#130: The Higher You Climb the Harder You Fall

Remember the saying “The higher you climb, the harder you fall?” When I was younger I always thought the author of this quote got it wrong.

Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar

I’ve fallen out of a tree and off a ladder once or twice and believe me it wasn’t hard to fall. The falling part was easy! The landing part, now that was hard!

Now though I think I finally understand what the author meant (I’m slow sometimes). In the context of your career, your position in life, falling from the heights of power is indeed hard.

Just ask billionaire investment financier Bernie Madoff who was convicted of the largest investment fraud in U.S. history. Bernie is currently serving a 150-year prison term.

Or Jeffrey Skilling the former CEO of Enron who was convicted 35 counts of fraud and insider trading. Jeffrey served 14 years of a 24-year prison sentence.

Falling from the heights of executive power to the depths of a prison cell was hard!

Someone who fell even further and harder than Madoff and Skilling was Nebuchadnezzar. His story is a lesson for anyone who is climbing the ladder, and especially for those that have reached the top of the ladder.

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#108: What One Thing are 99.2% of Leaders Doing to Hurt Results?

It’s hard to believe, but a study by the Management Research Group concluded that a whopping 99.23% of leaders are not able to effectively balance the need for achievement and caring in their organizations.

Being focused on results without regard for people may have worked in the past, but more and more data suggests this leadership style does not work with millennials. A Forbes article points out with the percentage of millennials in the workforce growing every year, approaching 40% by 2020, this is an issue.

  • 64% of millennials say it’s a priority to make the world a better place.
  • 79% say they want a boss that acts like a coach or mentor.
  • 88% say they prefer a collaborative work environment.
  • 88% say they want work-life integration.

Don’t get me wrong, every business needs to drive results that generate profits to exist. The issue here is, “How can we manage our organizations so that we deliver the profit we need while meeting the needs of our employees?”

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management noting the top five influences of employee job satisfaction provides some clues:

  • 63% are satisfied with opportunities to use their skills/abilities
  • 61% are satisfied with their job security
  • 60% are satisfied with the compensation
  • 57% are satisfied with communication between employees and management
  • 54% are satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor

Summarizing the Surveys

Millennials want a collaborative work environment where, ideally, their work and their life are integrated in a way that benefits society. Their preferred relationship with management is less dictator and more mentor/coach.

There is a large portion of the workforce that are clearly not satisfied in their jobs: 47% feel they don’t have an opportunity to use their skills, 39% feel their jobs are not secure, 40% have issues with compensation, 43% feel improved communication between employees and management is needed, and 46% feel their relationship with their immediate manager is not as good as it could be.

Course of Action to Improve Results

Imagine if we created a work environment that was collaborative, where employees felt that their work mattered, that they were contributing to a greater good, and where their boss was an encourager, a mentor, a coach that helped enable them to be the best they could be?

Do you think that kind of environment would raise the numbers of employees who had high levels of job satisfaction? Do you think productivity would improve? Would turnover decrease?

My bet is that in the right kind of work environment, where people love what they do and feel valued, productivity would skyrocket, avoidable turnover would drop to nothing, and profits would climb!

The Platinum Rule of Leading

Jesus, teaching the disciples said, Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Actually, I think this is just the starting point for how we should treat those in our organizations.

We should strive to treat God’s children, the way God would treat them if He were standing in our place. Jesus said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

What kind of breakthrough might be in store for us if we began leading the way we would want to be led?  And then, what change might we see in this world if we indeed we managed to love one another in a way that reflected Christ’s love for us?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome! What stands out about these two surveys to you? In your experience, how well do you think leaders are doing at leading in a way that maximizes employee job satisfaction? Do you think job satisfaction would increase if more leaders reflected Christ’s love for His children?


Category: Relationships | Power and Influence

#091: What To Do When You Are Stuck Cleaning Up Someone Else’s Mess!

Sooner or later you will likely be in the position of needing to clean up someone else’s mess.

Cleanup, Mess

If that call hasn’t come yet it could happen anytime. As a leader, cleaning up someone else’s mess can be a particularly difficult and challenging time in your career, but it can also be an extremely rewarding time.

Cleaning up someone else’s mess may require restructuring the organization, changing its direction, or changing processes that have been in place for years. Often, the sense of urgency is intense—clean up the mess, make the needed changes, and do it quick!

Asa, was the third king of Judah, and the great grandson of Solomon. The Bible describes Asa as a good king, a man “who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:11, 2 Chronicles 14:2). We can learn a lot about leadership and how to clean up a mess from him.

Asa became king of Judah when he was only 18-22 years old after his father, Abijah, died. The people of Judah had lived for 20 years under two bad kings, Asa’s father and grandfather. They allowed the people to build altars to foreign gods and worship them as they forsook the God of their fathers, David and Solomon. Asa inherited quite a mess!

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#053: The Leader’s Role as Arbiter and Judge—Five Important Tips

One of the roles that befall you as a leader is that of arbiter and judge. You may not like it, but not liking it won’t make the role go away.

Judge, Arbiter, Bible

Employees will come to you with issues representing various opinions, and you will need to make a decision as to which is the right answer, or the preferred course of action. Customers may look to you as the arbiter in settling a customer service issue.

The book of Exodus recounts the story of Moses executing his role as the judge for the Israelite people (Exodus 18:13-26). The Scripture says Moses took his seat to serve as judge, and the people stood around him from morning to night as Moses judged between them. As judge, Moses was responsible for deciding between the parties, and giving them God’s decrees and instructions.

Can you imagine? Scholars estimate there were 2.5 – 3.5 million Israelites following Moses out of Egypt on their way to the Promised Land. You think you’ve got problems? Imagine being the sole judge for the population of a city somewhere between the size of Chicago and Los Angeles!

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