Monday, February 16, 2015

Can a Leader Give Too Much Praise?

Is it possible to give someone too much recognition?

Yes -- too much recognition or praise can backfire.   First, a leader needs to be sincere and make sure that the specific achievement is worthy of kudos.  Next, you need to know how each staff member wants to be rewarded most.  What may be a reward or great recognition for one person, may be an aversion or distasteful experience for another.  

We measure 10 key "Driver + Rewards Needs".   One of these is "Fame + Feedback" and I have two quick stories where the impact of rewards given with positive intent backfired. 
We had a health care client who rewarded a nursing manager as the "leader of the year."  
To honor her and to celebrate this distinction, they picked her up in a limo and brought her to a surprise party in the parking lot with employees there to cheer.  Unfortunately, she scored under 5% (out of 100%) on her need for Fame + Feedback.   She told me that if they ever did anything like that again that she would resign immediately. She was mortified and humiliated. She said it was the worst day of her life and tries not to think about it.  Her highest driver was actually Humanitarian Efforts so serving others was her calling, not calling attention to herself.
At a university's leadership institute, one director I had coached, who had a very low score on Fame + Feedback, rewarded a new employee with a balloon bouquet as thanks for bringing in a new corporate client.  She was trying to acknowledge that others frequently have a higher need for recognition than she did so her intent was positive. Well, with this gentleman, she was wrong. She sent the bouquet without having his Drivers + Reward data -- later to find out that his score on Fame + Feedback was even lower than hers. Of course we laughed after that situation happened but this did re-affirm the point of the need to know your direct reports' drivers and reward needs.
Interestingly, people with high Fame + Feedback scores may be compelled to leave jobs because they do not get sufficient thanks or appreciation for their contributions. Without being show the respect or visibility they so need, they feel disappointed or demotivated and may ultimately leave to seek something more satisfying. Keep in mind -- recognition doesn't cost the company anything.

The other 9 Drivers + Reward facets we measure include: Business + Finance (money, economic issues), Artistic Endeavors, Companionship + Affiliation, Amusement + Hedonism, Humanitarian Efforts, Power + Competition, Scientific Reasoning, and Safety + Security.  So the question is on all of these for each person: is it a driver, non-interest or aversion or unimportant to you?  Managers typically err by rewarding what they personally value most which may or may not match what the employee really wants and needs. While the intention may be sincere, rewards can backfire.  
Bottom line, learning what specifically motivates your employees (and what they don't like) will help you to keep them happy, fulfilled, energized and loyal.
Nancy Parsons 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Self Awareness is a Must for Exceptional Leadership

The most successful leaders share a variety of qualities that help them in becoming the best kind of 
leader. It isn't about emulating a role model or an historic figure. Rather, a leader must be rooted in one's true self and be able to recognize and develop their true talent. How can a leader find their true self?

Leaders who have a strong understanding of their true self have a greater ability to motivate staff, serve as role model, build effective teams and relationships, and to reach personal, professional, and organizational goals. Equally important for exceptional leadership is recognizing and managing one’s own inherent personal risk factors.   Tapping into one’s true strengths, while managing one’s risk factors productively, allows the leader to build positive relationships with staff, clients, senior leaders, and all other key stakeholders. 

What can happen to the leader who is unaware or is unwilling to look squarely at themself?  Derailment, job-hopping, sub-par performance, high turnover, alienation of staff, are common occurrences. Or, the results can be as simple as rejection of feedback and the failure to accept responsibility that can erode trust and credibility.  The latter is a slower road to derailment or lackluster performance results.  

When members of the C-Suite get the boot, it is not because of their intelligence or lack of knowledge.  Typically, it is because of their lack of self-awareness and ineffective behaviors gone unchecked. They lack the ability and humility to build and maintain appropriate relationships with the right people.   Leaders who lack personal self-awareness are generally not good at being keenly perceptive about others and tend to lack objectivity. 

For example, imagine the CEO who has strong Egotist tendencies and surrounds himself or herself with Pleasers.  This is not healthy from the outset. Egotists tend to see themselves as infallible and do not accept feedback well.   Pleasers are yes people – so they are unlikely to push back. Egotists see themselves as superior and smarter than everyone else.   Often, this comes with a sense of self entitlement too.  In this type of group scenario, the Egotist CEO tends to bully or run slipshod all over the team.  So the lack of self-awareness, in this case, is devastating to the organization. In operating or plant environments, this dysfunctional team can pose safety or environmental risks.   Keep in mind Egotists play up well and are often charismatic, so the Board of Directors, may take a long time, if ever, in realizing what is going on and the damage may be done.

