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Can you believe it's already time to bid farewell to the dog days of summer? Let's cross our fingers and hope the scorching heat wave bids us adieu too. In the bustling business world, summer vacations have wrapped up, the kids are back in school, and we find ourselves staring down the final months of the year. Is anyone else finding yourself saying, "The holidays will be here before we know it!"? And boy oh boy, does that mean the pressure's on to accomplish a whole lot before Thanksgiving rolls around.

I know many of you are feeling it. It’s completely normal at this time of year to be experiencing a heightened sense of urgency and maybe even impending doom as the end of the year approaches. That’s why we're turning our attention to a topic and a strategy that’s guaranteed to help take your leadership to the next level. We're diving deep into the art of being mindful in our communications, the extraordinary power of mindful leadership, and the eye-opening benefits of self-reflection. The practice of mindfulness can take you from not only surviving a year end but coming out the other side of it more balanced, productive and ultimately more successful. Get ready to embrace mindfulness like never before.

Why being mindful matters now more than ever

In today's fast-paced and demanding world, we find ourselves grappling with an immense amount of pressure when it comes to making crucial decisions and effectively managing our teams. But it's not just us — our teams are facing their own unique challenges as they strive to stay engaged while balancing personal demands and meeting ambitious goals.

Let's take a moment to acknowledge the gravity of the situation with some thought-provoking data. According to a survey by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a staggering 40% of workers are experiencing heightened stress levels in their jobs. And if that isn't alarming enough, The World Health Organization's study reveals that an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety at a cost of US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

It's incumbent on us as leaders to do something about this — for ourselves and our employees. Mindfulness is not just a fleeting trend or a quick fix; it's a transformative tool that can elevate our leadership skills to new heights. By embracing mindfulness practices in our decision-making and team management, we cultivate a sense of clarity and compassion that paves the way for a flourishing work environment.

But here's the thing: we must also be willing to embrace vulnerability and authenticity within ourselves. When we lead by example and create a safe space for our teams to be their authentic selves, we foster a culture of trust and resilience that can weather any storm. 

Let’s get started on the path to improved mindfulness.

Getting started on the path of being more mindful as a leader requires a commitment to personal growth and the well-being of your employees. Here are practical steps that you can take to cultivate mindfulness for yourself and promote it among your team:

Start with Self-Awareness

Begin by enhancing your self-awareness. Take time to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and reactions in different situations. Mindful leaders are conscious of their strengths, weaknesses, and triggers. Regularly practice mindfulness exercises like meditation, deep breathing, or journaling to become more attuned to your inner state.

Lead by Example

As a leader, your actions have a significant impact on your team. Demonstrate mindfulness in your daily practices and decision-making. Show up fully engaged in meetings, put the phone down, actively listen to your team members, and respond with thoughtfulness. When you lead by example, you inspire your employees to adopt a mindful approach.

Create Mindful Spaces

Encourage moments of mindfulness in the workplace. Consider setting aside a quiet room or designated area where employees can take short breaks for meditation or relaxation. If your team is working remotely, encourage them to use the Do Not Disturb or Focusing tools on your productivity software apps. Allow flexible work hours to enable employees to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively.

Provide Mindfulness Training

Consider offering mindfulness training sessions to your employees. You can start by sharing this month’s blog series and conducting a lunch-and-learn session to discuss the concepts and insights we share. Invite experts to conduct workshops on mindfulness practices, stress reduction, and resilience building.

Promote Work-Life Balance

The numbers I shared at the beginning prove this is a necessity. Support work-life balance for your personnel and prioritize employee well-being. Encourage them to take regular breaks and vacations to recharge. Don’t expect them to work long hours consistently. Be mindful by not sending emails to them outside of working hours. Acknowledge the importance of work-life harmony, and model it yourself.

Integrate Mindfulness into Meetings

Introduce mindfulness practices at the beginning or end of team meetings. Start with a brief mindfulness exercise to center everyone's focus and create a calm environment. This practice can improve team engagement and overall meeting effectiveness.

