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How a Leader’s Behavior Affects Team Members

How a Leader’s Behavior Affects Team Members

When I worked at Countrywide/Bank of America, I worked under one of the harshest middle-managers in the company. My boss Rhonda was known throughout the company as a stickler to the rules who chose manuals and numbers over people. I spent a lot of time with her behind closed doors, working on priority projects that remained hidden from the average worker—I sat behind the curtains of Oz, helping to operate the gears and pulleys of one of the largest fraudulent machines in human history. How Rhonda convinced an honest and hardworking man to lend a hand in perpetrating widespread financial crimes for the largest bank in the United States illustrated to me how a leader’s behavior affects team members.

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    Trickle Down Effect

    When left to my own devices, I’m a good-natured, mild-mannered person; I never wish anyone any intentional harm. I was really a really good student in school, but I never really had much passion for anything in life. I loved music, but I was turned off to the industry. I ended up working in the mortgage industry for a subsidiary of Countrywide Home Loans. Having only rented up until that point, I didn’t know much about the company I started my career with.

    The atmosphere at Countrywide leading up to their bankruptcy and the subsequent financial crisis was interesting—everyone threw money around like it was water. There were expensive dinners, bonuses, and perks given to everyone. We were a well-oiled machine, and everyone was all smiles. This is because executives were making a killing at the expense of the American public. This led to bonuses and corporate spending accounts being handed out to middle-management, keeping them happy with what they do. On the bottom of the corporate ladder, temps and entry-level schmucks were forced to carry out the marching orders, oblivious that behind the shiny surface lay a mountain of deceit.

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    Whistle While You Work

    After discovering the systematic fraud inherent in both Countrywide and Bank of America’s business dealings, I decided to blow the whistle internally. This led to me losing my management position: I was no longer acting like the leader I was groomed to be by my leader. When I was strict and followed my barking orders from upper-management, I was seen as a golden child; a role model for other employees to emulate. I had been promoted from entry-level to management by drinking the company Kool-Aid, and by blowing the whistle, I was no longer wanted in that position.

    Soon afterward, I found myself moved to another side of the building, being handed impossible assignments with overdue deadlines. I made the decision then and there that I couldn’t handle throwing my life away at the expense of a frivolous attempt at exposing financial fraud; I wanted to take down the entire corrupt bank. I quit my job and started my journey as a solo whistleblowerthe type you see on the news. I was no longer in an official position of power, yet I displayed leadership skills, however unintentionally, and the effects were noticeable.

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    The Leader and The First Follower

    While being a leader is important, Derek Sivers explains in this TED talk that it’s actually the first follower who’s important. When I left the bank and became an official whistleblower, I was nothing more than a lone nut; nobody was following me. I had a Jerry Maguire moment where nobody was coming with me, and I knew better than to ask. I was temporarily stripped of all followers, and my leadership prowess was removed… or so the banks thought.

    After leaving the bank and facing their retaliation protocols (including facing the police on numerous occasions to prove my innocence from false charges filed by the bank), my tech background compelled me to seek out the hacktivist group Anonymous. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the power of Anon, but they believed in me and became my first follower. Because of their support, I was able to leak important documents and help start the Occupy movement.

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    Takeaways

    The moral of the story is that followers will emulate their leaderor more precisely, they’ll emulate the first follower, who follows the leader. Your attitude as a leader will trickle down to your followers, and the way you treat your subordinates is the way they’ll treat those who work below them. The number of possible layers of that depends on how nice you are. Eventually it reaches a point where people won’t tolerate abuse, and you better hope you’re well-defended by then.

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    Last Updated on November 3, 2020

    How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

    How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

    When you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you may create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion. However, this type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It lacks in clarity and makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing. Instead, try looking at some mind map examples to learn how to mind map and visualize your thoughts.

    Mind maps can help you zoom out and see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected. You may see connections you were missing before and find new ways of brainstorming solutions.

    Below, you’ll find more information on mind maps and see some mind map examples to inspire you next time you need to organize information.

    What Is a Mind Map?

    A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram invented by Tony Buzan[1]. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to declutter your brain or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

    In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using a pen and paper.

    The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    How to mind map: Mind map example

      Image Credit: English Central

      By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

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      3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

      The three steps are:

      1. Set a central topic
      2. Add branches of related ideas
      3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

      Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[2]

      Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

      Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

      Word it in a clear and concise manner. It can be a single word or even a central image.

      How to mind map: start with a central idea

        Step 2 : Add Branches of Related Ideas

        What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

          Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

          Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out nearby by connecting it with shorter lines or a line of a different color. Ensure that it remains organized.

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            You can always add images or other branches later, but that’s good for now.

            In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits.” Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

            Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

            Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

            Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            Mind map example

              I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

              In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

              Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

              You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

              • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
              • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches.
              • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

              Branch by Branch

              Start with the central topic, and add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

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                Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                  One your ideas have filled the branches, the mind map is complete.

                  Branch by branch mind map example

                    Level by Level

                    In this “Level by Level” strategy of mind map examples, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. Here, you add elements on level 1:

                      Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                        Do the same for the next level (level 3). You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Level by level mind map example

                          Free-Flow

                          Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. There are no rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          Free flow mind map example

                            Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you to help you start problem solving.

                            The Bottom Line

                            When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map using the mind map examples above. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and organize your thoughts.

                            If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective, and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on a phone and computer.

                            More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                            Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Tony Buzan Group: Home
                            [2] Verbal to Visual: A Mind Mapping Approach To Your Sketchnotes

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