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Exercising control November 14, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Achieving goals, Bronder On People, Getting what you want, Management, Performance issues, Self reflection.
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p5130012.jpg  It is difficult to be in charge. There are responsibilities and pressures to control. The Big Dogz know that if we push the control lever too far we become Domineering and the result is reduced productivity, increased costs and more stress. On the other hand, if we do not control what is going on, we will often fail to accomplish our goals.


I propose we look at two ends of the control continuum — Domineering and Dominant.  These words mean different things to different people, so I want to make this distinction for this discussion:


Domineering means pushing your personal agenda and wanting to control every action of others.


Dominant means exercising influence or control, usually through leadership.


Domineering managers rarely succeed. Of course, there are exceptions to this statement, but in general, if you use a Domineering style, you will always achieve less. What are some of the signs that you may be a Domineering manager?


  1. You are working excessive hours.
  2. You personally do the most critical jobs.
  3. You have frequent stressful conflicts (outbursts) during the day.
  4. You use micro-management as a way to make sure things get done.
  5. Morale in your group is low.
  6. You believe your people are “not up to the challenge.”
  7. You have to make all the decisions.


You get the picture. There are many things going wrong. There are only a few people you can count on to help you achieve your goals.


Dominant managers rarely fail! Again, there are exceptions to this statement, but in general, if you use a Dominant style, you will always achieve more. Besides the opposite of the Domineering manager signs, what are some other signs you may be a Dominant manager?


  1. People give you feedback on your performance as the manager.
  2. Your people are getting awards, recognition and promotions.
  3. People in your department are proactive in solving problems.
  4. People make suggestions to you on how the department can be more efficient or effective.
  5. Your people know exactly what result you expect of them.
  6. People are exercising creativity in developing processes that are streamlined.
  7. There is a waiting list of people wanting to join your department.


You get the picture. There are many things going right. There are many people you can count on to help you achieve your goals.


The signs are clear. The choice is yours.


Sometimes we do not achieve the results we want and we find someone or something to excuse it away. The problem may be in your style. I have created an assessment to help you determine if you are more Domineering or more Dominant. Please download it and take it yourself, then get three people to validate your self-assessment.


When you have a validated assessment, use it to create an action plan on how you can be more effective as a manager. If you send me your action plan, I will include your actions into a future blog on how to become a more Dominant manager.





Self reflection for the Small Business Owner August 20, 2007

Posted by rickbron in Self reflection.
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p5130012.jpg One of your greatest assets for improving your leadership skills is yourself! The Big Dogz understand the importance of self reflection. Every successful leader performs some type of self reflection on a regular basis. The three most common methods of self reflection are:

  1. Self assessments
  2. Journal writing
  3. Self interviewing

 Self assessments

There are many free leadership skill self assessments available on the internet. Almost every book on leadership includes some type of self assessment. If you can not find a self assessment that meets your needs, you can custom build your own. Identify some leadership skill, like active listening and a range of evaluation — usually a number from 1 to 10 where 1 is low and 10 is high.  Compile a set of these skills, around 10 is effective, but choose what is best for you; and perform a regular self assessment of how well you are doing. For those skills that need improvement, articulate an action plan that you will execute to increase your score. Keep a record of your scores and re-assess yourself at least once every three months.

Be sure to include an identification of specific actions that make you feel that your evaluation is correct. Once you have established your set of skills for assessment, make sure you validate your self assessment. To do this, please see my previous entry on calibrating your self assessment.


 Journal writing

A very effective technique used by many leaders is the writing of a personal journal. What you write is not as important and writing regularly. The concept is that you will write about those events and people that shape your leadership actions. As you write over time, there will be trends that arise. Set aside a minimum of 10 minutes per day for your journal. Some experts suggest that writing your journal by hand is more effective than entering your journal into computer based software. You can be flexible with how you do your entries. Be careful to avoid going back and revising previous entries! Using software does have its advantages — you can search for specific words, phrases or names. The tool is not as important as the doing.

It is effective to make a commitment to writing your personal journal for a significant period. I would suggest a minimum of 25 days. After you have 25 entries in your journal, read through the entries to get an idea of what is important to you. Your basic leadership style and responses to situations and how you act as a leader will emerge. Once you can discern theses actions, you can decide if this is how you want to act as a leader. You can then develop action plans on how you will change your behavior to be more effective. If this method of self reflection is working for you, continue doing it.

 Self interviewing

Some leaders do not have the discipline to write daily in their journals. For this person, the self reflection interview is a reasonable alternative. The self interview focuses on a particular leadership skill that you are working on improving. Usually the interview lasts about 10 minutes and consists of asking yourself these three questions:

  1. What am I doing that I want to continue to do?
  2. What am I doing that I want to stop doing?
  3. What do I know about that I want to start doing?

As a result of answering these three questions, you can create an action plan for yourself to accomplish before your next scheduled self interview. Although there are no set intervals between interviews, a good rule of thumb is once a month. However, when first using this technique, you may want to schedule it weekly. This makes it regular and easy to set up on your calendar. For those leaders who have dependable feedback sources, these questions can also be used as guidance in getting feedback.

Self reflection is a powerful tool used by the Big Dogz to improve their leadership skills. You can select one or more of these techniques and be on your way to becoming a more effective leader.