Leadership Tips to Live By

An Interview with Dave Herda Sr.


During a college course on leadership in the workplace, one of our assignments was to interview a prominent leader of any organization. At the time, I worked for Ameritech when Dick Notebaert was CEO. I tried to get in touch with him, but to my disappointment (and his) he would be in Europe on vacation for several weeks.

There are leaders all around us. They don’t have to be the president of a large corporation, or have a big title. What they do need is the experience of being a good leader in which their reputation attests time and again that they are worthy of recognition and greatness. Therefore, I chose to interview David Herda, superintendent of the Northern Illinois Gas Company.

Below are 8 interview questions on leadership that I asked Mr. Herda.

1. What is your philosophy on leadership?

“To lead by example. You can’t ask subordinates to do something that you wouldn’t do.”

“You can’t compromise your scruples or morals.”

“You must encourage your subordinates and support them.”

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Is Honesty Still the Best Policy?

George TreeOf course honesty is the best policy for all the reasons in this debate. Honesty is not always about telling the truth when asked a question. Being honest is a lot more. For instance, are you honest about the time you spend on a job? Are you honest about getting or giving the right change? This type of honesty is more or less covert. You may never be found out, and yet you never know when you’ll be asked whether or not you are honest about these types of situations.

What if you are at a job interview and an unusual question is posed by the interviewer. She asks, “Imagine you have been with the company for a full year. Do you feel entitled to take a pen home?” Yikes! Who hasn’t taken a pen home from time to time? Quick, think. How do you answer? You could deflect and say, “It’s not right to take anything home from work that’s not your own property.” Or you could tell a semi-lie and say, “Yes, I admit, I have taken a pen home from time to time, but only by accident, and brought it back to the office the next day.” Or you could spill your guts and say, “Yes, I did. And I knew it was wrong and unethical, so I apologized to the office supply cabinet.”

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Anonymous or Not?

How many times have you taken a survey for an organization you have or are working for? Was the survey conducted with an online database or was it standard pen and paper? What were your thoughts about your individual responses? Did you feel that your responses would be tied to you specifically? Continue Reading →

Fear of Reprisal or Just Another Day at the Office?

business ethics

According to research conducted by TNS Employee Insights, more global employees surveyed in 2014 felt they could report unethical practices without fear of reprisal compared to 2013. Specifically, 67% felt they could report unethical practices in 2013, whereas 74% agreed or strongly agreed with this statement in 2014.

So why the change?

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Avoid an EEOC Nightmare!

gavelI would like to add on to the “Engagement Tops the List for Keeping HR Up at Night!” post, written by Christy Kessler (http://blog.tnsemployeeinsights.com/?p=3540). She brings up some great points, but what about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)? From my experience, an EEOC lawsuit is an HR department’s worst nightmare.

I have spent a year working for the EEOC before working here at TNS Employee Insights and I have been involved in several multi-million dollar lawsuits against some reputable organizations. From interviewing countless witnesses and class members, I have found a clear trend: most employees are simply too scared to go to management about their issues in fear of retaliation. In many cases, it is management that discriminates against their employees. However, it only takes one complainant to get others talking, resulting in what could be a 4 year migraine for your HR department. Believe me, the EEOC is relentless.

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The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Engagement

The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is without a doubt at the forefront of many employers’ minds with an impending implementation date of January 1st, 2014. Whether or not you believe the ACA is a good thing (as I personally feel that there are definitely pros and cons!), healthcare reform is well underway and HR professionals are scrambling to find guidance on what to do to remain compliant. While many employers have the best of intentions when it comes to providing health benefits to employees, there are many unfortunate consequences of insufficient funding to support the increased benefits. Combined with the uncertainty and unease of what healthcare reform really means, employees are left feeling frustrated and disengaged from work. Continue Reading →

The Truth about Women in Power

564883_98126365Women in positions of power tend to have different expectations placed upon them than do men in similar positions. Even in modern times when equal rights and treatment is a hot topic in the media and politics, it is still evident that, especially in the workplace, women experience gender inequality that contributes to disadvantages such as less pay or fewer opportunities for advancement (Babcock & Laschever, 2003). Many of these inequalities at work can be attributed to the difference in expectations for how women should behave. That is, when women do not adhere to our stereotypes (that both men and women hold!), they are viewed very unfavorably and find difficulty achieving their career goals. Continue Reading →

The Psychological Contract: What is It and What Does it Mean?

A psychological contract is an unwritten set of expectations that exists between an employee and the manager.  When most employees undergo the hiring process, managers may make promises to new employees such as, “You will be able to advance here without any problem.”  Employees take these statements seriously and may think of such statements as promises for the future.  Therefore, when these promises are broken, employees lose trust in his or her manager and the organization. Continue Reading →

The New Trend of Job Sharing

Companies are becoming more flexible in work hours. One of the newest trends is job sharing or two people sharing the same job and working a part of the week. This type of job allows employees to work part-time in a unique form. Job sharing can cut back on the stress that full-time employees often deal with. The Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA) does not address job sharing. Therefore, the organization should clearly address the expectations to the employees.  Continue Reading →

Personality Types and Honesty in the Workplace

Honesty in the workplace is a hot topic. Employers continue to face difficult decisions in our economic state. With the challenging environments comes a heavier focus on honesty from employees. Organizations want honest employees, but how do employees always know their honesty will be well perceived? Continue Reading →