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6 ways to hold your employees accountable

“A body of people holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine

In working with my clients, one of the biggest challenges they mention is being consistent with holding employees accountable for their work. The best employees want to be held accountable for what they are doing – they don’t mind it in the least. But they also want other people to be held to the same standard of accountability. When leaders “let things slide” for certain people (for whatever reason,) it begins to negatively affect morale, productivity, and profitability. If it’s not addressed promptly, the outcome could be disastrous. Holding people accountable is NOT micromanaging. It should not be conducted as a fear tactic. However, it is important for the well-being and success of the organization.

Here are 6 things you MUST do to create a culture of accountability:

Be crystal clear about your expectations. Ensure that you are communicating goals and tasks effectively. Make sure that your employees are crystal clear as to what is expected of them. If clarity exists on all sides, it is easier to hold people accountable. How can you possibly hold someone accountable for something that isn’t clearly explained?

Be realistic and fair. Make sure that the goals you’re setting can actually be achieved. Don’t set arbitrary expectations. Be specific. Set deadlines. Expect them to be met. Be flexible when necessary.

Be consistent. Hold every employee accountable for his or her productivity, or lack thereof. Not everyone’s standards are going to be the same. Nor should they. Every job is different and you cannot hold an employee who is new to the team or organization to the same standards as someone who is more experienced. Allow for a learning curve.

Gather all the facts. Before you start disciplining someone, make sure you have all of the relevant facts. Leaders and managers should avoid an “egg on face” scenario. One way to do that is to know what you’re talking about. If you don’t, you won’t be effective when enforcing accountability standards.

Listen.

Make firm decisions. Make decisions quickly. Stick to them. Assume responsibility for whatever disciplinary action that you take when dealing with a non-productive or lazy employee. Doing so will hopefully improve the individual employee’s performance but will also send a message to the rest of the team that you’re serious about accountability.

Click here to see something ABSURD! about leadership!

Stop asking these 3 questions in interviews

In order to compete in today’s marketplace, there are a few tidbits of truth that you must accept.

First, consumers are smarter than you. They might not have the experience and training that you do but they have almost unending information at the tips of their fingers.

Next, the attention span of the consumer is almost non-existent. They’re much too busy scrolling to read most of what you write or listen to what you say.

Finally, if you don’t have outstanding employees, you’re through.

And therein lies the challenge. How can you get top-notch employees to come to work for you? You have to do a 180 on the whole “value-add.” What is the organization’s VALUE to them? Many times, potential A-list employees (you know, the ones you need) will often walk out of an interview not wondering whether or not they did well; rather, they’ll be thinking of a respectful way to decline your offer if and when it comes.

Why? Probably because they were unimpressed with the questions they were asked. Here are 3 atrocious questions that you need to stop asking during job interviews– especially for candidates in the running for leadership positions.

What is your greatest weakness? This question stinks. You’ve probably been asked to answer it yourself. I know I have. Here’s what happens – you try to think of an answer that won’t take you out of the running for the job. But your answer can’t be that you have no weaknesses. So you sit there and sweat until you come up with something innocuous. Then, the interviewer moves onto the next question. Really then, what purpose did the weakness question serve? Instead ask, can you describe your self-improvement and professional development processes? This will give you a ton of insight into the candidate’s character.

Why don’t you stay with a company for very long? In the past, being a “job-hopper” was frowned upon. Having too many jobs led people to conclude a few things (for most A-listers, NONE of these were true mind you!) Perhaps you were a difficult employee. You weren’t a team player. You’re not loyal. Or you couldn’t hack it. NEWS FLASH: the days of people staying in the same job forever are gone for good! It simply doesn’t happen anymore. And that’s not such a bad thing. I know a lot of people that stayed with their job forever because they wanted the pension for retirement. But they were miserable for 25, 30, or 40 years. Today’s professionals want to be fulfilled in their work and they will keep looking until they find the right fit. So instead of putting someone on the spot because they’ve had a few jobs in a few years, ask them, what exactly are you looking for in an employer? This will give the candidate the opportunity to clearly and concisely enunciate the answer and will give the interviewer a better idea of whether or not the candidate will be a good fit.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? This is the ultimate “gotcha” question and it also stinks. Why? Because most times, in the interviewer’s mind, there is only one correct answer: “Well, working hard for you, of course.” In today’s business environment, how can you seriously ask someone to tell you where he or she will be in 10 years? Remember, people don’t stay where they are like they used to. A better question is if we hire you, what value will you provide to us immediately? It is important to realize that some of the organization’s best employees will leave for other opportunities. As a business owner, I’d rather know what the candidate would do while he or she is working for meinstead of worrying about what might happen 5 or 10 years down the road.

