Winning Moves in the Workplace

March 7, 2023 | Leadership

William F. Merck II, Author, Leader, Speaker

by William F. Merck II

Read Bill’s March 2023 guest article for Communication Intelligence, a magazine about smart communication in our professional lives, on how to be more influential and successful at work—whether as an executive or employee. (Image by Justin Leonard/Flickr)

An ex-military platoon leader and higher education professional — nearly four decades worth — talks today about some military mindsets that are beneficial in the civilian world, how to influence and improve morale in the workplace, what allows this to happen and finally, understanding relationship dynamics and how to interact successfully with company executives.

Bill Merck is the author of, “So, You Want to Be a Leader: Secrets of a Lifetime of Success,” and this Communication Intelligence feature hits on the above-mentioned points that he writes about in his book.

Merck begins by talking about what a leader can do for his people that they may find uncomfortable or upsetting now yet will benefit them and the organization later.

“….mindset in the military is the concept that when stressed, people can rise to the occasion and do more than they ever thought they could,” he says, which is important because, “Every organization will, at some time, face extreme stress.

“It is important in those times for leaders to inspire their followers to rise above what they believe to be their limits when facing a crisis.”

There is also Murphy’s Law always lurking and with which to contend with, which is, when something can go wrong, it will.

“Any leader needs to be conscious of this likelihood and be prepared to creatively work through problems with a plan when they arise,” Merck has learned. “I am aware of a motto attributed to the Marines: ‘Adapt, improvise, and overcome.’ This is a good mindset for leaders in the civilian workplace,” too he recommends.

Morale is crucial in organizations and that critically-important responsibility starts and ends with leadership. Influencing morale and improving it can be overlooked or challenging tasks at times.

“Good morale is essential for any organization to reach its full potential. Effective leaders who are intent on maintaining or improving morale understand the basic expectations of employees and they strive to meet them,” Merck says.

“These basics include an employee wanting to work with people who treat them with respect while they, in turn, want to work with people they respect. Employees want to do meaningful work, be informed, have their good work recognized and appreciated, work in a safe environment and be compensated fairly.”

Morale requires regular forward thinking.

“Something else a good leader will do for morale when introducing new projects to the workforce is to be prepared ahead of time with answers to the obvious questions staff will have,” Merck advises. “What is the objective and will they understand it? Why is it worthy of their effort? Will it inspire a desire to be included in the effort?”

Then there’s the question that often isn’t answered for employees or even asked, yet always thought: “And it’s critical to know what you will say when asked ‘what’s in it for me?’” Merck says.

Morale is not only implementing certain communication and actions it is knowing what to steer clear of communicating and doing.

“Other qualities of a good leader having a positive effect on morale include avoiding some common mistakes,” Merck says, listing, “Micromanaging, taking credit for the work of others and failing to recognize their staff’s significant achievements in a public way. These mistakes are morale killers,” he warns.

Yet there is an intelligent, better way.

“If members of the workforce know their leader is open to listening to problems they have, understands and respects their differences as human being and is interested in their welfare, their morale will be lifted,” Merck states.

“And this may seem counter intuitive,” he adds, “employees respect a leader who is willing to fire employees for cause. Everyone has a job to do and success is often contingent upon teamwork. If a member of the team is consistently not carrying their share of the load it puts an unfair burden on the others.”

Continue reading this article on Communication Intelligence.

Bill’s book, So, You Want to Be a Leader, is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Read excerpts from his book and articles on leadership here.

So, You Want to Be a Leader by William F. Merck II

Buy the Book!

So, You Want to Be a Leader: Secrets of a Lifetime of Success is now available in paperback and e-book editions.

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William F. Merck has a lifetime of experiences in the working world that contributed to his success in a variety of leadership roles.

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BREADCRUMBS: Finding a Philosophy of Life

In this work, slated for publication in March 2023, the author uses stories from his life’s journey to illustrate points in time that helped form his view of the world and his place in it.

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So, You Want to Be a LEADER

Being a leader is not easy for anyone. Thankfully, this book transforms more than a half-century of leadership experiences into a practical handbook for those looking to excel in leadership roles. In candid fashion, So, You Want to Be a Leader: Secrets of a Lifetime of Success, reveals what works—along with an unvarnished examination of what doesn’t—in a myriad of work-related situations.

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BREADCRUMBS: Finding a Philosophy of Life

In Bill’s new book released on March 14, 2023, the author uses stories from his life’s journey to illustrate points in time that helped form his view of the world and his place in it. From growing up in Southern Georgia in the 1940s, to becoming a military officer and a corporate leader, he discovers a nexus between early feelings and subsequent notions and beliefs.

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