Skip to content

The Charismatic Leader

Charisma is a form of interpersonal attraction that inspires support and acceptance.  A leader who obtains charisma is more likely to be able to influence others than someone who lacks charisma.  By this I mean influencing positive behavior of others.  Robert House’s theory of Charismatic Leadership says that charismatic leaders are likely to have a lot of self-confidence, firm confidence in their beliefs and ideals, and a strong need to influence people.  According to the book, Organizational Behavior, Managing People and Organizations charismatic leaders also tend to communicate high expectations about follower performance and express confidence in their followers and maintain three attributes.

Three Elements of a Charismatic Leader:

  1. Envisioning:  Articulating a compelling vision; setting high expectations; and modeling consistent behaviors.
  2. Energizing:  Demonstrating personal excitement; expressing personal confidence; seeking finding and using success.
  3. Enabling:  Expressing personal support; empathizing; expressing confidence in people.

Charismatic leaders can be a powerful force in any organization and charismatic leadership ideas are quite popular today; however there are some ethical concerns about leadership.  These concerns are the result of the fact that leaders that are so charismatic can lead and inspire by blind faith held by their followers.  Such blind faith that followers may engage in inappropriate or even illegal behavior.  Such charismatic leaders can influence people to do almost anything, like in Enron – people followed orders to hide information and mislead investigators because their boss told them to.,

Charismatic leaders include Steve Jobs, Ted Turner, Ronald Reagan and many more inspirational leaders.  In addition charismatic leaders also include those like Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden.

Charisma can be a very powerful tool, hopefully in most cases it is used for good instead of evil.  Like many things there is a bright side and a dark side to charismatic leadership, it the question of being able to tell the difference between the two.


Emotional Intelligence

One major thing that all great leaders have in common is Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the extent to which people are self-aware, can manage their emotions (i.e. anger, sadness, excitements), can motivate themselves, express empathy, and have great social skills.  Emotional intelligence is crucial in being able to manage behavior and move easily through social settings, in addition to being able to make crucial decisions.

Self Awareness:  This is the backbone to all the other components in a person’s personality.  It refers to the person’s capacity for being aware of what they are feeling.  People who are more self-aware are able to guide their own lives and behaviors under any circumstances.

Self Management:  This is managing emotions; it is a person’s ability to  balance anxiety, fear and anger so that those feeling do not interfere with making decisions or getting things accomplished.  It also refers to the capability of controlling impulsive feelings and adapt to certain circumstances/

Motivation:  This refers to a person’s ability to continue striving  and remaining optimistic even when faced with a set back or barrier.  Even with a failure, people who strongly maintain motivation will push through.

Empathy:  The ability to understand how other people are feelings and understand the needs and concerns of other people.  This included being able to read emotional cues.

Social Skill:  The ability to get along with others and establish positive relationships.  Being able oto speak clearly and influence others to work well in a team.

People with high emotional intelligence may be able to perform better than others, especially in and interpersonal setting.

Aside from leadership in an organization, there are other reasons why emotional intelligence is important:

  • Physical Health: Out of control stress levels can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, risk of heart attack or stroke, as well as a unfunctionable immune system.
  • Mental Health:  Anxiety, depression, uncontrollable mood swings.
  • Relationships: Being able to communicate effectively can greatly impact your relationships, as well as being able to empathize and understand why others feel the way they do.


  1. Rapidly reduce stress: Realize when you are stressed, identify your stress response, discover stress techniques that work for you (running works for me)
  2. Emotional Awareness: Understand how your emotions influence your thoughts and actions.
  3. Nonverbal communication:  Make eye contact, focus on the person you are talking to and  pay attention to facial expression, tone of voice, posture, touch etc.
  4. Use humor and play to deal with changes: Take hardships in stride, be more creative, and smooth over differences.
  5. Resolve conflict positively: Forgive.

The best part of emotional intelligence is it can be learned.  Working on the skills mentioned can have a dramatic positive affect on life.

Click here to take an emotional intelligence test.  I’m not exactly sure how accurate it is, but like any personality test, it is pretty fun and interesting.



Basics of Org. Conflict

Conflict in Organizations

Conflict is common in organizations; it is a common occurrence and comes in many different forms.   Conflict is not a process of singular event, it often is drawn from previous events and arises over time and results in animosity, and feelings of discomfort.  Although conflict is perceived as harmful and something which should be avoided, it can sometimes have its benefits.  A moderate degree of conflict can assist in creating new ideas and promoting healthy competition.  According to the book, Organizational Behavior, Managing People and Organizations there are three basic forms of conflict that exist in an organization.

1.  Task Conflict:  Refers to conflict regarding the goals and content of the work.

2.  Process Conflict:  Occurs when the parties agree on the goals and content of the work, but disagree on how to achieve those goals and actually complete the work.