Gotcha-type interviews are no longer appropriate. Ask GREAT questions to start a dialogue. Get more sophisticated with your hiring. The reward will be a top-notch workforce. And every business needs that!

This choice is costing you THOUSANDS

lazinessIn business as in life, there are ups and downs. Nobody is immune to this. The difference between successful outcomes and unreached potential (either personal or for your organization) can be measured using a lot of different variables. However, there is one that is the best indicator of potential success or abject failure.

I call it The Laziness Influence.

If you want your organization to progress, if you want to keep your job, if you want to achieve your greatest potential, you simply cannot be lazy.

Being tired and being lazy are not the same things. Being tired is a physiological reality. If you’re human, you’re going to get tired. Being lazy is a choice. And it’s a terrible one. Is a lazy day acceptable every now and again? I guess you could say yes. That’s not what we’re discussing here.

We’re talking about chronic laziness – on an organizational level. When the muscles in our bodies aren’t properly flexed and exercised, they get stiff. When chronic laziness is allowed at your organization, your people lose their edge. Laziness, like bad attitudes, is contagious. You don’t need employees that do the bare minimum. They aren’t adding anything to the bottom line. You don’t need leaders who ignore chronic laziness because they have more important things to worry about. Dwight Eisenhower said, “that which is urgent is seldom important while that which is important is seldom urgent.”

Remember, being lazy is a choice. If you truly want to achieve more, you’ll have to give your people an ultimatum – you can choose to be lazy, but you’ll have to choose to do it someplace else.

No company or individual ever achieved enormous success by letting opportunities go by. If you know that something is important AND urgent, take the leap. There’s no such thing as the “perfect time.” If you continuously kick the can down the road, you’ll get nothing in return but tired legs. Decide to be a market leader in something…anything.

One of the most detrimental and dangerous causes of chronic laziness is fear. A healthy amount of fear is OK. But if you’re letting fear cripple you or if it’s holding your company back, your problem with laziness will simply get worse.

Here are a few things to do:

  1. Eliminate unhealthy fears. You’re going to make mistakes. Suck it up.
  2. Laziness is a choice. Choose to be something else.
  3. Chronic laziness is an epidemic. True leaders deal with these Be a leader.
  4. Like your muscles, your mindfulness, aptitude, and desire for success will become fatigued without exercise and practice. Push yourself to do just a little more or go just a little further.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Leave your comments below. Feel free to share this post through social media using the share buttons below – let’s get a robust discussion started!

 I’ll make a donation to a charity of your choice. Keep reading for details!!

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why more people haven’t taken me up on the offer I’ve been advertising the past 30 days or so. Some have and they are benefiting from it.

As a reminder, I’ve been offering free stuff – a sneak-peak and final published copy of my upcoming book, “What’s In It For Me?” Maybe you’re not a reader….that’s cool! So I’m going to sweeten the pot a bit. All you have to do is complete a short contact form to schedule a 15-20 minute phone conversation with me. That’s it! You’ll get the book AND this extra bonus even if you decide not to do business with me.

Here’s the “pot sweetener” – if you schedule and complete a phone consult with me, I’ll also donate $10 to the charity of your choice….in your name!! 

What do you have to lose??

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! But these offers will expire on 10/8/15.

You have some time left for us to get our schedules together to find a mutually beneficial time to chat. As long as the agreed upon date/time is on my calendar by Thursday 10/8/15 at 5 pm Central Time (U.S.) you’ll receive the gifts after we actually complete our call.

 The first step is to complete the form. I’ll be in touch within 24 hours to schedule your no-obligation 15-20 minute chat. After we have our chat, I’ll send you the book preview and will put you on the special author’s list so that you are one of the very first to receive the complete book once it is published. Then, I’ll send you an electronic charity donation card – you’ll be able to select from a number of charities to be the recipient of the donation.

 All for having a short conversation…..

But WAIT!! There’s one more bonus I’d like to offer…..

If you schedule that phone consult with me by 5 pm Central time on Thursday 10/8/15, you’re already going to receive the book preview, the entire book once it’s published and the $10 charity donation card.

But let’s say that we decide to work together after our phone call and your due diligence, I’ll also give you a 10% discount on your investment. Depending on the specific program/service you choose, that could be a savings of up to $5,000! You’ll receive the discount as long we finalize our arrangement within 30 days of our original phone chat!

Complete the form, get your 15-20 minute consult on my calendar by 5 pm Central time on Thursday 10/8/15, and we’re on our way! 

