Is your workplace an adult day care?

Are your managers babysitting your staff? One leadership coach discusses how to bring more self-leadership skills into the workplace

Today’s workplaces are being turned into what is being phrased as a “staff day care” with an increasing number of managers having to fix employees’ personal problems to keep them focused.
“Many workers are bringing issues at home to work – unloading to their colleagues about relationship breakdowns, financial debt and family fights, interrupting work and forcing the boss to intervene,” said business mentor Mike Irving of Advanced Business Abilities.
“It’s a common theme I’m hearing among frustrated employers who find staff are focused on their own problems and therefore not being supportive of the team.”
This trend stems from those who lack self-leadership skills, Irving said, such as the ability to keep agreements with yourself.
“That is the number one biggest self-leadership skill because if you are not able to do what you say you are going to do, you’re not actually able to lead yourself.”
Other skills, such as clear communication and having a good relationship with yourself will impact this primary skill, he said.
Taking control
The best way to create an efficient workplace is to weed out people lacking these self-leadership skills during the recruitment process. However, this can be tough to do with the plethora of resume writing services or interview skills courses available.
“You know what they do when they teach you how to be interviewed? They teach you how to ask questions and take control of the interview so you look more intelligent than you are,” Irving said.
It’s up to the interviewer to be aware of these tactics and take control back by asking the right questions in the right way. One mistake however is asking questions that telegraph the desired answer onto the interviewee. As an example, Irving compared the following two questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem at work and what you did to deal with it
  • Tell me about a time you had a problem at work

“It’s a far better question if you dropped the second half and just leave it up to them to reveal information about themselves. But the moment that you add that extra bit, that’s it. They now know exactly what to tell you. In fact, they’ve probably rehearsed it.”
While asking these questions, there are five traits to look out for that hint at a lack of self-leadership skills, Irving said.

  1. Overly critical: quick to find fault in others and be vocal about it
  2. Negative: seeing problems rather than solutions
  3. Laying the blame: never admitting fault, instead pointing fingers at others
  4. Dishonest: happily lying to cover their tracks
  5. Unsupportive: looking after themselves instead of the group


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