3.  Relationship Conflict:  Conflict resulting from interpersonal issues.

In addition, mangers must know when to stimulate conflict and when to resolve the conflict if they are to avoid its potential disruptive effects.  Stimulate conflict? You may ask, at least I did.  If there is no conflict or too little conflict in an organization it could mean that employees are comfortable with the status quo or the work groups are not motivated.

Conflict Stimulation: Is the creation of constructive use of conflict by a manager to bring out different situations where different opinions are exposed by all.   When all parties to the conflict are interested enough in an issue to challenge other groups they often expose their hidden doubts or opinions, which allows the parties to get to the heart of the matter and develop unique solutions.  To do this, managers can alter the physical location of the groups forcing more interactions and resource sharing; training programs to increase employee awareness of potential problems in group decision making; and playing devil’s advocate in discussion sessions.

Conflict Resolution:  Conflict needs to be resolved when  it causes major disruptions in the organization and absorbs time and effort that could be used more productively, or when it is focused on the groups internal goals rather than organizational goals.  When trying to resolve conflict managers should first try to determine the origin of the conflict.  If the problem is occurring by a particular person or two it might be necessary to alter the member ship of the groups.  If the conflict is happening because of  differences in goals, goal alignment, attainment or importance then the manager could move the parties into one of the types of reaction to conflict, which are as follows:

  • Avoidance
  • Accommodation
  • Competition
  • Collaboration
  • Compromise

Managers have the difficult and unavoidable task of managing conflict.  This is a brief overview of the basic conflict types and descriptions from  the book I read, previously noted.  I am still thinking about conflict stimlation, however.

The One Minute Management Approach

“People who feel good about themselves produce good results”

Recently in my OB class I had the opportunity to read the book, The One Minute Manager written by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson, M.D. at first I cringed because I really dislike reading topics assigned by professors however after the first 3 pages I found myself really enjoying this book and I could not put it down.  In fact, I read it all over again just to write this post.

The book is a brief overview of the studies the two authors did in medicine and the behavioral sciences about how people work best (produce valuable results) with others.   The book is written through the adventures of a young man trying to find the most effective manager.  At first he found an autocratic manager whose people lost while his organization won; a democratic manager whose people seemed to win while the organization lost.  He was troubled by the fact that most managers were interested in their people or their results.  Finally he found the One Minute Manager.

In the essence of trying not to just give the summary of the book, I will hit on the main highlights about how the One Minute Manager operates: He calls himself the one minute manager because it takes him very little time to get great results.How the One Minute Manager Operates:

  • He takes very little time to get outstanding results
  • Always makes it clear what your responsibilities are and what you are accountable for
  • Gives crystal clear feedback

One Minute Goals: First Secret to One Minute Management

  1. Agree on your goals
  2. See wha good behavior looks like
  3. Write out each of your goals on a single sheet of paper using less than 250 words
  4. Read and re-read each goal, which requires only one minute or so each time you do it
  5. Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance, and
  6. See whether or not your behavior matches your goal.

One Minute Praising: Second Secret to One Minute Management

  1. Tell people upfront that you are going to let them know how they are doing
  2. Praise people immediately
  3. Specifically tell people what they did right
  4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there
  5. Silence to let them “feel” how good you feel
  6. Encourage them to do more of the same
  7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization

“Help people reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right.”

One Minute Reprimands: Third Secret to One Minute Management

  1. Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing
  2. Reprimand people immediately
  3. Tell people what they did wrong – be specific
  4. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong – in no uncertain terms
  5. A few seconds of uncomfortable silence
  6. Shake hands or touch them to let them honestly know you are on their side
  7. Remind them how much you value them
  8. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not their performance in this particular situation
  9. When the reprimand is over, it is OVER.

This book is really an inspiration to anyone that hopes to be a manager, a good manager.  It is a good example of how to manage people effectively and efficiently.  The one minute approach is quick but really shows people that they are valued and are believed in.  This post almost sounds like a review of the book; however this book altered they way I think about managment.  I suggest everyone should read t!




Why FLSA is Important to all Employers

HR employment tools regarding wage and hour.       

HR has the important responsibility of assigning pay rates and benefits to their employees.  If this task is not done correctly or sloppy the organization can be faced with fines, criminal charges, and in severe cases the organization can be shut down.


The Fair Labor and Standard Act (FLSA) is a federal statute in the United States that establishes laws for employment wages such as: national minimum wage, overtime wage rates, and oppressive child labor (restriction of minors’ jobs/hours).

As of right now the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr; however some states have their own minimum wage laws but have to comply with the federal law i.e. the states legally cannot enforce a minimum wage law below $7.25 (federal laws will override state).

FSLA requires that overtime is paid as 1.5 time regular rate for hours worked of 40/week within seven consecutive 24 hour periods.

FSLA also requires employers to display FSLA guidelines where visible by the employees.  It is also required that wages paid and hours worked b non-exempt employees records are kept for 3 years.

Exemption: by FLSA

  • Executive (engaged in management): Direct 2 or more FTEs (full time equivalent), Authorized to affect terms and conditions of other employees though hiring, firing, etc.
  • Administrative:  Office of non manual work related to general business operations, independent judgment and discretion in significant matters.
  • Professional:  Functions that require advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning.
  • Computer:  Functions that require application of systems analysis techniques, design or development of computer systems or programs, or the creation or modification of programs relating to operating systems.
  • Outside Sales.


  • Know the law
  • Train managers and employees on time-keeping
  • Complaint system
  • Audit records
  • Address any discrepancies immediately

In addition, Employer should stay up to date on all wage, labor and exemptions laws.  If employees are not paid adequately and HR does not comply with FSLA any of the following penalties can be assessed:

  • Class action
  • Back Pay
  • Over Time Pa
  • Monetary Fines
  • Punitive Damages
  • Injunctive Relief
  • Criminal Penalties

Does it Fit?

Picture this: An employee in your company sitting in a cubical running number analytics all day everyday. This employee, we will call Travis. Outside of work Travis is an extravert, he is very active, has a lot of friends and loves interacting with people.  Another employee, we will call Justin is your front line manager and an introvert, all day long he is interacting with other employees and customers, and solving their problems. In his free time, Justin likes to stay at home, read books, and play sudoku. Both of these people have a degree in management and have been with the company for five years. Lately, both Travis’ and Justin’s work has been slipping, they have been spending less time in the office, and have become more irritable, in fact Travis just gave his two weeks notice. It doesn’t take an experienced, seasoned manager to know what is wrong with this picture; Travis and Justin are candidates for the wrong person-job fit.

The right person-job fit matches the knowledge, abilities, skills and to the characteristics of the job. There are millions of people in the wrong lousy job fit, these people are not happy, do not feel valued and are likely unproductive.

Hiring managers have the responsibility to hire the right people for the right jobs. Hiring individuals whose abilities and preferences best fit the available job assists the employer in gaining a valued, reliable and high performance employee, which is what every company should strive for.  Having the right people in the right areas provides the organization with great benefits the lead to low turnover:

  • Employee job satisfaction
  • Less job related stress
  • Higher employee performance
  • Organizational commitment
  • Motivation

I don’t think it takes a someone with a doctoral degree to figure this one out. Logic and common sense tells me that in order to have a valuable employee, they must feel valued; which means they perform top notch, and have accountability for the work they love to do.

The Terminator

Managers are sometimes faced with the situation of having to be The Terminator, and I am not talking about the Arnold Schwarzenegger type.  The type of terminator I am thinking of is the one that says “You’re fired!”  and terminates employment. 


Going into the field of management, hopefully HR one day this is something I am concerned about.  Terminating someone’s job is not a positive thing, although it may be for the best, it is overall negative because: (1) as a manager I failed to hire someone that could take care of business in a professional or ethical manner and enabled them to succeed, and (2) my employee failed to succeed or did something irrefutable (some things are out of the boss’s hands).Currently I have never been in a management position where I have had the responsibility of firing someone.  There have been instances where I have though, “If I was your boss, you would be longtime gone.” However I am thankful I haven’t actually had to do that.

Being concerned about the thought of having to terminate someone one day, I decided to dig up a handbook my boss (an HR professional) gave me a while back when I told her I was interested in HR.  The handbook is called The 2012 Employment Law Tool Box put together by Mark Toth, Chief Legal Officer, ManpowerGroup NA.   I found this to be very helpful so I will summarize what the Employment Law Tool Box has to say.

Top Ten Termination Troubles:

  1. NOT firing someone who should be fired (I think we have all seen this)
  2. Not treating with dignity and respect
  3. Inadequate documentation
  4. Not getting a release
  5. Emotion instead of facts
  6. Ignoring past practice
  7. Bad post-termination communication
  8. Ignoring policies and contracts
  9. Poorly planned termination meeting
  10. Not telling real reasons

When trying to decide if terminating someone is the correct plan of action it is helpful to consider the following:

  • Was there reason able notice of consequences?
  • Rule: Related to efficient and safer operations and performance the company should reasonably expect?
  • Full, fair and timely investigation?
  • Sufficient evidence or proof?
  • Consistently applied to all?
  • Punishment fit the crime?

If after reviewing the decision to fire someone it is always helpful to plan for the termination meeting.  According to the handbook there are a few things managers should consider when planning the meeting.  First off the only people in the meeting should be the employee, manager, and HR.  It is important to leave out any other parties.  Second, the manager makes the decision and HR handles final pay, 401K and everything else.  This meeting should be in person and not in the manager’s office if possible.  Managers should also make an effort to terminate employees in a compassionate way mid-week (or Friday as a second choice), at the end of the day and should always AVOID holidays.

Here you have it – a few tips to being the ever-so-dreadful-terminator.