Page 18 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 4
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Excavating Leadership
Out with the Old and In with the New
Digging in the ground is not the only excavation
that damage prevention leaders need to consider. Sometimes leaders need to throw out their old behaviors to be replaced by new, more effective ones. Have you considered it is time to excavate your leadership culture?
Let’s consider a couple facts: 1) it is well-known that an employee’s supervisor is the number one stressor in their lives and 2) Christine Porath (author of Managing Civility and The Cost of Bad Behavior) reports that incivility is becoming alarmingly common in the American workplace and burns through cash. Below are just a few of her reported research findings with employees:
• 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
• 66% said that their performance declined.
• 78% said that their commitment to the organization declined.
• 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.
The last thing we want in the damage prevention world is for the employee’s performance to decline — that’s a safety issue!
The following four boxes contain a few examples of the behaviors that you want excavated out of your company ranging from the least to the most severe.
By Dr. Larry Cole
Porath’s research shows that 60% of the supervisors use a combination of the above listed behaviors.
Obviously, you want to excavate uncivil behaviors from your culture so I’m showing you another continuum illustrating the full-range leadership behaviors and their impact upon employee engagement and motivation.
Laissez-Faire Controlling Carrot/Stick Transformational
Terrible Bad Good Best
The laissez-faire leader can best be described as sticking their head in the sand while ignoring everything they can. This leader will most likely use the rude behaviors. The control freak is autocratic/dictatorial and will most likely
use the combination of uncivil behaviors trending toward bullying and abusive. The carrot and stick leader can deliver consequences for underperformance that can be adverse. Now comes the excavation — the transformational leader is one who is focused on achieving results while at the same time engaging and developing their people. This article’s length dictates that I be brief so I’m again using tables to summarize a few behavioral examples.
• Exhibits integrity — high morals/ethics • Humble
• Company 1st and me 2nd
• Seeks best ideas for the company
• Out-of-the-box thinking
• Mistakes = learning
• Challenges status quo
• Seeks different viewpoints
• Challenging & meaningful goals • Can do attitude
• Optimistic — looks for the good
• Passionate about working for the
• Appreciates people as humans • Listens to understand
• Cares about employee’s
non-working life
• Teaches employee
The transformational leader digs deep to rut out acts of incivility and create a culture of high morale, production
and profitability. And, let me point out several critical features about these transformational behaviors: (1) they are available to use right now or as soon as you stop reading
this magazine, (2) they are free, and (3) these behaviors are contained within your body so consider them as your natural resources and the more you use them their use continually grows. What are you waiting on? Start digging.
Larry Cole, Ph.D., is founder of TeamMax a consulting company that helps people work together. Please send questions and/or comments to Larry at
(1) Rudeness
(2) Understanding
1. Put People Down
2. Show little interest in other’s opinions 3. Show up late or leaving meeting early
1. Blame others for failure
2. Gossiping about otheres
3. Taking credit for successes
(3) Bullying
(4) Abusive
1. Threaten employees with job security 2. Play the “I am boss” card
3. Harass other based on gender, race,
nationality or politics
1. Put People Down
2. Show little interest in other’s opinions 3. Show up late or leaving meeting early
16 • Mississippi 811
2021, Issue 4

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