Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

The Unfiltered Truth

The truth will set you free

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We have hundreds of pictures of a house project that went south, so I guess you can say that a million words can be used to describe the nightmare we’ve been living over the past two and half years.

In October of 2014, we entered into a contract with 11 Development, LLC, a real estate development company based in Newton, Massachusetts that was founded by its President, Scott Shuster. You would think by now, we’d be done, but we’re not. We’ve been lied to more times than we can count and Shuster continually refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility for the egregious mistakes that have cost our family considerable stress and money to fix. Included in these mistakes are the discovery of a lack of a footing and a host of other problems too numerous to name.

Throughout the building process, we pointed out numerous construction problems and asked, no begged, Shuster to allow us to bring in contractors of our choosing to rectify these problems. Time and time again he refused. So here we sit. Shuster is hiding behind what he calls a warranty, which basically means he wants the right to fix the things his team has tried to fix multiple times. We’ve asked him nicely to release the escrow funds so we can finish the work properly. Again, he’s refused.

We’ve recently discovered that we are not the only customers to be living out this nightmare with him. He settled a previous case, which came with a non-disclosure clause, and another real estate lawsuit is brewing elsewhere. A homeowner, living in a project that was built the same time as ours with the same contractor, experienced similar problems.

Here’s the thing. It’s easy to let someone like Shuster bully you, as he’s exceptional at wearing people down. But here’s the advice I tell my clients, that I’m now taking myself. The only way people can take advantage of you is if you let them. Shuster can use all the scare tactics in the world. However, we know the truth. And as you know, pictures do not lie. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any help to you. I’ll keep you posted, as the drama continues.

Posted in Customer satisfaction, Musings
Tagged ,
Leave a comment

3 Ways Women Can Transform Themselves Into Magnetic Leaders

Women and Magnetic Leadership

Lots of women are good leaders, but how many are magnetic leaders? Apparently, not enough. No matter how far female leaders may have come in terms of leadership, we still have a ways to go.

In a recent Gallup poll, it was reported that Americans still prefer a male boss to a female boss. The report, part of Gallup’s weeklong Women and the Workplace series, used data from Gallup’s work and education poll. It found that 33 percent of the people polled would prefer a male boss. Twenty percent would prefer a female supervisor, down slightly from the previous year, where that number was 23 percent.

It’s time for women to take their rightful place as the kind of leaders employees love to work for. Here’s where to begin.

Many leaders think they are magnetic when in fact, they are anything but. In my forthcoming book, The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers, and Profits (Taylor and Francis, 2017), I talk about seven traits that are common among magnetic leaders, as well as examples of people who personify (or personified) these quali­ties. Here are three.

1.    Authenticity

Magnetic leaders don’t try to be someone else, nor do they change who they are based on office politics. They are true to themselves and are honest in their dealings with others. They are not afraid to share their mistakes or shortcomings. Warren Buffet is an authentic leader who speaks openly about his $200 billion mistake buying Berkshire Hathaway.

In particular, young leaders find it challenging to find a leadership style that fits them like a custom made suit. Instead, they emulate the behavior of managers they work with, without knowing whether or not those leaders are held in high regards by others.

My advice to you is to stop trying to be someone you are not and instead, attempt to be the best version of yourself. Will everyone like you? Probably not. Will they respect you? Most definitely.

2.    Selflessness

Nelson Mandela immediately comes to mind when I think about inspirational leaders who are selfless. Leadership is a service business, and service comes with sacrifice. Mandela made many sacrifices so that others could advance, including giving up power. When elected president of South Africa, he refused to serve more than one term because he believed that a swift transfer of his authority was in the best interest of post-apartheid South Africa.

In the world of business, it’s fairly common for people operate with a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. That’s actually good news for you, as you can easily stand out in the crowd. The next time you have a decision to make at work, think about what’s in the best interest of your people. Then do it, even if that means sacrificing your own needs for that of your people.

3.    Strong communication

Magnetic leaders communicate frequently and clearly. They speak their minds, even if it makes them unpopu­lar. When they are forthright with their opinions, such people often become even more magnetic.

Oprah Winfrey is a great example of a leader who is a strong communicator. In fact when she speaks, she moves markets! Who could forget Oprah Winfrey’s holiday list of favorite things? The mere announcement of an item would result in products flying off the shelves. Winfrey’s strong communication skills have inspired people around the globe to be a better version of their self. She is truly a magnetic leader.

