The baseball coach was frustrated with his team. They just weren’t executing. When they were up to bat, they couldn’t buy a hit. The pitchers gave up too many hits. Even when the pitching was good, the fielders made errors that cost the team too many runs.
The coach hated it when the errors happened. He would throw his clipboard down on the ground, cuss, and yell at the offender, humiliating them in front of both teams and their spectators. Nobody knew if the coach thought that kind of behavior motivated people or if he just couldn’t help himself. He was a poor leader.
There has been a lot of talk about bossy women lately. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is leading a formidable group of successful women, including Condoleezza Rice and Girl Scouts CEO Anna Marie Chávez, on the banning of that word to describe women.
Their purpose is admirable. We sometimes use the term “bossy woman” when a female takes on a leadership role traditionally held by men. I’ve heard of other women leaders, such as Hillary Clinton described by another B-word that probably means about the same thing.
If you ask any manager, he or she would most likely tell you they manage a team. Some will go as far as to tell you that they’re not a manager, they are a coach. They’re just there to help the team succeed.
There has never been a shortage of sports analogies in the business world. We hit home runs in our presentations. Or it may be fourth and long on a particular sale until we throw up the Hail Mary and score a touchdown!
I live what I believe to be a typical existence of a family man in the suburbs. On a typical weekend, I’ll get together with friends, drink a few beers, and discuss the trials and tribulations of raising kids, saving for college and the latest issues on the school district. It’s pretty uneventful and predictable – until the Irish neighbor down the street shows up with a bottle of Jameson.
An observation I’ve made when we talk about our kids is the illusion of control parents think they have over them. Some parents talk about making them do their homework. I suppose we have the power to make them complete an assignment, but we have little control over getting them to learn. Continue reading The Illusion of Control→
There is an age-old debate about how the toilet paper should roll for most efficient dispensing. One school of thought says the paper should roll up from the bottom while the other says it should roll down from the top.
I intentionally ignore how the roll is configured when I replace it. Theoretically, I get it from the top 50% of the time and from the bottom the same amount of time. I have never once had trouble unrolling this bathroom essential, regardless from where it unrolls. Continue reading Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It→
Outsourcing has become common over the past several years. Nearly every organization deals with outsourcing of some sort.
It is a bit controversial. When companies outsource with offshore workers, we hear complaints of moving our jobs overseas, putting our own domestic workers in jeopardy.
Even when jobs are outsourced domestically, arguments spring up that there is no loyalty from corporations anymore. People argue that organizations summarily discard the loyal employees that got them where they are, replacing them with the lowest bidder.
These are valid arguments, but there is more to it. Companies have some valid reasons for outsourcing.
Most of us have had some exposure to a mentoring program. Many companies implement programs at various levels of formality and to various levels of success.
Some organizations establish formal policies for mentoring. “Herman, you’ll be mentored by Fred”. Other companies make it a strong recommendation but not required. “Find someone you respect and ask them to be a mentor. Learn as much as you can from them.” Continue reading A Mentoring Role Reversal→
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of sitting on both sides of the management desk. I’ve managed a lot of people and in the process, mismanaged some of them. I’d like to think I’ve learned from some of my mistakes.
On the flipside, I’ve been managed and mismanaged by quite a few bosses. I attribute much of my success on the fact that I’ve been managed a lot more than I’ve been mismanaged. I’m not sure which I’ve learned the most from.
I have learned that in the majority of times, when management failure occurs, it roots from one of two fundamental reasons.
We’ve all probably experienced great leadership. Leaders that we enjoyed reporting to, were mentored by and maybe even developed a friendship with over the course of our careers.
You may have also had your share of bad managers. I don’t need to go into detail here. I’ve heard my share of stories about abusive and micro-managing bosses. And I could share a few of my own.
See my great leadership?
Somewhere in-between the great leader and the lousy manager is the medium to poor manager who thinks he or she is a great leader. They wax on about their great accomplishments, how well they treat people and what it is that makes them such great leaders. Continue reading Tell Me Again About Your Great Leadership→