Information on ABSURD! – A Leadership Training & Thought System:

 CLICK HERE FOR THE ABSURD! INFORMATION FORM

For planning, speaking, and other training needs:

CLICK HERE FOR THE GENERAL CONTACT FORM

Great leaders do this better than anyone

‘Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.’

— John Maxwell

quoteMany of us have had the unfortunate experience of working for a “leader” that isn’t really a leader at all. Call them tyrants, micromanagers, control freaks, insert your own description here….

These people are difficult to work for. You would think that the usually noticeable “revolving-door” of outstanding employees surrounding these “leaders” would catch the attention of higher-level executives. You might hope that the organization’s executives would address it. But alas, this is not always the case. So the terrible “leaders” are allowed to stay where they are to continue their harmful actions. Enough about terrible leaders.

Now, let’s talk about what GREAT leaders do and how they distinguish themselves from the not so great.

GREAT leaders empower others. They provide their team members with opportunities to positively affect the team and the organization as a whole. Great leaders allow for mistakes to be made and quickly address these while at the same time positioning them as learning opportunities. Great leaders build up. Great leaders don’t crave or need control of every little thing.

GREAT leaders root for their teams and celebrate successes. They understand that outstanding performance and results are direct reflections of how they lead. A great leader motivates and encourages. A great leader is a coach and a cheerleader. A great leader accentuates the positives before discussing shortcomings.

Here are a few questions to ask yourselves to help determine whether or not you are an empowering leader:

Do you understand the importance of coaching and vigilant (not oppressive) guidance? Do you make the time to teach?

Have you created a collaborative atmosphere?

Do you understand that while empowering others to make decisions is beneficial, the ultimate responsibility for your team’s success or failure lies with you?

Ponder these questions. Share your feedback in the comments section. Start a dialogue.

Keep reading for an outstanding BONUS:

A recent Gallup study concluded that 70% of employees feel “disengaged” because they don’t know what their roles are in the overall Strategic Plan of their organizations.

So basically, 7 out of 10 employees have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing and don’t have a clue as to why!!

That should scare the heck out of you!

I’d like to have a discussion with you….that’s it – a discussion! There is absolutely no obligation to do business with me after our 15-20 minute chat.

In exchange for your commitment of just 15-20 minutes, I’ll send you a preview of my upcoming book, What’s In It For Me?  The Driving Force Behind Bold Leadership, Making Better Decisions, and Changing Lives!

 I’ll also send you a free copy of the finished book once it is published.

What do you have to lose??

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! 

 BONUS!!!

Maybe you’re all set with a Planning facilitator this year.

That’s awesome!!

I’ll also give you the preview of the book If you would be kind enough to have a similar discussion about my Leadership Thought System, ABSURD!

 All you have to do now is click on one of the links below (one will take you to the Strategic Planning information page and the other will take you to the ABSURD! information page.

 Complete the form. I’ll be in touch within 24 hours to schedule your no-obligation 15-20 minute chat. After we have our chat, I’ll send you the book preview and will put you on the special author’s list so that you are one of the very first to receive the complete book once it is published.

 All for having a short conversation…..

 CLICK HERE FOR THE STRATEGIC PLANNING INFORMATION FORM

 CLICK HERE FOR THE ABSURD! INFORMATION FORM

The choices LEADERS make: 3 ways to stay above the small stuff

609_3576465Allegedly, when John Adams met George Washington for the first time just prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he turned to a colleague and told him that Washington “would be leading something someday.” We all know how that went.

Some people are natural born leaders. I truly believe this. Of course, there is another viewpoint that leadership has to be learned. I agree with that too. The difference between successful leaders and terrible ones can be drilled down to the specific choices they make.

Leaders make all kinds of choices. They make decisions every day, some more critical than others. The best leaders don’t spend much time making decisions about nonsense. They make choices related to strategy, direction, and focus. Do you really think that General Washington made choices about how to handle a disruptive soldier? Of course he didn’t. He had lower-ranking Officers to deal with that stuff. Washington’s job was to focus on creating strategies that would lead to the defeat of the British Army. He simply didn’t have time and could not spend any of his energy on things that didn’t relate to winning the war.

Here are 3 choices that successful leaders make:

They delegate. This isn’t about passing the buck. The best leaders make a decision to delegate tasks (including some decisions) that don’t relate to strategic focus. Even though they may delegate, they always have a pulse on what’s happening within their organization.

