Getting A Leadership Washing

Getting It WashedGetting It Washed 2

So I am reading this book called, “What Your Boss NEVER Told You.”


In terms of leadership, a key principle is stated very well here: 

“‘What’ flows down

And

‘How’ flows up.”

Meaning that as the leader, you set the goal, but you don’t tell people how to achieve it.

Micromanagement “stomp[s] out 

creativity, ownership, and commitment.”

To give your people the breathing room to innovate and solve problems and feel good about their work, here’s the ideal manager:

“Hands-off whenever possible, 

and 

hands-on whenever needed.”

And finally the 3 “H’s” of leadership:

1. Honor — doing the right thing (i.e. integrity)

2. Humility — “give away the credit,” but own the responsibility 100%!

3. Humor — “take their work seriously, but themselves lightly.”

Overall, good book to get a clean bill of leadership health. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Who’s Da Boss

Boss

At work, we all report to somebody–no matter high up the chain you go. 


IMHO, I think it’s always important to remember though who the Big Boss is and He/She is the top of the food chain and is the one who really calls ALL the shots–and if you keep that in mind, you can show proper respect to your boss at work and follow their lead without falling on your sword in human antiauthoritarian revolt. 


Thus, in the earthly world, the boss in the corner office and on the high floor is the one who tells you what to do at work. 


Of course, the cardinal sin of management is be a micromanager–EVERYONE hates that and just wants to be told the goal but then let loose to get the job done–and not stood over and berated on how to do it and torn apart for everything they did [differently] “wrong” than perhaps their boss would’ve done it in their self-presumed all-knowing wisdom. 


Also, bosses who laud their boss status over their subordinates by telling and showing them how bossy boss with information and power, belittling them, they are–often these people are resented by the “plebeian workers” and as in the servitude of Egypt thousands of years ago, the Big Boss hears their prayers for justice and meets it out accordingly. 


The best bosses are human, humble, and admit mistakes, see people as children of G-d, have compassion, and treat their workers with due respect; genuinely listens to others, are inclusive, and values what each person brings to the table; says thank you and means it; looks for opportunities to recognize and reward people; and treat people as teammates and not indentured servants. 


Certainly, workers have a responsibility too–to give it their best and keep their commitments; to respect the “chain of command”; to tell it the way it is with some modicum of diplomacy and keep their bosses fully informed, to not demand the unreasonable or play games with the rules (that everyone at work lives under); and to generally be collegial and a team player 


One colleague on an interview told me that they were asked a really smart, tough question that put them on the spot, “Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with management?”


That could be a telling question or answer depending who’s been naughty and nice at the office. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Micromanaging Your Customers

Check Out
Standing in line at the store the other day, I’ve got to to say that I sort of really resented this ridiculous check out line.



We are not in kindergarten and do not need little footsies and signs to tell us where to stand, how far apart, and who is up next in the line.



Actually, it’s really not all that complicated–we can figure out to lineup in front of the counter and wait our turn civilly.



Micromanaging your customers (or for that matter your employees) is a pretty stupid idea.



Get your own house in order–and do a good job servicing the people that are paying you (or working to make you a success).



How about you take your little feet over behind the counter and get the line moving that much faster and stop making us wait so long to begin with to give you our business.



Happy Black Friday…loosen the reins a little won’t you and you’ll find a happier customer (and employee) base and make some more money in the process. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Overqualified And Underwhelming

Better Job
Ok, so this sign is sarcastic for the question I received the other day.



A colleague, who is a supervisor, asked me :



“How do you take a group that doesn’t know how to do the work (literally does not know how) and get them going, then teach them to do it on their own instead of doing nothing, waiting, blaming?”



My response was:



You can’t do everyone’s job for them…you will fail that way (and they will fail that way). 



You have to learn to work effectively with others…you have to delegate and let them do their jobs. 



As a manager, you should review, edit, comment, question, suggest, recommend, and quality assure (not micromanage).



Send staff to training, mentor, and guide them, but don’t do the job for them. 



What do you think?



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Gaming to Get More Bricks and Mortar

Gaming to Get More Bricks and Mortar

Farhad Manjoo has an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal on the gamification of the workplace.

In office gamification, employees are treated like gamers–they are measured, given points, and recognized/rewarded for meeting objectives as if you are playing an arcade game or Angry Birds.

The problem is that this is really nothing new and also not very motivating to the workforce.

Already in the Bible the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites by giving them ever crushing quotas for gathering straw and building the great pyramids.

And if they didn’t measure up, the Bible tells us that, “They made their lives bitter with harsh labor…the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”(Deut. 1:14)

You see while measuring performance is a good and important part to managing and maturing processes and the workforce, tracking people in real life with plus ups for every good thing and minuses for every mistake or failure treats this whole thing as one big game, but it’s not.