Encourage Mindful Decision-Making

Encourage your team to make decisions mindfully. Advise them to take a moment before reacting to challenges or making crucial choices. Mindful decision-making allows for thoughtful evaluation of options and reduces impulsive responses.

Remember, cultivating mindfulness is an ongoing journey. Be patient with yourself and your team as you embrace these practices. By integrating mindfulness into your leadership approach, you'll create a more engaged, resilient, and cohesive team, fostering a positive work culture that nurtures personal and professional growth.

Ready to get started?

I’d suggest you kick off this month with us by doing some self-reflection. A self-assessment can be a powerful tool for leaders to take the first step in reflection and become more mindful in their leadership approach. You can begin by taking advantage of the Omnia leadership assessment by clicking here.

Mindfulness isn't about perfection or quick fixes; it's a journey of self-discovery and growth. It's about tuning into the present moment and cultivating a deep sense of awareness. When we lead with mindfulness, we not only nurture our own well-being but also empower our teams to thrive and unleash their full potential.

So, my fellow mindful leaders, let's embark on this journey together. Let's create a workplace where compassion and understanding reign and where each team member feels valued and supported. By choosing mindfulness, we ignite a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond the confines of our organizations, making the world a better place for all.

Let's lead with intention, compassion, and mindfulness. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter, more mindful future.



Also read: 

Accountable Inspiration: Striking the Perfect Leadership Balance for Success
The Leader's Playbook: A Comprehensive Guide from Onboarding to Offboarding
Redefining Leadership: Embracing the Power of Servant Leadership in the Modern Workplace
A Call for Revolutionary Leadership in Today's Context


The founding fathers of the United States were some of the most influential figures in American history. They came from different backgrounds and had different views on politics and society, but they all shared this in common: they were fearless, rebellious, and bold. They were the kind of people who didn't take no for an answer, who wouldn't back down in a fight, and who had the vision and courage to create a nation from scratch. They were responsible for drafting the Constitution, forming the government, and shaping the country. No big deal, right? But what were they like in the workplace? Let's look at their Omnia personality traits and imagine how they might behave in a modern office.

Washington — The Assertive Analytic (Columns 1-4-5-8)

First up, literally, is George Washington. George, a natural-born leader, was quite reluctantly the first president. This guy took a poorly trained army with next to no resources and convinced them to cross an ice-cold river in the dead of winter… on Christmas! I struggle to convince people to brew a new pot of coffee if they take the last sip. George’s bold move led to a successful attack that helped boost morale among the American troops and marked a turning point in the revolution. Color me impressed.

George had a reputation for being disciplined and hardworking. He was also known for his honesty and integrity, which made him a respected figure among his colleagues. In the office, George always shows up on time, never takes a sick day, and inspires everyone to do their best. He leads the annual polar bear plunge (teambuilding!) and he's the boss everyone loves to work for, but you also know that you can't slack off around him because he'll call you out in front of the entire team.

Jefferson — The Persistent Visionary (1-3-6-7)

Next, we have Thomas Jefferson. Tom was a brilliant thinker and writer, but he was also a bit of a procrastinator. He was known for putting things off until the last minute and then pulling all-nighters to get everything done. In the office, he’s the coworker who always has a million ideas but never quite gets around to executing them. Tom’s the one who always returns his Redbox late and asks for extensions on his deadlines. You just know that you can't rely on him to finish his part of the project until the very last minute, but you also know it’ll be great when he does, which is the only reason you put up with it.

Franklin — The Visionary (1-3-5-7)

Then there's Benjamin Franklin, a work-hard, play-hard kind of guy. Benji was a true Renaissance man, with interests in science, philosophy, and diplomacy. He was also known for his electrifying wit and sense of humor, which made him a popular figure among his colleagues. The perfect blend of brilliant and funny, Benji’s online dating profile titled “Love is like electricity; you never know when it will strike!” gets all the swipes! In the modern workplace, he’s the guy who always has a clever joke or pun to share and who never misses an opportunity to lighten the mood. He's probably the one who organizes the office prank wars and generally keeps everyone entertained, but Benji knows how to get serious when it's time to work.

