Take Your Advice And Shove It

Take Your Advice And Shove It

Great piece in the Wall Street Journal today on getting and giving advice.

This was a funny article about how most advice comes not from the wise, but from the idiots trying to push their own agendas, make a buck off you, or bud into your business.

When people try to tell you what to do, “the subtext is ‘You’re an idiot for not already doing it.”

But who wants to do what someone else tells them to do–unless you a robotic, brainless, loser!

Every manager should already know that everyone hates a control freak micromanager–and that they suck the creative lifeblood out of the organization.

The flip side is when you give people the freedom to express their talents and take charge of their work activities, you motivate them to “own it!”

Real meaning from work comes from actually having some responsibility for something where the results matter and not just marching to the tune of a different drummer.

The best leaders guide the organization and their people towards a great vision, but don’t choke off innovation and creativity and sticking their fat fingers in people’s eyes.

The flip side of advice not getting hammered on you, is when you have the opportunity to request it.

People who aren’t narcissistic, control freaks seek out other people’s opinions on how to approach a problem and to evaluate the best solutions.

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart and capable people in and of themselves, but rather that they are actually smarter and more capable because they augment their experience and thinking with that of others–vetting a solution until they find one that really rocks!

While decision making by committee can lead to analysis paralysis or a cover your a*s (CYA) culture, the real point to good governance is to look at problems and solutions from diverse perspectives and all angles before jumping head first into what is really a pile of rocks under the surface.

Does vetting always get you the right or best decision?

Of course not, because people hijack the process with the biggest mouth blowing the hottest stream.

But if you can offset the power jocks and jerky personalities out there, then you really have an opportunity to benefit from how others look at things.

While the collective wisdom can be helpful, in the end, all real grown ups show personal independence, self-sufficiency, and a mind of their own, and take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

We can learn from others, but we learn best from our own mistakes…no pain, no gain. šŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mr. Universe of Leadership

Mr. Universe of Leadership

A colleague at work told me about a book called Compelling People by Neffinger and Kohut.

The thesis of the book is that the most effective and powerful leaders balance projecting strength and warmth.

If you just show strength, then you would potentially be seen as dictatorial, a micromanager, unapproachable, all work and no personality, and maybe even a tyrant.

And if you just project warmth, then you would likely be seen as wimpy, emotional but not intellectual/skilled, managing by friendship and not professionally, and not focused on results.

That’s why combining and projecting a healthy balance of strength and warmth is effective in leading towards mission results, but also in being a “mensch” and caring for the people you work with.

You can’t have sustained strong performance without a happy workforce.

And you can’t have a happy workforce without strength to achieve meaningful work performance.

In funny, but in a sense Arnold Schwarzenegger is a good example of someone who combines the two.

On one hand, he represents the big and strong “Mr. Universe,” and was able to play in numerous action movies, such as Terminator, Predator, Conan The Barbarian, and more.

At the same time, Schwarzenegger always had a warm, softer side and stared in comedies like Kindergarten Cop, Twins (as the intellectual twin of street-wise Danny Devito), and Junior (where he undergoes a male pregnancy!).

While no one is good at everything and it can be hard to effectively balance strength and warmth, leaders that master this can become the real Mr. Universe for their organizations and people. šŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Left from Andy Blumenthal and Right from here with attribution to Eva Rinaldi)