They say “no.” “No.” = a complete sentence. The most successful leaders go through a process when deciding on something. I discuss this process at great length in my upcoming book, What’s In It For Me? The Driving Force Behind Bold Leadership, Making Better Decisions, and Changing Lives. Keep reading for an opportunity to receive a free preview of the book.

They accept complete and total responsibility for the bad choices they make.Even if their choices wind up being the wrong ones, successful leaders shoulder the responsibility of having made the decision. They know how to Accept, Ascend and Advance. (I call these the 3 A’s in the book.) These leaders don’t spend a great deal of time dwelling about what might have been. They resolve to move forward using the lessons they have learned from their poor choices.

So….about that free book preview I mentioned above……

A recent Gallup study concluded that 70% of employees feel “disengaged” because they don’t know what their roles are in the overall Strategic Plan of their organizations.

So basically, 7 out of 10 employees have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing and don’t have a clue as to why!!

That should scare the heck out of you!

I’d like to have a discussion with you….that’s it – a discussion! There is absolutely no obligation to do business with me after our 15-20 minute chat.

In exchange for your commitment of just 15-20 minutes, I’ll send you a preview of my upcoming book, What’s In It For Me?  The Driving Force Behind Bold Leadership, Making Better Decisions, and Changing Lives!

I’ll also send you a free copy of the finished book once it is published.

What do you have to lose??

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! 

BONUS!!!

Maybe you’re all set with a Planning facilitator this year.

That’s awesome!!

I’ll also give you the preview of the book If you would be kind enough to have a similar discussion about my Leadership Thought System, ABSURD!

All you have to do now is click on one of the links below (one will take you to the Strategic Planning information page and the other will take you to the

ABSURD! information page.

Complete the form. I’ll be in touch within 24 hours to schedule your no-obligation 15-20 minute chat. After we have our chat, I’ll send you the book preview and will put you on the special author’s list so that you are one of the very first to receive the complete book once it is published.

All for having a short conversation…..

CLICK HERE FOR THE STRATEGIC PLANNING INFORMATION FORM

CLICK HERE FOR THE ABSURD! INFORMATION FORM

 I look forward to our conversation!

A Pathway to Humble Leadership: 3 Simple Steps

'He who serves his fellows, is of all his fellows, greatest.' — Dr. E. Urner Goodman

‘He who serves his fellows, is of all his fellows, greatest.’ — Dr. E. Urner Goodman

By Sean McDonald

I have a long history with the Boy Scouts of America. I am an Eagle Scout and have held a lot of leadership positions in the organization, both on a local and national level. and I worked on summer camp staff for several years. My best friends in the world are those I made through my involvement with Scouting.

The caption for the photo above is a quote from the founder of the Order of the Arrow, a service organization in the Scouts. The purpose and sole duty of “Arrowmen” is to serve others. It’s as simple as that. There are a variety of ways to serve, too many to discuss here. Suffice to say that every action, project, or work should be tied back to that very simple goal: to serve others.

People lead organizations from all demographics, age groups, creed, race, and backgrounds. The vast majority of these leaders are good at their jobs. Some could use an ego adjustment. A few fall into the category of “servant-leaders.”

The concept of “Servant-Leadership” is catching on. Organizations that use the philosophy often enjoy the best productivity, highest profits, and lowest turnover of employees. As a leader, who wouldn’t want those things?

Here are 3 Steps to becoming an effective “servant-leader”….

Share power. It’s not all about you. It never was, isn’t now, and never will be. Get humble. Your role as a leader is not to grab power and hoard it over people. If you’re looking for more collaboration and higher morale, empower those with whom you work to do more. You’ll get to see what they’re made of. And they’ll get to see what you’re made of.

Put the needs of others first. This can be challenging, especially in the world that screams “me, me, me.” But it is possible. More than possible, it is necessary. Recently, we are hearing about company owners or leaders making sacrifices for the betterment of their employees. One company executive recently announced that he would pay college tuition for the children of his employees. Talk about a great tactic to achieve employee loyalty! Richard Branson created an unlimited vacation program for his employees. He understands that if employees are well rested, they will be more productive and happier. You’ll have to find out which “others first” programs might work for your organization. But start to look for opportunities, right now.

Develop your people. I’ve always been baffled as to why bad leaders, including those who don’t train and develop employees, get upset when their best employees leave. It’s not rocket science. Great employees want to increase their knowledge, be prepared to take on additional responsibilities, and be acknowledged for doing awesome things. A servant-leader understands this and takes action. A servant-leader creates opportunities for the best employees. A servant-leader makes it known that he or she values professional development.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Please be sure to share your comments below. Share this article with others using the buttons below.

Let’s get a discussion going!

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