The Awesome Leader Blog

I write about anything that can help leaders gain a snappy, specific set of skills for managing up and managing teams.

Got Bad Managers?

leading management Feb 01, 2021
Raise your hand if you know a bad manager.

I can’t see the raised hands, but I know they are there.


Some of you are holding them up high. You shot those hands up as soon as you read my prompt. "Yes!" is what you’re saying aloud. "Yes! I know a bad manager!"

Some of you have those hands up, yet you’re sheepishly raising them. I’m guessing you’re at your "desk"--the kitchen, living room, or family room table--and you are cautiously raising your hand, wondering if anyone else can see you admitting to the truth: you know bad managers. You’re thinking, "Oh, no, don’t remind me about that. Ugh, yes, we have bad managers. I know bad managers."

I can’t see you and your raised hands, but here’s the deal:

Other people see the bad managers.

They feel the burden of working with bad managers.

They feel the frustration, anger, and sadness of working for bad managers.

Poor leaders. Difficult leaders. Bad leaders. Incompetent leaders. Call them what...
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You Made it Through 2020--Here's Your Ribbon

2020 leading management Dec 18, 2020

 

You Participated in 2020. Congratulations.


So, it's Friday, December 18, and the best thing I can say to all of you today is:
  1. Thanks for being here. For reading what I write and choosing to learn to be a better leader, and
  2. I'm happy to award this "Participated" ribbon to you!

I've had this ribbon around my office for a few years. I got it the same day I bought the demerit badge for whining (see below and BTW you can buy these badges here. I think I have earned the "caffeine addict", "chocoholic", "martini", "pizza", "I survived", and "overloaded" badges this year--perhaps several more).

This ribbon is a marker you can use to recognize the confusion, agony, waiting, refreshing your phone, voting, masking up, arguing, homeschooling, washing hands, ordering online, Zoom calls, and sanitizing you did this year. Congratulations!

You made it through 2020.

I really hope your 2020 was more than just making it, yet if you just made it through, that's fine. You were here. You...
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No Lazy Leaders, No Team Building, and Less Weird Small Talk

leadership leading Dec 03, 2020

The Year is Almost Over. It's Easy to Be Lazy as a Leader.

I find it very tempting to look at the date--December 3--and just wish January 1, 2021 were here. Wish that this year was over. Refund, please. Or, do-over, please. 

In 2021 we will still be wearing masks.

In 2021 there will still be a pandemic.

In 2021 there will still be uncertainty for many people: job, home, food, paycheck, money, safety, health, you name it . . . 

In 2021 there will be still a lot of the same, and so, it's tempting to sit back and let 2021 arrive. 

I think that's lazy. I think that's a lazy move for all leaders.
So, I invite you to join me for a webinar on December 9. An anti-lazy leader webinar. 

On December 9 at 9 am PT/12 pm ET/5 pm GMT, join me for a webinar titled, Plan Your 2021 Leadership (and Have Fun & Stay Sane at the Same Time).

Here are details:

  • You'll need a leadership planner, and I have you covered. Download my...
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I Make the Rules

leading Sep 08, 2020
 
 
Make More Rules

I’ve always prided myself as a rule follower. Somewhat to the extreme.

I have trouble crossing the street when the walk sign is off. Even if there are no cars around.

Here’s my thinking. The idea of breaking a rule that’s been put in place to protect me, to keep traffic flowing (pre-COVID-19 you had places to be on time, right?), and—big-picture thinking—to help us all get along, well, that would be wrong.

On the sidewalk, I was that person, standing as others looked both ways (or not) and kept moving to their designations. I was waiting for the light to change. Waiting for it to be clear. Waiting for permission.

I see obeying the crosswalk as a rule that helps me. It’s a rule that works for me. It makes me feel safe, it makes me feel in control of my environment.

As a human, you don’t have to follow my rule.

But, as a leader, I think you need more rules.

You need rules to help you consider what work you do...
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Managing Negativity: What to Do with the Complainer

leadership leading managing Jul 30, 2020

[Pandemic aside, there is a complainer on almost every team: the person who has a lot to say and most of it is negative. For this blog, I’m not focusing on how to tackle the constant grumbler during COVID-19 times, as I don’t think we have to treat the complainer differently during a pandemic and WFH scenario. Whether we’re wearing masks or not, WFH or not, the complainer needs to change. ]

As a manager, a huge part of your job is to work with all kinds of people, with all kinds of temperaments. An awesome manager is able to recognize and use the strengths of every employee, finding a way to make the varying skills and personalities that make up their teamwork in harmony. It feels right. It sounds right. It’s your favorite playlist and the sound and atmosphere are perfect. 

But imagine when you’re listening to someone learning to play the violin. It’s jarring, and it grates on you. And you might be next door or in a room a bit away, and...

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Being Approachable—When You’re Not in the Office Together

leading managing Jul 01, 2020

Before COVID-19, I had lots of ideas for leaders on how to become more approachable: how to show people that you are open to their ideas, their questions, and their visits to your office or cube. 

Back then, it was easy to hide, intentionally or not, or be “busy” in conference rooms for several hours each day. Leaders were always, it seemed, in back-to-back meetings. I know, I know: you wanted to be at your desk and be available. But it seemed impossible to be at your desk, so you could be approachable. You needed time to sit down in one place to be approachable. And then, there were business trips. More time out of the office to be in other offices—and in other conferences rooms, being busy. 

Well, it’s July 2020, and COVID-19 means huge numbers of people are working at home, away from each other, and ironically, when we do see someone, we need to create physical space between us and that person. Let’s also add in the mask factor into this...

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The Mask, The Terminator, and the 98 Yr Old Leader

 

Focused on Wednesday. Lost on Thursday. And each afternoon feels like a Friday. 

It's hard to stay focused these days, right? I know it's not just me, as many of my coaching clients are saying the same. And my neighbors and my friends.

You might feel productive one day and then lost the next. The commute is gone, so, wow, you're "home" early, and it's nice and warm outside (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). Is it a Friday? Maybe. Not sure. 

For this newsletter, I have a collection of links and ideas as well as updates on what I've been up to with Awesome Leader projects. They come together in a casual Friday-like manner. 

My thoughts captured by Others: Mentions in the The Economist (Managing Up) and Lattice (Professional Development)

"Sycophants are suffering during this pandemic."

I've read and loved The Economist for years, and my thoughts are now in it.  Sycophants are out of luck. Managing up = building and maintaining relationships...

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