Female leaders (and their male counterparts) can learn a lot from Winfrey. When she communicates, she does so with conviction. She rarely goes off message and she listens as intensely as she speaks. Of course she’s had years of practice. However, she had to have started somewhere. Let today be the first day of your voyage towards becoming a more effective communicator.

I’d be lying if I told you becoming a magnetic leader would be effortless. There are times when you will question why you have chosen to go on this journey and then there will be moments when you will know, deep down inside, that the work you are doing on yourself will have an impact on others for years to come.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Maximization, Women in Business
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

5 Mistakes Leaders Make When It Comes to Promoting High Potentials

There are two moments that stand out in the minds of experienced leaders. They are the first time they promoted someone into management and the day they had to tell that person, “Things aren’t working out.” But what is most troublesome to these leaders is the fact that they know, deep down inside; this person never had a chance.

Here are five common mistakes leaders make when it comes to promoting high potentials and what you can do to avoid disaster the next time around.

1. Promoting the Wrong Person

You promoted your top sales person into management based on performance and he is failing miserably as a leader. Revenues are slipping and the sales team is ready to bolt. You made the deadly mistake of assuming that excellence in one job would easily translate into superior performance in another, even though the skill sets required of each job are drastically different. Don’t be so quick next time to promote your best technical person into management, unless he clearly demonstrates he has the skills and the desire to successfully take on the role of a leader.

2. Too Much Rope

You had high hopes for this individual, as did everyone else. So you left her alone to do her thing. In retrospect, that was your first mistake. You gave her too much rope and she hung herself. Next time, let the rope out slowly until such time as this person has demonstrated they are ready to fly solo.

3. Assuming Your Newly Promoted Leader Will Pick Things Up Like You Did

You learned the hard way how to manage and you didn’t turn out so bad so why shouldn’t your new protégé learn the same way? Business is challenging enough in today’s tumultuous economy. Maybe this isn’t the right time for your sink or swim approach to management. The next time around, try coaching your new manager and swimming besides him, before throwing him into the deep end of the pool.

4. Failure to Provide Feedback

You figured she’d know exactly what you expected, even though you never clearly defined your expectations. Heck, your family members have figured this out. But you forgot to consider that unlike your wife, this person couldn’t read minds. In the future, outline the objectives and metrics and make it a point to check in weekly to ensure your new manager remains on track.

5. You Never Bothered to Re-staff Her Position

Your shining star was so great that she could do the work of two people. That may be fine when your work is tactical. But how can someone successfully lead, when they can’t lift their head up from their own desk long enough to engage with their people? Succession planning is your job. Have someone ready to fill the shoes that will be vacated, before promoting your next employee.

As leaders, it’s your job to identify and nurture high-potentials and to help them successfully assimilate into management. Learn from your mistakes so that next time you can say, “I’m really glad things are working out so well.”

© Matuson Consulting, 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Could you or someone you know benefit from participating in a jammed packed leadership session to help successfully transition from manager to magnetic leader? Grab an online seat for Move Up/Manage Right. First 5 people to sign up receive a complimentary 30-minute phone coaching session, following the completion of the course. Mention LinkedIn and I’ll throw in an additional coaching session! I’m available to deliver this program on site as well. Reach out to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to schedule a date.

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Talent Maximizer®.

Save

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

How to Refrain From Being a Demanding Boss

How to Avoid Becoming a Demanding Boss

Today’s WSJ featured an article titled, How to Manage a Demanding Boss. The advice given to employees of demanding bosses requires employees to do whatever is necessary to work around bosses whose behavior is doing more harm than good. I wish the Journal instead had published a piece on How to Refrain From Being a Demanding Boss, as a story on this topic might get some bosses to examine their behavior more closely and consider making some much needed changes. Here’s what I wish the author would have written.

There is nothing wrong with being a boss who demands excellence from his or her people, but not when doing so forces employees to sacrifice their own life for that of the company. Here’s an example of what I mean by this. Asking employees to promptly respond to emails and texts 24/7 just because you’re the boss and you think you can make these demands will no doubt come back to bite you. If employees see no demarcation between their work and personal life, then no doubt they will use what is supposed to be their work time to handle personal matters, which they no longer have time to do after hours, because you are intruding on their personal time.

So the next time you are about to demand an employee to work well past quitting time or to come in on weekends, ask yourself the following? Is this really necessary? If you have to think twice, it’s probably not.

Get my newsletter, The Talent Maximizer® delivered right to your inbox. It’s jammed packed with tips on how to maximize your talent!

