Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Do not lie to your employees: Lessons from an MBA class

Companies sometimes get bad news and it is not uncommon for this bad news to affect employees. Obviously the news must be disseminated in a timely manner, however, there are some companies whose company culture it is to practice a dangerous form of deception with their employees: they lie to them.

When you lie to your employees, all you are doing is sweeping the trash into the closet, and that closet will eventually be opened. When you lie to your employees, you are saying you do not value them or trust them. When you lie to your employees you are missing an opportunity to solicit some potential solution from your staff; believe me, if the vested in the company they want to help see the problem fixed.

Your employees know the pulse of your company, especially if they have been around for a little while; they know the cycles, and they can quickly separate the truth from falsehood. After all, they run the day to day operation of the place.

Tell them the truth, ask for their help, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the helpful responses.
Today’s lesson,

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We worship the wrong things: an educational observation

This post has nothing to do with religion, but religion will be touched upon; it does have everything to do with the perceived priorities of many people.

Definition of Religion according to Merriam-Webster:
·    the belief in a god or in a group of gods
·    an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
·    an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

Definition of a god according to Merriam-Webster:

·    the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe
·    a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people: one of various spirits or beings worshipped in some religions
·    a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired

How often have these attributes been attributed to athletes? Check for yourself, it does not take much to see how athletes are viewed in United States. When I used to teach middle school, fantasy baseball was introduced in math class in order to get students interested in numbers. A clever idea right? But sad in some ways if you think about it.

Definition of Perfection according to Merriam-Webster:

·    the state or condition of being perfect
·    the act of making something perfect or better: the act of perfecting something
·    something that cannot be improved: something that is perfect

We expect perfection from the things we worship: athletes, politicians, Hollywood crowd. However, we love to see them fail because all this provides entertainment.

Definition of Entertainment according to Merriam-Webster:

·    amusement or pleasure that comes from watching a performer, playing a game, etc.
·    the act of amusing or entertaining people

Since when has politics become entertainment? Since when has the future direction of our country become a side show? It is also sad because mainstream media perpetuates this state of “entertainment”.

We focus on the wrong things; we get outraged by the wrongs things! There is a whole list of things we should be concerned about but we are concerned about the things we worship instead.

Teacher salary, student debt, social justice, gender equality, prison reform, a steady economy, etc. It is things like this that the average person such as myself are concerned about, but we do not talk about these things in a meaningful manner. Our discussions of these things are reduced to social media bites in which the ugly side of humanity comes out because people feel safe in their anonymity.

Going to church once a week does not mean you believe in a god, and as educators, getting a degree does not mean we are doing everything we can to educate. We must lead this discussion, we must force our students to think and think for themselves; in short we must educate!

My thought for the day but my hope for life.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Artful Dodge of an Apology: lesson from an MBA program

In my experience, most apologies are given to make the person apologizing feel better, and societal norms in this country say we must accept that apology and not hold a grudge, etc. What is not factored in is the human factor; the fact that we are thinking, breathing and feeling creatures.

How you treat your employees before they leave and how you treat your colleagues before you part ways will have a lot to do with how that apology is truly received. If you had made the effort beforehand, you probably will not have to apologize later, or give false platitudes such as “it is nice to see you”.

This sounds cynical, I know, however, the point of this write up is to prevent these issues from becoming issues in the first place, and it starts with authentic leadership.

Some things to think about that get taught in class every day, but do not necessarily get put into practice.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Awareness on life choices - Teaching how to survive in a world of crisis

ETeam Guest Writer: Debbra Smith

As life evolves our world is growing into a deeper crisis of addictions and suicides. As God called me to write "Why Me God?", it is all about the awareness of real life choices and how a girl with so much potential got swallowed up by her addictions. 

We must teach our children about these issues in school and how to learn what wrong choices can cost them. Educators can be the only hope a lot of these kids have now. We must act now! Everyone seems to know someone now. Life has changed so we must add more learning skills. 

Debbra Smith, Author

Friday, August 26, 2016

Writers are welcome!

Do you write articles about education issues or educational leadership? Do you want to grow your audience and help grow a fledgling blog into a large one?

The ETeam welcomes writers (and before you ask, not there is no charge) to contribute to our blog!

When submitting articles, please make sure to submit an appropriate picture to go with it, and please keep it relevant to the important issues in education and leadership.

Let’s make a difference, let’s change the world!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quick plan to start getting to know your employees

If you know nothing about your staff other than their job description, if you have trouble having a non-work meaningful conversation with them, and if you do not know their first names, then you have work to do.

Here is a quick plan to correct this:

1.      Monday. Ask them how their weekend was and actually pay attention. If you have a lot of employees alternate the weeks
2.      Tuesday. Ask how their week is set up and what projects they are working on. Inquire if they need help with any of them. This shows you are paying attention to what they are doing and are available if they need you
3.      Wednesday. Send a mid-week pep talk or check in to everyone, make the message about them and their efforts (avoid sarcasm)
4.      Thursday. Week is almost ended, check on their projects but most importantly ask what fun plans they have and listen
5.      Friday. People slow down on the last day of the week, so this is not the day to be a hard case (but they still owe you an honest day’s work). Do you have a casual Friday dress code or some kind of fun Friday activity? Make sure you say goodbye to everyone before you leave or they leave (you should be last out)

Simple enough right? Then why isn’t this happening regularly?

Lesson from an MBA course.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I did not write this but I am going to share it

5 Signs You're Going To Fail As a Leader

1. Squashing the talents and strengths of team members.

Not recognizing their unique strengths and talents beyond a job description, and how that translates to high performance, is certainly an engagement killer. People love to use their unique gifts. The best leaders will leverage close relationships with employees by finding out what their strengths are, and bringing out the best in their employees.

2. Hoarding information.

Here's the real reason leaders hoard and withhold information: It's about power and control. And control is one of the most effective ways to kill trust. A leader hoarding information to control his environment and the people in it cannot be trusted. The reverse of this is a leader who acts responsibly by sharing information and being transparent with their team.

3. Micromanaging.

Micro-managers operate their way because, again, it's about power, and power is about control; don't let them fool you by making you believe it's to keep from things going bad, or because they want to ensure things are done "the right way" as the "experts". So how do you avoid a micro-managed environment? Three ways:
  • First, pay attention to your hiring process. Are you asking the right questions to assess and measure culture fit, and the work behaviors you desire on top of your technical and other hard skills?
  • Secondly, are team members being trained properly? And do you have an engaging onboarding process that puts the emphasis on developing the team?
  • Lastly, are you listening to feedback (and doing something about it) that will further support staff needs, and improve yourself (and your business, I might add) as a leader? When you hire bright people that reflect your and your company's values, equip them to succeed, and share power with them, you have extended trust their way, and are on your way to building a great team.

4. Getting the last word

Are you an employee reporting to a manager who is always right, and has the final say on everything? In leadership literature, this is a person with low EQ (Emotional Intelligence).
When this leader doesn't solicit the opinions of others, get buy-in from team members (especially when change is on the horizon, because change is often scary), trust erodes and morale goes in the tank.
When this leader doesn't lay out a vision and listen to the collective voice of the team in pursuing the vision, chances are team members will not feel cared for, respected, or valued.
As a result, team members will become increasingly passive and resentfully compliant. Does that resonate?

5. Not making themselves available.

Some (but not all) meetings are important and necessary. We all get that. But when leaders are booking unnecessary meetings while spending less one-on-one time with team members, that leader is sending a message that they don't care about them.
This may not be a reflection of character, but it's what is coming across to team members. If you want to avoid your schedule being a reflection of your priorities and showing that you don't care, create margin and build in time (15-20 minutes at the most will do the trick) for one-on-ones.
Or you can block off time for team members to drop by and ask questions, address concerns, get mentored, and just "check-in."
Read the whole thing here: 5 Signs You're Going To Fail As a Leader

These are common mistakes we all experience and the leaders doing this often do not know (or sometimes do not care) that they are doing it. In my experience numbers one and four are the deadliest.

The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Keeping bridges intact in today’s digital age

We have a tendency to pour a lot of ourselves into our work, especially in the education industry. We spend countless hours of unpaid overtime, answering student emails, working on projects that will benefit the institution, grading, etc, etc. Our spouses get mad at us, our children get mad at us, and we promise ourselves we are going to slow down and take that vacation. We spend so much time at our job that our social lives can be completely wrapped up in it.

So what happens when for some reason or another you lose that job? How do you cope, but more importantly, how do your coworkers behave with your loss?

Job loss is nothing new, but in this day and age of instant information, it is not uncommon to find yourself being interviewed by someone you laid off, or competing with someone you know from an old job. How did you treat that person when they left? How did you treat that person before they left? Crucial questions on how future events might play out.

I personally find that I get the most LinkedIn requests, or requests for recommendation when people separate from their job and they need something, and those people quickly disappear once they get what they needed; until the next time.

While most people are believers in paying it forward, we are all human. We remember the slights, the broken promises, and the fact that the only time we hear from you is when you need something. Was your relationship genuine in the first place?

This is not saying you have to be everyone’s friend, but I am suggesting that the level of authenticity you displayed with past coworkers will determine how they view you in the future (professionally).
Try not to burn bridges, and this goes as much for the former employers as the former employee because, technology is creating a long memory. A business that is known to be unstable and have a revolving door is going to attract only temporary employees, and that business will become a way-stop for those looking for something else. Do not get it twisted, businesses can become desperate for good talent as well.

Treat your employees well while they are with you and when they leave you, because you are likely to see them again, and they can affect your future as a company. 

Lessons from an MBA program.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, August 8, 2016

Listen to your employees: lessons from an MBA program

Active listening is a skill that must be practiced regularly when you supervise people because it is skill that can easily rust as one gets complacent. It should be said that there are many supervisors out there who have never possessed this skill at all.

When an employee comes to you with a problem, to vent, or just to talk, it is all about that employee; your personal anecdotes and stories have no place in that conversations unless you were asked to share. It is amazing how often this mistake occurs.

Trust and confidentiality is an important factor here as well; a private conversation told to you by an employee should stay private (unless a life is involved). It is amazing how rumors get spread by the people who are supposed to look out for your best interests.

Seems simple correct? Then why is this not actively practiced in so many organizations?

Retain your most valuable assets, your staff; and it starts by being engaged in their lives.

It is not about you; today’s lesson

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Good email communication: a simple tip

There are so many modalities of communication nowadays, and in business you can get plugged into so many of them to the point that it is overwhelming.

But what good are all those modalities if you never get back to people, or if people can never reach you in a timely manner? The answer is that they are useless.

Here is a useful tip for emails specifically, which seem to have the most volume:

·         Answer back immediately (or set up an automatic message to answer for yourself) just to acknowledge you received the message and will get back to them as quickly as possible; and make sure you do.

The person who sent the message will appreciate the acknowledgment, and it buys you more time. It is amazing how some emails never get returned, or get returned so late that you wonder if the person is joking.

Lesson from an MBA class….

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam