengths using those labels.

Leaders need to recognize that when they label the people they work with they are not empowering them to be their best or live up to their potential. Rather, the label becomes a self-limiting belief.

 Four reasons leaders need to avoid labels:

 1. LABELS ARE IMPRECISE WAYS OF DESCRIBING OTHERS

If we believe that stereotyping is never a helpful way to assess other people’s abilities, then labeling others falls into the same category. When we attach a particular attitude or ability to someone, we are using a “judgy” word to describe their capabilities rather than being specific about the value they may bring to a project or solution. Adjectives are often a waste of time and only add confusion to working with others.

2. LABELS BECOME SELF-FULFILLING PROPHESIES

We know that when children are “tracked” in how they will academically perform, they tend to stay exactly in that zone. If they are told they are only capable of achieving average grades they begin to believe it and just turn in average work. On the other hand, if they believe they have the potential to rise to outstanding work, they often will get there one way or another. The same is true with the people we work with. If they think we believe they can contribute in an outstanding way they often will.

  • Encourage each team member to try new things and take risks
  • Give credit generously
  • Stop yourself from using labels like “lazy”, “not capable” or “overwhelmed”

3. LABELS CREATE STIGMAS

When leaders use labels other colleagues and departments may start to believe the labels too. So if we say that a team member is not committed (another nutty adjective) others may start to believe that too. This is how we stigmatize people. STOP! Everyone is entitled to have a good and bad day or a more or less successful project. Work on developing the strengths in others and help team members overcome their blindspots.

4. LABELS BRING A TEAM AND ORGANIZATION DOWN

When teams get in the habit of labeling members they will tend to rely on the same people to always do the same work. The result will be less creative outcomes and less participation. Team members will not grow because they will not be encouraged to try projects outside of their “label”. An organization will never develop new leaders with new perspectives or capabilities unless we dump the practice of labeling.

How have labels impacted your leadership or team?

How To Become A Grateful Leader

leadership-gratitude

At this time of year in the United States we gather with our families and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. We take stock in all that we are grateful for- both the big and the small wins. The reality is that most of us have also faced challenges during the year and have needed to rely on our support systems to help us get through. Our lives are imperfect and that means we can choose to dwell on the disappointments or focus on what we are grateful for.

Let’s choose to lead with gratitude in both our personal and professional lives. When we are grateful we bring out the best in ourselves and in others.

Best Leadership Mantra Ever-“I’m Here For You”

pic-for-%22im-here-for-you%22

These past few weeks I have been working with a vendor to set up an online assessment for one of my clients. Although I have administered this assessment for a long time I never dealt with this vendor. I was uneasy at first to connect with a new supplier, but kept marching forward to see how this new relationship and process would play out.

As I delved deeper to learn the new system and see if it would work effectively for my client and myself, my anxiety began to grow. Every roadblock I hit I would contact the vendor with all my questions and errors. At one point I was calling them every day as… Continue reading | 6 Comments

Wonderful Blog Subscribers-I Need Your Help!

pic for thank you blog

I am so grateful that you subscribe to my blog posts and I hope my posts have fueled your leadership through the years.

This past month, I updated my blog subscriber process and I need each of you to sign-up as I have lost my original subscriber list from Feedburner. It will only take a minute to re-enter your email address and it would mean so much to me to share with you my exciting new blog subscriber format. I think you will enjoy my new look as I promise to continue to create meaningful leadership insights and stories.

Just look for the purple SUBSCRIBE BOX on my website and… Continue reading