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , ,
Leave a comment

Employees Have Dreams Too

Ready to Live Out Your Dreams?

Who could forget Martin Luther King, Jr’s., “I Have A Dream” speech? Yet everyday, we forget that employees have dreams as well. Here are but a few of the dreams that employees everywhere are having.

A better life. Who doesn’t dream of having a better life? Yet as I look at the world of work from the other side, I see that for most this dream has become a nightmare. Demanding bosses, 24/7 scheduling and little care for the human side of business has resulted in a life that few would describe as better.

A boss that doesn’t micromanage. In my executive coaching practice, micromanagement is one of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients. Ironically, my clients are many times the biggest offenders. It would be a dream come true for many, if those in management roles would allow the people they hire to do their jobs with little interference.

To enjoy time outside of work. I did something very strange this weekend. I didn’t do any work all weekend. And guess what? Life as I knew it got a heck of a lot better. I gave my mind some much needed time off and focused on having some fun. Sadly, many workers don’t feel they have the luxury of completely ignoring work and enjoying themselves when they leave the workplace. Their dreams of having a balanced life feel out of reach to most.

Interesting work. No one dreams of landing a boring job, yet often times that’s exactly what happens. I’ve worked some really boring jobs in my lifetime, yet some great managers made these jobs a lot of fun. Think about what you can do to add some joy back into the workplace, so your employees can once again dream.

To be paid what they are worth. Companies are using the wrong metrics when it comes to pay. They are looking at what they are currently paying people rather than what people are currently worth. Pay people based on the value they contribute to the organization, even if this means adjusting their salaries upwards or downwards annually.

Respect. Employees everywhere dream of being respected, yet there appears to be a shortage of respect. That’s the only reason I can think of as to why you wouldn’t give this to the people that work for you.

I’ve had the pleasure of helping many leaders achieve their dreams of becoming magnetic leaders. What they all had in common was their desire to improve. Are you ready to live out your dreams? Call me at 617-608-3633 or email Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to begin.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

How to Maximize Talent and Productivity

How to Maximize and Optimize Team Performance

I was recently asked by a CEO as to what I thought were the key qualities in maximizing and optimizing talent. I thought sharing my answer would be helpful for those of you who are looking to increase productivity and profitability in your own organizations, which is probably just about everyone!

First you have to make sure the people you hire are talented or that they have the potential to become top talent. If you are unsure, then you probably have some people who should probably no longer remain in your employ.

The key to maximizing and optimizing talent is the creation of a workplace where employees love to work and customers love to do business. This doesn’t require a Google-sized wallet, nor crazy perks that really don’t work.

Focus on the leadership in your organization. I write about this in my new book, The Magnetic Leader. If you’ve had the pleasure of working with a magnetic leader, you know how powerful their pull can be. You’ll do whatever they ask (and most times you’ll do this without waiting to be asked) and you’ll remain by their side for years to come. When you have magnetic leaders, the optimization of talent occurs naturally.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create an incredible workplace that attracts the right people to your organization, email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com and I will send you one of my most requested articles on 30 Low Cost Ways to Show Employees They are Valued.

Save

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Talent Maximization
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment

How I Became An Expert In the Workplace, Courtesy of Bill O’Reilly

Expert on Sexual Harassment in the WorkplaceI didn’t set out to be an expert on sex in the workplace. It happened by circumstance.

In early 2004, I was invited to appear on The O’Reilly Factor, which airs on the Fox News station. The topic was sex in the office. Bill asked for my opinion as to whether or not I thought sex was happening in the office during work hours, as well as after hours. We also discussed sexual harassment in the workplace. What I didn’t know at the time was that the producer, who brought me on the show, was allegedly being harassed by Mr. O’Reilly.

Fast forward six months later, and Bill’s producer, Andrea Mackris, was accusing him of sexual harassment. Obviously, Bill didn’t listen to what I had to say. We never really learned if Bill was guilty or innocent, as he settled with Ms. Mackris for what is rumored to be a number well into the millions.

As the years have gone by, I’ve been called upon for comment when another story on sexual harassment breaks . I have no doubt  today will be no exception, as the New York Times just released the following breaking news: “Fox News Settled Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Bill O’Reilly, Documents Show.

The story about sexual harassment that former Fox employee Julie Huddy tells about her experience with Bill O’Reilly is remarkably similar to the accusations Mackris made in 2004. The fact that Fox news has turned an eye away from O’Reilly and permitted this behavior to continue is disheartening to me.

