Stink Bugs and Flowers
There are two types of leaders, stink bugs and flowers.
When stink bugs show up, everything stinks.
- Fear goes up.
- Teams feel dumb.
- Nothing’s good enough.
- The past is more important than the future.
- “Little” people are punished.
- “Important” people are given exemptions.
- Standards are set after the fact, not before.
Everyone celebrates when stink bugs leave.
- Focus on opportunity.
- Define success. People know what winning looks like, when fragrant leaders show up.
- Fuel energy.
- Make people believe they matter.
- Evaluate ideas on merit, not who spoke them.
- Center status on performance and contribution, not position.
- Serve people, rather than people serving them.
7 ways to be the leader others love to see coming:
- Be a learner not a knower. Learning makes you beautiful, when it’s put into practice.
- Let others outdo and outshine you.
- Listen to suggestions.
- Figure out what people love doing.
- Explore and create alignment.
- Recognize the talent, skill, and knowledge of teammates.
- Spend time with people who are smarter than you.
- Go with someone else’s gut.
- Ask “dumb” questions. Don’t feel you have to know more than others.
- Say, “I don’t know,” when you don’t.
- Look for what’s working. Stink bugs focus mostly on mistakes. Fragrant leaders analyze success.
- Serve others so they serve others, not you. Exponential success goes beyond you.
- Lift more than put down.
- Calm your spirit. A frazzled spirit never instills confidence.
- Reject isolation.
- Walk around.
- Check in.
- Ask questions.
- Spread cheer. Smile.
- Talk more about where you’re going than where you’ve been.
Project: Make a list of every thing you did last week to lift people. What can you do this week to lift your team? Be specific.
Evaluate: If you wonder if you’re a stink bug, the fact that you wonder, suggests you are. It’s time to up your game.
What leadership behaviors make leaders attractive?
Another great post Dan- thank you.
My question is, what mechanism can be used to somehow let the “stink bug” know that they are one, and the majority of the team feels that way… other then telling them and causing offence and more negativity how can we do this?
I’m sure they don’t think they’re a “stink bug” and if they knew most of their team thought they were one they would like to know and to change it.
Thanks in advance.
Thanks Troy. Great question. I think I’m going to write about this topic tomorrow.
One option is seeing if the organization can begin having managers engage in a 360 degree evaluation.
I like your metaphor choice of Flowers, they enhance an environment without being obtrusive, their maintenance is not demanding…
Thanks Ken. The post started out with skunks and flowers. As you can tell, I went with stink bug. 🙂
I’m gad you appreciate the choice of language.
Great Dan! However, everybody knows whats wrong, but no one does anything about it.
I agree Brent. How would you propose employees do something about it? I guess a reality (in some workplaces) is, if an employee said something to their leader / manager then the likelihood of them gaining another contract is slim. I’ve seen it before, A “Stink bug” Leader, a good employee fearful of saying anything, they say something, they are not rehired, stink bug remains. Like a cycle…
Eliminating stink is what makes life beautiful. Leaders need to constantly evaluate, encourage and not be afraid that some one else will steal the thunder under them. I believe in this dictum.
Very nice post Dan. When leaders leave the organisation, how people feel shows real power of leaders. So, you are right. I have seen people feel suffocation in presence of leaders. They pray everyday for leaders to go. In presence of leaders, people greet them, wish them and leaders feel happy. They feel that people respect them, but they are not right. They see the world through their imagination. Leaders need to see the world from others perspective as well.
I know one person heading one reputed Institution. He had the power to depute some people to attend some program abroad within some limit. He was expected to search of people who really needed grooming. Instead of grooming others, he did opposite. He searched for the country which is attractive and beautiful. He nominated self and his close associates. Every years , he searched for best location, and nominated self and people belong to his group. He deputed to people who he did not like, to local places or most neglected place. By doing this, he used to boast about his leadership and his people supported him.
This is also one form of leadership. Such leadership does no good to society, surroundings or environment. Yes, they do good for self and their people.
I think, we need leaders who do not preach such behavior.
Being honest, I’m not sure how the choice of flower with its fragrance fits the very positive leader so nicely described. My alternatives are not coming though… Only one is the humming bird but that doesn’t fit the list either.
Great article. I love the analogy of ‘stink bigs’ and ‘flowers’. Thank you. Definitely one I will share
Perfect, I totally agree. When we go from willfulness to willingness we all win.