Adams — The Persistent Innovator (1-4-6-7)

John Adams was a bit of a hothead with a reputation for being argumentative. He also had a strong distaste for French cuisine, unlike Tom who was a known Francophile who maybe helped bring French cuisine to the States. Office conflict anyone? John was fiercely loyal to his beliefs and wasn't afraid to stand up for what he thought was right. In the office, he’s the guy who always starts arguments during meetings and refuses to back down until he's convinced you he's right. Good luck thinking it’ll ever be the other way around. He's probably the one who gets into heated debates with his colleagues (sorry Tom) over everything from politics to where to order lunch (nothing fussy, frivolous, or French!). John always gets the last word. With that column 6/7 combo, he does not give up and he will wear you down!

Hamilton — The Logistical Driver (1-4-5-7=8)

Finally, we have Alexander Hamilton. A brilliant strategist with a talent for financial management who just wanted his shot. He is the inspiration for the hottest ticket on Broadway, a musical blending hip-hop, R&B, and the traditional show tune. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Alex was known for his ambition and his willingness to take risks. In the office, he’s the guy who always has a new business idea and is constantly pushing the company to take bold steps forward. He's probably the one who spends all his time poring over spreadsheets and crafting elaborate PowerPoint presentations and who never misses an opportunity to pitch his latest project to the CEO. He's the one who always seems to be one step ahead of everyone else but who sometimes forgets to look before he leaps.

There you have it, the workplace personalities of the founding fathers. They were all unique, talented, and passionate individuals who would have been a force to be reckoned with in any modern-day workplace. And who knows, maybe they would have even created their own startups and revolutionized the world once again.

Ready to revolutionize your office and unlock the potential of your workforce? With the Omnia personality assessment, you’ll gain valuable insights into your team’s strengths, communication styles, and workplace preferences. From there, you can enhance team collaboration, improve hiring decisions, boost productivity, and avoid heated lunch debates! Happy Independence Day!


Also read: 

5 Leadership Traits of the Founding Fathers to Reflect on This Fourth of July
The Visionary Personality Type
Personality Spotlight: The Logistical Driver
A Call for Revolutionary Leadership in Today's Context



Even if you’re not an active TikTok user, it’s likely you’ve heard the term Quiet Quitting. The phenomenon has been the subject of news segments, articles, and a popular speaking topic on the conference circuit. You can even find enough t-shirt options on Etsy to build an entire wardrobe out of quiet quitting wear while gaining valuable insight into what it looks like in today’s pop culture.

There is some internet debate about when the term originated. Some are crediting economist Mark Boldger for first referencing the term at a conference in 2009. Before it really caught steam, Bryan Creely, a corporate recruiter and career coach, posted a video explaining a seismic shift underway in the corporate workplace. Those who had grown up in the hustle culture with an incessant need to work, work, work were shifting their focus from climbing the corporate ladder to prioritizing work-life balance. Employees in the lead seat during the tough hiring times were starting to do the bare minimum to maintain their position, and companies desperate to hire were saying the minimum amount was better than no amount. And then the term took on a life of its own when TikTok user @zaidleppelin posted a video describing quiet quitting and denouncing hustle culture. In one month, it got more than 3 million views, according to

After it went viral, everywhere I turned people were talking about it and asking our Omnia team to comment on it. At first, I mistook the meaning of it based on misguided assumptions, which I’m often prone to jump on. I thought it meant “quit and stay,” which was a term an executive at my former company would say back in the early 2000’s referring to people who were doing less than the bare minimum — those who had completely checked out but hadn’t officially quit. The more I dug into it, though, the more I realized it was quite different and something to pay more attention to. Although I still see it as a viral reaction to an age-old problem, the core of the issue is people are quiet quitting because they aren’t engaged, motivated, or feeling valued. It’s not limited to a certain generation, and it’s not a leader vs. employee issue. And yet it is pervasive, and we need to address it if we want to have thriving businesses.

The data on quiet quitting is concerning. A recent poll from Gallup indicates that quiet quitters make up 50% of the workforce today. Many quiet quitters fit Gallup's definition of being "not engaged" at work — people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job. This describes half of the U.S. workforce. According to Gallup, everyone else is either engaged (32%) or actively disengaged (18%). The actively disengaged are also known as the “loud quitters" who spread their dissatisfaction broad and wide, aiming to bring others along in their disengagement. So not only do we need to be concerned about quiet quitters but also about the loud quitters in your workplace who could intensify the problem.

Clearly this is a trend that can’t be ignored. As leaders, we need to address it head on, and it begins with our own self check.

According to a recent study by SHRM, managers were 2x more likely than individual contributors to be looking for a new job. Corporate managers are rapidly burning out and finding their jobs 10 times harder than before the pandemic. Leaders are struggling across the board with staff retention, hiring, and team performance.

Front line managers are the key to driving performance, team dynamics, culture, and engagement. In small and medium-sized businesses, managers wear multiple hats and are typically asked not just to manage all aspects of their team’s work but also to perform many of the same functions themselves. It’s no wonder that front line leaders are tempted to quiet quit themselves. If you’re facing this yourself, here are some ways to address it.

1. Identify the root cause

The first step is considering what is causing us to be dissatisfied or disengaged with work. Is it an overwhelming workload, insufficient resources, conflicts with colleagues, a values misalignment between you and your organization, or something else? Whatever the cause, identifying and putting a name on it is the first step so you can plan from here.

2. Develop a growth mindset

When we’re feeling disengaged ourselves, we can quickly go down a slippery slope of feeling the “ain’t it awfuls.” One way to overcome this is to adapt a growth mindset over a fixed mindset. Individuals with fixed mindsets view challenges as constant and unfixable. They operate from a mindset of scarcity vs. abundance. This can’t be changed overnight, but there are some great books and courses on this topic to help develop a change in attitude. Through development of a growth mindset, leaders can combat complacency and stay motivated at work.

3. Prioritize self-care

One reason you could be facing your own motivation challenges is that you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Take some time to re-prioritize and focus on what really matters. Be realistic with yourself about goals and timelines. And practice work-life balance yourself. It’s powerful to model work-life balance for your employees. When they see you logging off at 5:30 and only emailing during company hours, you’re sending a strong message that boundaries matter and you respect your time as much as theirs.

4. Know yourself

Identify what motivates you and seek alignment. It’s highly possible on any given day you are engaged in tasks that don’t align with your strengths. If you’re a big picture, strategic thinker and you’re spending the bulk of the day in spreadsheets and data mining, it’s no wonder you’re miserable.

If you’ve never taken a behavioral assessment, now is the time. With the Omnia leadership style report, you can gain critical insight into your unique leadership traits and what motivates/de-motivates you. Once you have this insight, take a good look at your daily activities and redirect activity that others are better equipped to do. This is a win–win because you’ll be empowering members of your team to take on new things that can bring them joy and satisfaction — especially when it aligns with their strengths.

Once you’ve taken care of your own motivation and mindset, it’s time to address and combat quiet quitting with your staff. Here are some actions to take.

1. Acknowledge the existence and reality of quiet quitting with your team.

Make sure you’re not in denial or jumping to assumptions like I did. Take the time to ask your employees their views on quiet quitting and assure them it’s a safe environment to discuss it. If you’re feeling bold, you could even admit times when you’ve felt like quiet quitting. The key here is not to point fingers or place blame. There’s a reason this topic is trending. Acknowledging the reality of it with your employees is the first step in overcoming it, especially if you can get down to the root causes.

2. Foster a positive work environment that promotes open communication, feedback, collaboration, and inclusivity.

The only way to know if your staff is quiet quitting and identify the root cause is to develop a culture where people feel safe being open and where feedback is welcome. You can begin with an anonymous employee engagement survey. When you collect input and take noticeable actions toward improvement, you send a strong message that the company cares and is committed to creating a better work environment.

3. Set realistic individual goals that are purposeful and rewarded when achieved.

When I first started delving into the quiet quitting quandary, I polled a group of early career professionals ranging in ages 23-35. The energy and enthusiasm behind their multitude of responses was compelling! The common and most profound theme was how bored, misaligned, and underappreciated each of them feels in their jobs.

A staggering 9 out of 10 employees would take a lower salary for more meaningful work, according to research from BetterUp. Work with your team to set realistic goals that align with your vision and mission for the organization and that they can get enthusiastic about. Give continued feedback on their impact through recurring and consistent 1x1 meetings where you also discuss their concerns, job satisfaction, and progress toward career goals beyond the current role. Celebrate and reward their accomplishments along the way — don’t wait for year-end results and award banquets.

4. Create ongoing opportunities for professional development.

Work from home and hybrid work teams have blurred the lines between work and home, and there’s also a lack of comradery that office environments typically offer. This is another reason burnout and disengagement are rising. Learning something new is energizing — especially when employees can practice new skills side by side in a nurturing environment with their peers. Companies that invest in providing on-going professional development opportunities such as formal training programs, mentoring initiatives, and industry tradeshows and networking not only benefit from upskilling their staff, but the employees see it as a sign that you value them as individuals and are willing to invest in their succ

5. Adapt your approach.

Every individual is unique when it comes to what motivates and inspires them. Just as it is important to know ourselves, it’s critical to understand the unique traits and motivators of your employees. Quiet quitting will never be addressed in a one-size-fits-all approach. This is where a behavioral assessment can also be helpful.

All Omnia reports include a section that outlines motivational strategies to use and demotivators to avoid for each personality style. For example, if you have an individual who is highly assertive (a tall column 1 on the Omnia personality assessment), they are motivated by performance-based incentives like commission, bonuses, and competitions. Individuals with a tall column 7 want the freedom to define their goals and achieve them in their own way. And individuals with a tall column 8 thrive with structured guidelines for work output, clear directions from management, and reassurance from management when expectations are being met. Understanding the unique qualities of the individuals on your team and adapting the way you set their goals, provide feedback, and recognize them fosters an environment where people feel valued and have the space to thrive.


Quiet quitting is a real issue that can have a significant impact on the success of your business. Don't dismiss it as a passing trend; take action to prevent negative consequences. Omnia is here to help. Contact our team to discover how our reports can assist you in evaluating your work preferences, recognizing the unique qualities of your team members, and coaching and developing them to achieve optimal success and growth. You’ll reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting and ensure that everyone is engaged and productive.

For many of us, the last few years have felt like a few decades. The world changed by the minute, and we did our best to keep up. But, while the coming year may be less volatile, we can still expect significant shifts in the business landscape. That means, as leaders, we need to be ready to pivot.

Let’s explore five of the biggest management and leadership trends you can expect to see in 2023. That way, you can be prepared to turn challenges into successes.

1. Employee Retention Tools are More Important Than Ever

Professionals are voting with their feet and leaving organizations that don’t help them achieve their goals or align with their values. Unfortunately, these departures can leave gaping holes in your team, slow productivity, and tank employee morale.

But, while you should partner with the human resources department to replace key players, you must simultaneously address the underlying cause of the turnover. Your primary focus has to shift from recruiting new employees to retaining the ones you already have. Otherwise, you’ll stay stuck in a reactive loop of solving short-term staffing problems instead of being able to take a proactive approach to maintain an engaged workforce built for the long haul.

As you develop your employee retention strategy, be sure to consider the following:

Then, be sure to revisit your strategy annually and revise it as needed.

2. Your Development Needs to be a Priority Too

You spend your day attending meetings and putting out fires. But how long has it been since you invested in your career growth? If you can’t remember the last time you read a book, participated in a training, or took a course, you’re due for some professional development. Start with learning the leadership personality types so you have a foundation for creating a plan that aligns with your preferences for learning, growing, and communicating. Leadership Personality Styles | Leadership Development

Keep your existing skills sharp and regularly learn new ones to become and remain an effective leader. That way, you can get the most from your workforce, effectively support your team members, and respond to ever-changing business demands.

3. Employees will Look to You for Support

While you may have always thought of supporting your employees as a natural part of being a leader, be prepared for that part of your role to expand. Many of your workers have endured and continue to endure significant hardship. As a result, they’ll look to you for empathy and guidance as they balance their professional responsibilities with their personal lives.

Ongoing training about communication, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and diversity, equity, and inclusion can help you provide better support to your team. It also helps to know the personality types on your team. A behavioral assessment for each team member gives you a clear roadmap for effectively supporting each person in a way that will resonate with them as individuals.

4. Your Values Matter

Sure, your employees want to earn a high salary, work from home, climb the corporate ladder, and enjoy other perks. But they also want to work for a leader and organization that operates ethically and in accordance with values similar to theirs.

That means you should get clear on your values and lead by them. You should also hold yourself to the highest ethical standards to model that behavior for your team.

5. Environmental and Social Consciousness is Non-Negotiable

All-star talent and consumers alike now demand that corporations make decisions through an environmentally and socially conscious lens. Companies that don’t will lose employees, customers, and market share faster than you can say, “What happened?”

As a leader, you can help every stakeholder view your firm in a favorable light by implementing sustainability practices, taking time to give back to your community, and treating your team members with respect.

Here are a few specific things you could do:

Of course, just like your employee retention strategy, your environmentally and socially conscious initiatives should get updated often.

How Omnia can Help

While the world changes rapidly, the core of doing business remains the same: helping people. You can help the people on your team by knowing them — and yourself — exceptionally well.

That’s where we come in. Our proven, easy, and fast behavioral assessment reveals practical insights about every test taker, including their communication style and work preferences. You can apply what you learn to develop as a leader and offer customized guidance and support to each worker.

The end result? A more engaged team committed to you and the organization for 2023 and beyond.

It’s tough out there. People are reprioritizing what they want at work and leaving jobs that aren’t meeting those needs. We’ve talked a lot about ways to increase engagement and improve retention, but none of that matters if you aren’t taking a close look at your own leadership strengths and weaknesses. We hear, more often than not, that people leave managers not jobs. So even if an employee likes their job and feels a sense of purpose at work, they are likely to look elsewhere if they do not connect well with their boss and will most certainly leave if they don’t like their boss.

Even if you’re an awesome manager and your people adore you, there’s always room for improvement! Acknowledging what you struggle with can be just as useful as being aware of what you do well.

Below is a ridiculous list of some extreme leadership styles. Be honest, can you spot hints of yourself in there?

The Egomaniac: Your opinion matters…just not to me

There is NO doubt you are the boss. You make the rules, and everyone falls in line…or else. The job is your life. You demand perfection and there is no such thing as work/life balance for you or anyone else. You enjoy setting ridiculous goals that you know will be close to impossible to achieve and you provide little to no direction. It makes people better and stronger! Of course, when people achieve your goals, you do not offer a hint of gratitude. It’s their job after all, why congratulate them?

Sure, you know your stuff and you want things right. There is no goal you can’t achieve, and you command results from others. But fear only works as a motivator for so long. If you aren’t providing any real support, motivation, empathy, direction, or recognition, you are inviting any sane employee to look for another job. Even if they don’t leave, having such a fierce personality will inhibit others, instead of inspiring them. Your team likely has some great ideas that they are too scared to express.

The Cheerleader: You love me, you really love me

You just want to be liked, accepted, popular.  You would rather do almost anything else than upset your team, especially the ones you like. Sharing bad news, making unpopular decisions, stepping up to quickly stop performance problems from getting out of control… you don’t like it, so you don’t do it. You see it as being supportive and empathetic, and you don’t want to lose people. But your team, at least the A-players, don’t see it that way at all.

Sure, you keep staff happy(ish); they know you care about them. You create a fun work environment and foster a sense of team; you value culture, as we all should. But, as awful as it is to admit, some people will take advantage of a nice guy. Someone is always going to test boundaries or sink to your lowest level of acceptance. If you aren’t ready to hold everyone accountable, you will have some people working hard and others coasting along collecting paychecks. Which group do you think is looking elsewhere?

The Regulator: There are no opinions, just rules, and you’re doing it wrong

You love procedures and you don’t miss a trick. You have your eye on everything and have an uncanny ability to detect when a mistake has been made...or maybe it's the constant monitoring of everyone, every day. There is no room for ambiguity or experimentation. Sadly, life doesn’t always work the way we expect and a good leader needs to be ready to roll with the punches while encouraging their team to do the same.

Sure, your team follows the rules and rarely makes mistakes. Of course, when they do, you are right on hand to correct them. You have a great idea of people’s strengths and weaknesses. But, people are demoralized by micromanagement and need to be comfortable solving their own problems. If they know what they are doing, they need to be trusted to do it. Give your team the chance to try their own methods and express ideas.

Then there’s the manager who wants everything yesterday and changes deadlines, plans, and procedures with every exhale, leaving people confused and gasping for air. Or the logic-driven leader who considers every factor in the management equation, except the human one; and the social butterfly who wants to have a “quick” meeting about every situation resulting in very little time spent working.

Of course, these are just caricatures of traits most of us have to some extent but seeing them in ourselves and acknowledging them is the first step towards leveraging our strengths and working on our weaknesses so we are better equipped to lead and retain a strong, productive and engaged team.

Better yet, take it a step further and learn the traits of the individuals on your team. The more you manage to their needs, the more successful you’ll be at keeping people. We all want to be understood and treated as individuals.

To quote Sir Richard Branson, “Businesses are nothing more than a group of people, and they are by far and away your biggest assets.” Are you doing everything you can to bring out the best in your people?

If you want a more detailed (and more serious) exploration of your management assets and growth opportunities, contact us today and ask about our Leadership Style Reports.

Before I started work at The Omnia Group, I worked briefly in the marketing department of an investment firm. Looking back, I don’t think my manager (we’ll call her Darla) had much experience as a manager. What she did have was a LOT of energy for marketing and a lot of ideas. When an idea came to her, she wanted to (and wanted her staff to) act on it immediately. On paper, that sounds great. In action, well, it was chaos. Projects were started and abandoned. I would get pulled off a task because some new idea would come up. Sometimes she had plans she thought she’d told me about but hadn’t. The deadlines were all yesterday. It got to be a bit much, and I eventually left. (They say people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, and I definitely left Darla).

Shortly after, I joined Omnia as an analyst. The analysts are the ones who write the assessment reports, so we spend a lot of time in training going over the results, including our own. Once I understood what I was looking at, I laughed when I saw my column 6. It was TALL! Omnia uses an 8-column bar graph to visually represent personality traits. Column 6 measures the need for predictability and stability. I agree that I need those things, but I remember being VERY decisive about some of the words I selected when taking the assessment after working with Darla. I retroactively diagnosed myself with something I called Darla Poisoning.

I don’t want to imply she was a bad person. She wasn’t. She just wasn’t a good manager, especially not for me. And since managing was a secondary part of her job (marketing being first), she really wasn’t interested in learning how to manage me or anyone else effectively.

That brings us to… 

Management problem number 1: Thinking employees work the same way they do

As mentioned recently, there are certain traits that make being a manager more natural, primarily assertiveness and independence/big-picture orientation. But those traits are not necessarily ideal for all the positions being managed. For example, a person who is quite assertive might not always be as helpful or accommodating as needed for handling support and service duties. You don’t want your customer service agent always trying to “win” an interaction with a customer. A person who is big-picture oriented may not always want to use required processes or pay attention to the details needed to accurately handle data or administration.