Fox isn’t the only workplace where sexual harassment is taking place. Sexual harassment is prevalent in workplaces across America. Cosmopolitan conducted a survey in 2015 of 2,235 full-time and part-time female employees and found that one out of three female employees has experienced sexual harassment at some point in their work lives.

I’ve conducted enough sexual harassment investigations to see first hand the damage that occurs when someone is sexually harassed in the workplace. And if you think there is no such thing as same-sex harassment, think again. Same-sex harassment is equally as cruel and damaging.

My goal is to see my role, as an expert on sex in the workplace, become extinct. It’s my hope that in my teenage son and teenage daughter’s lifetime, they and their colleagues will be free to come to work everyday without having to worry about someone sexually harassing them in the workplace. This will only happen if companies take a bold stand and have a zero tolerance policy on harassment for all.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment

How to Prevent Others from Poaching Your Talent

Employee Retention of Talent

Employee Retention of Talent

Many of you are enjoying the last day of your winter holiday break, while others are out there actively stealing your talent. If you only do one thing this year, let that be creating a force field around your organization that will prevent others from successfully plucking your talent out.

I’ve just written an executive report titled, Poaching Talent: The Unauthorized Guide to Capturing Your Competitor’s Top Talent While Safeguarding Your Own, which is yours for the asking. Here are a few key points regarding safeguarding your people.

1. Identify the keepers. It’s a lot easier to say that everyone is a keeper, rather than admitting that some people are more valuable than others. If you could only save a handful of your people on a sinking ship, who would you choose? These are your keepers and these are the people you should be checking in with regularly to ensure they feel connected to you and the company that employs them.

2. Give the keepers interesting work assignments. People tend to wander off and look at other options when they no longer feel challenged. Look for ways to involve your keepers in work assignments that are interesting and challenging, even if this means giving up something you really enjoy doing in your job.

3. Release the non-keepers. Release those who are weighing down your team as well as sucking the energy out of your keepers. Do this now.

There are a ton of other ways you can protect your talent. I’m sharing these ideas with a select group of companies, who are engaging me to come on site and facilitate a three-hour jam packed discussion. I’m also going to teach them for the first time ever, how to effortlessly poach talent. I’ve got a few dates left for January and February. Email me at Roberta@Matusonconsulting.com to have me bring this session to your organization.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention
Tagged ,
3 Comments

Magnetic Leadership: Promise Me You Won’t Be This Type of Leader

Businessman with fingers crossed behind his back.

Great Leaders are Truthful Leaders

Imagine what it must be like to work for someone who keeps making promises yet never fulfills them. Apparently, it’s more common than we think. According to a 2007 Florida State University Study, two out of five bosses don’t keep their word.

I can only think of a handful of acceptable reasons to break a promise you made to one of your employees. I’m not saying that things don’t happen or that something might legitimately get in the way of you keeping your word. Your actions after the promise is broken will determine what happens next.

For example, I find that most leaders hate confrontation. Rather than telling an employee why they are not able to keep a previous commitment, they instead pretend as if they never made the commitment at all. They figure the employee will forget about it, which is rarely the case. If you are unable to keep your word, at least have the courtesy of telling your employee why this is so. Many will stick by your side, as honesty is something that a lot of people are looking for from their bosses—and, as you’ve heard, it’s in short supply these days.

This posting is an excerpt from my new book, The Magnetic Leader, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Posted in Leadership, Learning and Development, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment

Seven Questions to Help You Achieve Dramatic Growth

SuccessHere are seven questions to think about as you work towards achieving outrageous growth.

  1. What’s the one thing you can do today to maximize talent and revenue growth? The answer should consist of certain actions that you can take to immediately accelerate your ability to fill jobs with the right people, increase productivity and grow your business.
  1. Who on your staff do you secretly wish would give notice? Write their name down and make a plan for their exit.
  1. Who have you always admired that works for a competitor? Name them. Then go after them.
  1. Which candidates told you “no” this past year, who you can go back to this year?
  1. Who did you lose this year that you are still missing? Call them up today and invite them to lunch. Listen carefully for signs indicating that they may be interested in returning to your company.
  1. What’s been on your to-do-list since the beginning of 2016 that you haven’t gotten to? Is it still important? If so, put a date and time on your calendar to get this done this month. If not? Take it off your list.
  1. Who in the organization has the most potential? Have you told them lately how valuable they are to the organization? Invest in them. Hire an executive coach. Don’t delay. Do this now.
Posted in Business Growth, Employee Turnover, Hiring and Recruitment
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment