Joe and Wanda on Management

Joe Kerr and Wanda B. Goode, two characters from Nick McCormick’s book, “Lead Well and Prosper,” dispense their management wisdom

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Category: Leadership

Managers: Beware the Ego

14 August, 2013 (22:05) | Leadership, Leadership Development, Management | By: Administrator

In their book, The High Engagement Work Culture, David Bowles and Cary Cooper compare ego to a psychological virus. Below is an excerpt.

  • Ego requires a human host, which it “infects.”
  • Ego in excess can be deadly to its human host.
  • Even when not deadly, it can and does degrade human life and drain it of many of its joys.
  • It is able to hide so that its host has no idea that he/she is “infected.”
  • When discovered, ego can mutate so that it is once again hidden.
  • Ego makes its host defend it and ensure its continued existence, even when that is against the host’s best interest.
  • Ego has a deep “bag of tricks” to stay invisible, and to maintain itself.
  • Like with a virus, cases can be very mile and almost symptom-free or severe and life-threatening.

They maintain that ego drives worker disengagement. Here’s their description of an ego driven boss from hell.

  • She takes credit for projects that you started and carried out.
  • He never hires people smarter than himself.
  • He “licks up” and “kicks down” in the organization structure.
  • She cannot take criticism.
  • He is a perfectionist and one can never “do it well enough” for him.
  • She never allows anyone else to make any significant decisions in her area.

Sound familiar Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I know where this is going… “Leggo my ego.”

Wanda B. Goode: I think most of us can relate to the above. We certainly don’t like bosses that behave that way. We’ve witnessed the damage they inflict. We need to be careful that we don’t pull the same stunts ourselves.

Here are a couple of related posts

How to Keep Your Ego in Check
Management Wisdom: A Healthy Ego or Deadly Blind Spot

Dealing with the Unwilling Worker

26 July, 2013 (21:16) | Leadership, Management, Problem Performance | By: Administrator

Just had a banner experience at my local Walmart yesterday. I took my car in to the tire and lube shop for a quick tire rotation and oil change. I won’t go into the details, but I will say this, “I’ve never seen people work so hard to avoid work.” Two hours later, I left the store with the job half complete.

Ever had a similar experience on the job Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Last Friday one of my guys argued with me for 30 minutes about how he didn’t have time to do his status report. Does that count? After our chat I had him do his status report and mine too!

Wanda B. Goode: This type of childish, often passive-aggressive behavior is not uncommon in the workplace. There are typically reasons behind it. Some of them may even be rational. If you don’t know the reasons, ask. Either swiftly address them if appropriate, or remove the person. Do not allow the cancerous behavior to continue. It will poison the workplace.

Here are a couple of related posts

Can You Rehabilitate a Passive Aggressive Employee?
Dealing with Passive Aggressive Colleagues

Managers, Are You Learning from Experience?

29 June, 2013 (15:54) | Leadership, Leadership Development, Management | By: Administrator

In her book, “Leading So People Will Follow,” Erika Andersen has an interesting quote about the implications of not learning from experience…

“When someone doesn’t learn from experience, it feels dangerous to us: our deepest instincts tell us this means he or she is more likely to lead us all to destruction. We retract our faith and belief and our will to follow, and we try to figure things out for ourselves, as individuals, rather than together with our leader and our teammates. We lose the power that arises from unity.”

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Of course I learn from my experiences, but the real payoff is when I see others learn from my experiences. I’m a walking University, and class is in session daily!

Wanda B. Goode: Whenever we march down the same silly paths, whether due to our inability to learn or the inability of other managers above us to do so, it can be incredibly demoralizing. We need to find a way to snap out of it by responding in new and creative ways.

Here are a couple of related posts

Learning from Experience and Success in Business
The Nature of Good Leadership

Managers, Lead from Behind

29 May, 2013 (22:01) | Leadership, Management, Servant Leadersip | By: Administrator

In his book Tipping Sacred Cows, Jake Breeden provides some leadership advice…

Perhaps you were attracted to leadership because you wanted to stand and deliver inspiration to a room full of people. That may be your need. But true leaders put the needs of their people and their organizations above their own. Before you give that fiery speech to your team, ask if they need it. If you feel the need to motivate some people, maybe you can volunteer to coach a youth sports team. Sometimes leaders are better leading from the back of the room. As Nelson Mandela said, “Put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I must admit, that I am a reluctant leader. I wasn’t so much attracted to leadership as leadership was attracted to me.

Wanda B. Goode: I’m with Mandela, although leading from behind has gotten a bad rap recently with President Obama’s adopting the strategy as part of his foreign policy. It is being characterized as weakness. Not sure if this is a fair assessment or not, but in general, it does appear we mistakenly favor bold, brash leaders that tend to be more bluster than substance.

Here are a couple of related posts

First Time Manager? Put the Spotlight on Others
Leadership: Courage, Attitude, and Behavior
Leadership in Action: Putting Others First

First Step in Managing Change

5 May, 2013 (22:45) | Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

Bill Matthies, CEO of Coyote Insight, explains the importance of knowing your people and assessing their ability to change. Listen to this 10 minute podcast to find out more.

icon for podpress  Dave [9:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Managers, Decide!

