Fear Based Leadership and Intimidation is not Sustainable in Todays Marketplace

When I was in Middle School, I wrestled.  I had the biggest jerk on the face of the earth as a coach – all he did was yell at me and the rest of my teammates, ridicule use, tell us we were horrible, and that was supposed to be “encouragement” for us to stay the course and do better as individual wrestlers, and as a team.  I ended up quitting after two seasons, and honestly, as I look back on it, I was a pretty good wrestler at the time.  Years later, I ran into the coach and I told him exactly the way he made me feel and how I never wanted to be that way as I grew up.

He led by fear and intimidation.  And it did not work.

In the last week, I’ve had two colleagues call me and tell me that they were struggling with the culture in the businesses they worked for, because they had a co-worker or boss who used Fear Based Leadership as a means to an end.  I was shocked to hear the stories of great, long-term employees making a mass exodus from companies because of one person who does not know the word “compassion”, the words “i’m sorry”  and, if they do, they certainly don’t know how to communicate past their own insecure interests.

I’ve found that people with these traits are often masking their own inadequacies and their inability to truly lead.  So, they just scare those great people around them off, for the only benefit that makes sense to them – themselves.  That was certainly the case, as it appears, with the two colleagues that called me last week, but also my horrible wrestling coach.

So, what do you do if you have a boss, leader or co-worker that uses passive agression as a communication tactic?  Ugh.  It’s not easy.  It completely depends on the organization, as well as who the person is who is the one doing it.  The easiest way, in my opinion, to thwart it is to not triangulate.  Triangulation is when you have a problem with one person, and instead of going to that person with the concern, you go to someone else to try to solve it, or worse yet, gossip about it.  I always suggest in my consulting practice, that no matter how difficult it is, go to the person you have a problem with.  Immediately.  They might not even know they are doing it.  And, if they become defensive (which they likely will) or use more fear based intimidation tactics, then you can circle in the HR Department or your mutual boss if you have one.

It’s more than a sticky situation, but if handled properly, you won’t have to live in the world of fear, thinking that your good-natured efforts will ultimately lead to termination, or you quitting.

If you want to chat about it confidentially, just hit me up.  I’m always happy to chat about situations like this, as I definitely (and unfortunately) see them often.

To an encouraging leadership culture,


Building the Gigabit City: Brainstorming a Google Fiber Roadmap @smckc @kclibrary @brainzooming #gigabitcity #smckc

A little over a month ago, I was humbled to attend as a contributor Building the Gigabit City: Brainstorming a Google Fiber Roadmap, hosted by the Social Media Club of Kansas City.  There were about 80 of us invited from the global Kansas City business community, and our charge for the entire day was to brainstorm how the new Google Gigabit-speed Internet that will land in Kansas City in 2012 can have impact in the community.  Wow, I was amazed to spend so much time with these Kansas City thought leaders and explore the impact on my hometown.

I was asked to offer input in the Suburban Group – and it was incredible to offer my opinion as a life-long Suburbanite that recently moved Downtown KC and became a lover of all things Urban.  It was an interesting perspective and I sure did enjoy offering my thoughts on the matter.

We ended the day with a Press Conference where we shared the initial findings.

Then, strategy guru Mike Brown and his team with the Brainzooming Group went to work, compiling the hundreds of ideas into one streaming, flowing document, that was just released at a recent Press Conference back at the Kansas City Public Library Central Branch downtown.   Check out an awesome blog entry on the libraries take on the event.   (More on my thoughts on the library at another time, likely a Video Blog!)…

It was great to see the local media there last Thursday to soak up our thoughts of how to implement GigabitCity into something worthwhile, focused on the community and all things that mattered – the people of Kansas City.

If you’re interested in our results, click here to download the 120+ page document.  It’s an awesome read.  And, if you’d like to see my two pages in the document written from my perspective of the Suburban vs. Urban communization, check out pages 48 and 49, where I wrote a white paper titled, “The New Value of Community in Suburban Kansas City”.  Or, you can click below to read it here:

The New Value of Community in Suburban Kansas City

By Jason Cupp

As a life-long Kansas Citian, when I saw the news report some time ago that Google had awarded our community the first infrastructure for Gigabit speed internet, I was thoroughly excited.  Instantly, I thought, “We sure have come a long way since logging onto the internet via a telephone modem and using AOL as the interface” – and the fact that hometown KC was going to get this uber-speed internet connection was proof positive that it could have a monumental impact on our community.

And a monumental impact it can have on our community.

read more

TED Talk from Dan Ariely tells us a GREAT WAY to Differentiate Ourselves @TedTalks

I’m returning from PLANET’s Green Industry Conference a few weeks ago and honestly, still just trying to get caught up.  I met so many great people at the conference (there were only 20,000 of you there in attendance at GIE+EXPO!) and I’m looking forward to keeping the conversation alive via phone, email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and this blog.

Several weeks ago, a good friend shared this Ted Talk with me that really did change my opinion on a few things that work within my business and my clients businesses daily – the simple way we phrase things in the sales and purchase process.  I had so many take-aways in just the way I put things down on paper, that I wanted to share them with you.  Although the entire video is nothing short of amazing (it’s only 17 minutes, so an EASY watch and learn experience), I think there are several points that EACH and EVERY person in business can do as a take-away.

You can watch the video here, led by Dan Ariely, and then read a few bullet points to my own observations of “do-differentlys” in your business starting NOW.  Check out this great Ted Talk video:

(If the flash version does not work, you can link to the video here)

I had a LOT of take-aways from the video, but most notably the things that jumped out at me were:

  • The appearance of things are not always as they seem.  Could we have a different “looking” contract or design that would affect the way a client feels about it?
  • The way we phrase things in words can absolutely have an impact that could determine success or not.  Are contracts phrased properly to influence success and execution?
  • We can create successes in sales, contracts and options based on the way the client opts-in to optional services and/or enhancements.
Wow, to me… this is monumental.  What will you do differently as a result of watching this amazing Dan Ariely TED Talk video?

Jason Cupp: Know Your Team – An Article Summary of a Recent Workshop

Last week, while at PLANET’s Green Industry Conference, I led a workshop that outlined elements of leadership, team building, hiring the right person, and creating company culture.  The next day, the workshop was featured in Lawn and Landscape’s “Show Daily” – a magazine that is delivered daily to Trade Show Attendees to their hotel room door, as well as available on the trade show floor.  I was honored to have a two-page feature of the workshop.  Thanks Lawn and Landscape!

(Click the image to be taken to the actual article…)

Jason Cupp: Know Your Team



VideoBlog: Transparency, Vulnerability and Networking – Thoughts about #GIC2011 and #GIEEXPO

Last week, I attended PLANET’s Green Industry Conference and GIE+EXPO. Having attended this amazing educational conference and trade show for many years, I was thinking earlier today about some observations – and changes that the attendees amplified – mostly related to being transparent and vulnerable in their networking opportunities that led to some amazing sharing best practices among non-competing companies.

What did you observe at this years trade show? What are you planning to “do differently” in your business as we head into the last stretch of 2011 and begin to prepare for 2012?

Look Inside
Jason Cupp: Know your Team

Landscape Chat Transcript

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