A mature adult workforce doesn’t need points and bonus time for doing their jobs, and shouldn’t be made to fear losing their jobs for not meeting their daily numbers.

Even Manjoo admits that he dreads working in a work environment where everything is measured and monitored to the nth-degree.

He says that even in a field like Journalism, he feels undue pressure to produce and that “every time I write a story that doesn’t make the paper’s most-popular list, I consider it a tiny failure. If I do that too many times in a row, I begin to wonder if I should look for a new line of work.”

Now perhaps, many of you are saying, that if you can’t perform at expectations, maybe you should be looking for another job, but the point is that performance measurement should be humane–working toward the long-term benefit of the company and the development of the employees–and not one miss and it’s “Game Over!”

Gamification software, like Badgeville, that gives points for everything from creating a sales lead to responding to a lead and converting a lead to sales opportunities is nothing short of childish micromanagement.

Employees shouldn’t treated like children working for points and prizes and titles like “Super Converter” or “Super Dealer” (like in the demo video), but rather should be treated as professionals, who work for the mission and based on an ethos of excellence, where they are committed to doing their best for the organization, and the organization is committed to developing them and making them a ever better and satisfied workforce–not making them feel like they are coming to a surveillance, tracking, and fear-inspired workplace.

Can gamification have a place in creating some healthy workplace competition and fun? Sure, but when it’s masquerading as a serious tool to engineer people to do their jobs and have a meaningful career, then someone in the C-suite has been playing Farmville a little too long.

My father used to tell me, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” and employees will be far more motivated if they know you are working with them as a team to “get to the next level” rather than infantilizing and prodding them with ridiculous amounts of workplace surveillance to force them to collect more straw and build more pyramids. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who’s The Boss (The Good and Bad) ?

Who's The Boss (The Good and Bad) ?

Harvard Business Review had a helpful list of 8 leadership types:

1. Strategists – (Chess game) – provide vision, strategy, enterprise architecture.
2. Change agents – (Turnaround expert) – reengineering the organization.
3. Transactors – (Deal-maker) – make deals and negotiate positive outcomes.
4. Builders – (Entrepreneur) – create something new.
5. Innovators – (Idea generator) – solve difficult problems.
6. Processors – (Efficiency expert) – run organization like a well-oiled machine.
7. Coaches – (Develop People) – get the best out of people for a high-performance culture.
8. Communicators – (Influencer) – explain clearly what (not how) needs to be done to succeed.

I would say these are the positive archetypes of leadership, but what about the negative leadership models?

Here’s a shot at the 8 types of awful leaders (and wish they throw in towel and go away):

1. Narcissists – (Self-centered) – focused on stroking their own egos and pushing their own agendas, rather than the success of mission and people.
2. Power mongers – (Domineering) – Looking to grow their piece of the corporate pie, not the pie itself.
3. Competitors – (Win-Lose) – deals with colleagues as enemies to defeat, rather than as teammates to collaborate with.
4. Micromanagers – (My way or the highway) – doesn’t delegate or people the leeway to do their jobs, rather tells them how to do it the right and only way.
5. Insecure babies – (Lacking in self-confidence) – marginalizes or gets rid of anyone who is a challenge to their “leadership,” rather than valuing and capitalizing on diversity.
6. Sadists – (Bullying) – use their leadership pulpits to make others squirm under their oppressive thumbs and they enjoy it, rather than using their position to help people.
7. Thieves (Credit grabbers) – steal other people’s ideas and recognition for their own self-promotion, rather than elevate others for their contributions.
8. Biased baddies – (Whatever I want) – manage arbitrarily by subjective management whim and playing personal favorites, rather than through objective facts and maintaining equity.

How many of you have dealt with the good as well as the bad and ugly? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Happy To Glad

From Happy To Glad

So I heard a new saying: “From Happy To Glad.”

I asked some folks “What is that was all about?”

They explained that it applies to when you give someone something to review and they make really minor, nit-picky edits.

For example, they said, when someone “just has to say something” or “they can’t let it go.”

This was interesting to me, because I find it really helpful to solicit feedback and vet things with a smart, diverse group–and when you do, invariably you get a better product.

For example, with a document, the best feedback is substantive feedback about content, followed by solid edits to things like style, formatting, and of course spelling and grammar gaffes.

The goal is to have a clear, concise, and consistent communication that is either informative or action-oriented, and with a good executive summary and enough supporting detail to answer key questions.

Of course, this is very different than “Happy to glad” feedback–where you’re getting someone who possibly is wordsmithing something to death, can’t make up their own mind, wants to show how smart they are, or are just trying to drive you nuts.

With happy to glad, sure it’ll satisfy the occasional control freaks and the ego-chasers.

But the changes you’ll want to actually make are from the really smart and experienced folks whose input makes a genuine difference in the end product and your and the organization’s success.

So ask away for input, make meaningful changes, but don’t get snared in change for change sake alone. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Zentolos)