In Darla’s case, being quick and big-picture oriented suited her role as a manager – there were a lot of priorities for her to handle and a lot of innovation was required. But the people who were trying to perform the work needed more time and information to get it right. We also needed more direction and information. She expected us to read her (very busy) mind.

It’s important for managers to reflect on the kind of traits necessary to succeed in a given role and embrace the differences among them and their staff.  Have you ever contemplated doing a task that you’re about to delegate and thought something like, “Ugh, I would rather stroll through a lion’s den with lunch meat in my pocket than do this?” If so, that’s a great clue that someone with a different set of traits than yours might need to tackle the project.

Also, don’t underestimate other people’s abilities to enjoy something you would hate doing. I could enter data all day long and be fairly content, while it would make someone else crazy. But I would likely turn into dust if I had to give a bunch of presentations.

(Be realistic about this too, though. At a different previous job, my manager, we’ll call her Marla, assigned me to periodically smell the bathrooms after a heavy rain to make sure the plumbing wasn’t backing up. That’s not something many people would want to do.)

Management problem number 2: Managing everyone the same way

Understanding that not everyone wants to be managed the way you do is the first step to successful management, but keep in mind that not everyone is different from you in the same way! This is not to imply that employees should have different standards or opportunities because they have different needs. Being fair is critical, but the way to help them achieve goals and grow their careers should be tailored to the employee. Some people are motivated by variety, some people are motivated by praise, some are motivated by chances to learn, some need more information or specific direction than others. Being attuned to each of your employees’ hot and cold buttons will help you manage more effectively.

Management problem number 3: Not wanting to seem like “the bad guy”

Managers who are very accommodating, sensitive to criticism, or focused on maintaining relationships with employees can sometimes struggle to take a strong stance, address performance problems, or press people to meet challenging goals. They don’t want to seem mean. The problem is, they can’t avoid seeming mean if they don’t stand firm. Unfortunately, there are likely to be people who take advantage of lenient managers, and there are others who will naturally do the right thing. These are the ones who are punished by a manager who doesn’t hold people accountable. They do more work for fewer rewards, and while they might not complain, they are likely to leave.

How do you take assertive management action if you’re not an assertive person?

  1. Be prepared. You know conflict is going to come up. Make a plan for when it does. Talk to your own manager and let them know your concerns. Ask what they would do if ____, and what they expect you to do.
  2. Make your expectations and consequences of not following through clear to your team. This puts the ball in the employees’ court. But you have to follow through on the consequences.
  3. Make sure you have all the facts and present them in an unemotional way.
  4. Don’t make it personal. If someone is not meeting goals, it’s probably not to spite you. Address the problem, provide an action plan, and get back to business.

Management problem number 4 is everyone’s favorite: Micromanaging

Even those who like having direction and want as many facts as possible don’t want every aspect of their jobs managed. Always looking over people’s shoulders inhibits learning and innovation, and it makes people feel disrespected. If you have an employee who needs closer management because they are not succeeding, this should be addressed via a performance improvement plan. It should be the exception not the rule.

If you feel the tendency to micromanage arise, as yourself these questions:

Once you’ve talked yourself down, step back. Be prepared to offer advice if mistakes are made, but be open to other ways of doing things, too!

Management problem number 5, the Mac Daddy of them all: Lack of Communication

Really any of the above problems could be broadly characterized as “communication problems” if you really think about it. Not being transparent about what you expect and not letting people know how they are doing is the fast track to employee disengagement. No matter how much we want it to be so, no employee is a mind reader.

Self-awareness is the key to avoiding management pitfalls. Contact your Omnia Client Success representative to learn more about our development reports geared toward managers and their employees. These can help you identify your strengths and challenge areas and avoid costly turnover, to avoid being a Darla.

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