17 April, 2013 (21:22) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

In his book, Tipping Sacred Cows, Jake Breeden mentions the importance of being decisive.

Leaders should reflect on a decision and then make it. There are a dozen reasons to delay a decision, and if you want to find a reason to hold off, you will. But delaying decisions is a cop-out strategy.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Either reflect on a decision briefly and make it, or just ask your wife!

Wanda B. Goode: One common delay tactic is to continue to request additional information. More facts can always be gathered. Not a good practice, though. Much better to follow Jake’s advice.

Here are a couple of related posts

How to Be More Decisive
Here’s a Tool to Help You Make Quick Decisive Decisions

Listen Up Managers. Don’t Forget to Change Your Oil

23 March, 2013 (14:50) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

In his book The Supermanager, Greg Blencoe uses the analogy of changing the oil in your car to demonstrate the importance of listening to team members.

Listening to employees to uncover problems is a lot like changing the oil in your car. If you don’t change the oil, problems will begin to build up until the dreaded day comes when you are stuck on the side of the road after your car has broken down and you have to call a tow truck.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I go with the synthetic oil, which means I just pretend to listen, and I don’t have to do it as often!

Wanda B. Goode: Listening is not just good for preventative maintenance. It’s also a great source of new ideas. You can’t be selective though. Some manager will wait to solicit feedback until they are in a jam. Once a car breaks down, the oil change won’t help.

Here are a couple of related posts

Active Listening is an Effective Listening Skill and Strategy
Effective Listenting: 10 Barriers and How to Overcome Them
The Practice of Successful Managers

Are You a Manager or a Host?

24 February, 2013 (17:53) | Leadership, Management, Productivity, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

I’m not a bit fan of the “reality-based” shows that litter the television programming landscape these days, but recently I stumbled upon a show from which I was able to glean some value.

The show is called, “Bar Rescue.” Each episode, expert bar consultant Jon Taffer, helps revitalize an underperforming bar. In the episode that I watched, Jon asks the manager of the bar, “Are you a good manager?” Naturally, the manager answers, “Yes, I surely am.” Jon then asks the manager a series of fundamental questions about the performance of the business, and the manager is not able to answer any of them.

Jon then loudly proclaims, “You’re not a manager, you’re a host.” Followed by, “You are a failure.” Naturally this doesn’t go over too well with the manager, but in the end, the manager comes to realize that he has abdicated the core of his responsibilities and he accepts and embraces Jon’s tutelage.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I’m not a manager or a host. Rather, I’m a leader. As a leader, I do wear many hats, to include my manager hat, and yes, even my host hat. Further, no hot-shot consultant knows my business better than I do.

Wanda B. Goode: One of the questions I’ve been asked by my manager in the past is, “Is your team better this year than they were last year?” After answering with the obligatory, “Yes,” I got hit with the follow-up, “How do you know?”

If you don’t have performance measures (and yes, every team can have performance measures), how can you prove you are better?

Here are a couple of related posts

The Importance of Metrics
How to Measure Team Success
Measuring What’s Important as a Manager
Your Team’s Success Begins with Good Goal Setting

Don’t Play the Blame Game

12 January, 2013 (18:30) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

Last Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer had an article written by Larry Platt about Philadelphia Eagles former coach Andy Reid. For those of you that are not aware, Andy got fired after the team struggled through a dismal 4 and 12 season.

The premise of the article is that Andy “Did something rare in America: He took responsibility.” He never called out his players. Eagles fans were incensed by his weekly news conferences where he parroted the familiar refrain, “That’s my responsibility… I need to do a better job.” Andy never wavered in his commitment to take ownership of the problems.

Truth be told, the performance of the Eagles was Andy’s responsibility. He was the head honcho, responsible for player personnel as well as the head coach. He was unable to improve upon his team’s lackluster 8 and 8 record last year, so he was fired.

But, Andy didn’t play the blame game, which is so easy to do. The author points out that blaming others has become routine. In fact, it’s even encouraged and often rewarded. He goes on to make the argument that we need more managers to take the high road. We need more buck stoppers and fewer buck passers.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I almost stopped a buck dead this year – an eight pointer. Unfortunately, my lousy gun misfired.

Wanda B. Goode: Amen. Leadership is tough. It’s summed up in another quote from the article. “Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”

Here are a couple of related posts
Great Leaders Don’t Blame, They Serve
Ten Signs of a Leader in Denial

Empathy in the Workplace

16 December, 2012 (21:24) | Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Personal Development | By: Administrator

In a 2007 white paper on Empathy in the workplace, researchers with the Center for Creative Leadership share results of a study they performed. It indicates that manager empathy is positively related to overall job performance. The paper also references a 2009 study which claims that 50% of managers are seen as poor performers or failures in their jobs. So why not teach managers to be a little more empathetic?

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Well, I’m a terrific manager, so either I’ve learned to successfully compensate for my lack of empathy, or I’m incredibly empathetic and don’t even realize it!

Wanda B. Goode: Might as well try something! Selling the advantages of the softer side of management is tough, but this study should help as it points to a positive correlation to hard results.

Here are a couple of related posts
Sales Managers as Empathetic Leaders
Management Skills: Three Ways to Build Empathy
Empathy Can’t be Taught but it Can be Practiced