There have also been executives who, after going through self-awareness coaching say, “We’ll that is who I am they will just have to live with it.” One such CEO was a Perfectionist to the highest degree and required constant updates from all executives that were not necessary in the retail industry.  His executives never had a full day off.  Burn out was rampant and he refused to back off – even though he knew his demands were not required for the business, but merely to satisfy his comfort level and need for excessive information. He did not yield to the feedback and eventually lost his position due to his micro-management and rigidity. 

Self-aware leaders are clear about their strengths – even the nuances of their capabilities and are able to leverage those.  Then, they are humble and open about their short sides and risks and work each day to keep those from interfering with relationships and bottom-line performance.  They welcome the differences of each team member and work to cultivate and maximize the diverse team strengths while neutralizing risks and gaps.  Exceptional leaders are authentic leaders who are willing to look at themselves and others with clarity, compassion, objectivity and courage.

Since 1998, CDR Assessment Group has been focusing on helping our clients to increase their self-awareness through leadership coaching feedback CDR  3-D Suite of assessments.

The CDR 3-D Suite is a robust leader/talent development tool that provides specific tangible performance and development suggestions measured through:

   Character leader acumen, strengths, best-fit role, emotional intelligence and more
   Drivers, intrinsic motivation, aversions, and values
   Risk factors that can impede effectiveness, damage relationships and lead to derailment

If you want to know your true self, email or call 918.488.0722 today to get started.   We have CDR certified executive coaches available globally to debrief your confidential assessment results to heighten your self awareness.  Go to to learn more.  Your calls are welcomed!  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Webinars to Neutralize Leadership Risk Factors!

Are Leaders' Risks Running Amok in Your Organization?  

CDR-U, the corporate development division of CDR Assessment Group, Inc., offers 12 exclusive webinars for your leaders and employees designed to help them minimize or prevent RISK behaviors that undermine success.  Some examples of these nonproductive behaviors are:
  • Indecisiveness or refusal to act swiftly due to fear of failure; over-analyzing too much 
  • Mistrustfulness, negativity that inhibits innovation and creativity
  • Selling too hard – inability to listen and read clients or audiences well
  • Back stabbing, negative politics, withholding information, or passive aggressiveness
  • Conflict avoidance 
  • Cold shoulders, the silent treatment, isolationism, or non-communications 
  • Micro-managing, perfectionism, the do it "my way" syndrome
  • Impulsivity or recklessness
  • Does not admit mistakes, too full of self, sense of entitlement, tough on staff
  • Inability to say no or set appropriate boundaries
  • Bullying behaviors (a difficult "moving against" profile)
Do any of these ring true?  Do any of your leaders or professionals show these behaviors on occasion?  Do you know the impact on your organization? 

CDR-U’s webinars are based on the CDR Leadership Risk Assessment that identifies eleven inherent risks that can impede individual, team and organizational performance.    

CDR-U's 12 Risk Factor Webinar Topics are:

1.        How Inherent Risk Factors Are Interfering With YOUR Success
2.        Opening Up to Feedback & Keeping the EGO in Check
3.        Don't Worry - Be Decisive!  (Public Session Feb 13, 2015 see post below)
4.        The Cynic’s Tightrope: Healthy Skepticism vs. Harmful Mistrust
5.        Why Pleaser’s Finish Last – and What To Do About It!
6.         Leadership Disconnect: Hiding & Ignoring Problems
7.         When Marching to your Own Beat Undermines Your Credibility
8.         How Hidden Agendas & Working Behind the Scenes Holds You Back
9.         Are You a Wrecking Ball or a Change Agent?
10.       Micro-Managers, Control Freaks & Nit Pickers Welcomed!
11.        Drama, Drama, Drama – When Hogging the Airtime Goes Too Far

CDR Coaching Services for Developing Leaders
CDR coaches are available to provide accurate assessment and one-to-one coaching to help leaders pinpoint their RISKS to help them neutralize and manage them more productively.  (Of course, strengths are identified too!)                                                     

CDR’s executive coaches are exceptionally skilled, insightful and direct.  They do not beat around the bushes and will help your leaders to accelerate positive results.  Our feedback equips leaders with a new level of self-awareness and the clarity needed to minimize risk behaviors while enhancing their strengths and gifts.

Act now and call 918.488.0722 or email cdrinfo@cdrassessmentgroup.comto learn more!