I write about anything that can help leaders gain a snappy, specific set of skills for managing up and managing teams.
Anyone remember this game?
A few years ago, my mom was going through my "things" (what she calls stuff in my childhood bedroom), and she brought me a bag of junk (what I call that stuff). And in that bag was the game of Perfection.
I have it in my office now. I just played it earlier this week (literally and symbolically).
I reminded myself how much I despise the game yet secretly love the name and love the ambition of perfection.
The race against the clicking clock to get all those pieces in the right places before the whole thing goes "POP!"
Many days I feel as if I’m going to pop.
Is it because I’m racing towards perfection? I don’t so think, but I do know I'm trying to put lots of pieces into tiny holes all over, and I feel rushed and confused.
The holes are (now) smaller, they look and feel strange, and they are harder to find. And the time is loud, clicking by. It's like a nightmare inspired by the game of Perfection . . . POP.
And some days, I do it. I pop.
[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...
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...
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...
Some of the leaders I work with remind me of tortoises when it comes to the poor performance of some of their team members: they hide from the reality of it and when they FINALLY emerge from their shells to see what's going on (ugh), they are slow to address it. And I get it. Who wants to have those conversations? No one wants to be the one to tell an employee that they’re doing a bad job or not pulling their own weight.
However, you don't have a choice. As the manager, one of your main jobs is to keep your team running smoothly. And when one team member isn’t pulling their weight, or is consistently doing their work incorrectly, causing the rest of the team to pick up the slack or constantly go behind them fixing their mistakes, you’re going to have a team that’s dispirited, frustrated, and increasingly fractured. You have to stop this behavior as soon as you see it. It won’t correct itself, and it’s very likely that once an employee has...
As a manager, a huge part of your job is to work with all kinds of people, with all kinds of temperaments. An amazing manager is able to recognize and use the strengths of each employee, finding a way to make the varying skills and personalities that make up their team work in harmony. It feels right. It sounds right. Yet just like the wrong note played in a song can create dissonance, so too can having to manage an employee who seems to only bring negativity to work with them.
I’m sure you’ve encountered this type of person in your time as a manager: the naysayer, the person who shoots down every idea, the one who pushes back on everything asked of them. They complain about most everything and everyone.
This kind of behavior is much more than annoying. It’s obstructive and depleting to everyone who shares the environment. And maybe even more: it can be infectious, like the flu running wild through each team. It lowers the morale of an entire team and...
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