365 Days of Leadership: Twilight Zone Day

May 11 is Twilight Zone Day. The TV series created by Rod Serling was cutting edge in its time. Controversial and outside the box, the Twilight Zone brought theatre of the mind into our homes and brought with it a twisted sense of reality that radio could not produce.

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

How many times have you wondered if you were working in the Twilight Zone? Remember the times in the ladies bathroom, sharing the juicy office politics of the moments and wondering if Rod Serling was going to come out of one of the stalls? We have all been there. If you are naïve enough to think it doesn’t happen at your business, then get ready for your own Rod Sterling moment. Office cultures (while we LOVE to refer to them as teams) are a collaboration of people thrown together by an unrelated set of skills and unrelated by blood, who are forced to try to get along and get some work done. At its best, teamwork is a fine thing to talk about in the quarterly report, but it happens very seldom.

Teamwork takes time and you can achieve it, but not without managing your staff in the fashion which suits them best. If you have a staff who is comfortable with being directed in their daily work, then offering them an opportunity to work autonomously may seem disconcerting. Conversely, a group of individualist thinkers will balk at an autocratic hierarchical structure. Knowing what type of leader you are, and knowing what type of leadership your employees need is of the utmost important to your success.

Do some research on leadership styles and find out what type of leader you are, then find a group of like minded folks who are happy with that leadership style. If you are lucky enough to craft a team of your own… even better. Finding out what your employees need is part of being a leader and providing an environment which brings out the best of them is what defines an authentic leader. Yes, it’s work but so rewarding for you and your staff. “To Serve Man” might turn out to be a cookbook in Rod Serling’s world but as a leader, to serve is the basis of authenticity and success when managing staff.

Cheers

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Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: No Diet Day

May 6 is No Diet Day….it’s not what you think. No Diet Day focuses on making people aware of the dangers of dieting.

No Diet Day aims to help to teach people to have a healthy relationship with food, and to ditch restrictive diets and the harmful results they often have, such as anorexia and body-type perceptions in the media.

Too much of a good thing can be bad. Too little of a good thing can be bad. Our relationship with food, family and friends is about balance. We hear a lot about “work/life balance”. Yea, it’s a crock, there is no such thing as “work/life balance”. There can be no balance when the first two hours of the morning is spent getting ready to go to work and the last 4 hours of the evening is spent trying to recover from work.

Typically, I don’t agree with the laissez-faire attitude of Millennials and Gen Nexters, however I must admit that our current working paradigm is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Tyrannical bosses, being made to feel bad if you DON’T work 80 hour weeks, putting your personal safety on the line because your boss is afraid of missing a quarterly goal; these unreasonable demands are destructive to a person’s physical and mental health. It can jeopardize a person’s relationships and their life.

Perhaps the Millennials and Gen Nexters have the right idea; they are shifting the paradigm to focus on a true work/life balance and not an unbalanced life which revolves around work.

Cheers

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Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: Batman Day

May 1 is Batman Day. I was a fan of Batman comics as a child. I wasn’t hip enough to follow the comic book culture with all the variations of Batman and the back stories to the various comic book themes. I was raised in a rural area, so the ability to obtain comic books was severely limited….but I digress. Suffice to say, I am a Bat follower of the standard variety.

With that being said, who wouldn’t want to be Bruce Wayne/Batman? International philanthropist by day and crime fighter by night; he had the best of both worlds. He influenced his surroundings positively during the day and mitigated the effects of the negative during the night. What if Bruce Wayne was all we needed to fix the negativity of the world? That would be lovely, however it is a fantasy. Thankfully, there are heroes who work to make the world a better place.

To make real change requires a grass roots approach at changing the world generationally. This is why programs, such as drug abuse prevention, begin with children in second grade. Non-profit organizations such at the United Way, focus programming on childhood development. The logic of this approach is to help children grow to thrive as responsible adults within the community. This is the one way to effect permanent systematic change within a culture.

We will always need the United Way’s of the world. While they might not fight crime in a bat suit and drive a most excellent car, these folks do make the world a better place.

Cheers

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Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: International Guide Dog Day

April 29th is International Guide Dog Day, the day we celebrate the love, patience and service that guide dogs provide to millions of persons all over the world. One of my favorite Guide Dog organization is Leader Dogs for the Blind. Working in association with Lions Clubs International and other agencies, Leader Dogs for the Blind invests an average of $35,000 into the training of service animal who is paired with a visually impaired person. This animal is paired with the visually impaired person at no charge.

Locally, Norma Campbell works at the state representative for Leader Dogs for the Blind. Read Norma’s full story at Western Kentucky Life Magazine.

Be thankful for the work of people like those at Leader Dogs for their dedication to helping others. If you want information about donating to the organization or becoming a puppy raiser, visit the organization’s Facebook page.

Cheers

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Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her leadership website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: Fair Trade Day

May 9 is Fair Trade Day.

Fair Trade Day is a global event that aims to draw attention to the objectives and achievements of the Fair Trade movement. The Fair Trade movement campaigns to improve the lives of workers and small producers, especially those within developing economies, by asserting their rights and raising their visibility within international trade. The movement invites consumers to participate in its campaign by choosing Fair Trade alternatives to existing products. (https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/fair-trade-day/)

Choice is among the most important aspects of consumerism. The purpose of competition is to help regulate prices in the market. Having alternatives available that enable small producers to have a voice in the market is essential. Astute consumers will choose fair trade products for their quality and boutique status. These products will also help to increase the quality of large scale products as consumer demand will force large producers to consider the competitor’s advantages and respond in kind.

The next time you shop, consider fair trade products. You might be surprised by the quality, value and humanity the products represent.

Cheers

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Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.