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

Entries Comments

Category: Team Building

How Can Your Team Reach its Full Potential?

20 March, 2016 (21:21) | Leadership, Management, Productivity, Team Building | By: Administrator

In the sports section of last Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies new general manager, Matt Klentak, said the following:

Players will reach their ceilings when they are playing confidently, when they are in an environment that is loose and that allows them to be the player that they want to be. When you are surrounded by people you know, people you like, people that encourage you, a coaching staff or manager that inspires you, all these things allow players to be at their very best.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Paaansy!

Wanda B. Goode: There are many different management styles, but regardless, if a manager is able to create an environment as Klentak describes, good things will happen.

Here are a couple of related posts

Maximize Your Team’s Potential
5 Steps to Maximize Team Performance

Managers: Lighten Up. Go Easy on the Criticism

12 January, 2014 (23:44) | Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Team Building | By: Administrator

In their book, All In, co-authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton warn managers against imposing their personal preferences on team members’ assignments. It stifles creativity, decreases confidence and accountability, and kills trust. Their rule of thumb is, “If it’s 70 percent as you would have it done, then leave it alone.”

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: 70 percent? I’d do cartwheels if I got 70 percent!

Wanda B. Goode: As managers, we tend to think our way is the right way – the only way. Of course that’s not always the case. Further, getting nit-picky does have the negative impacts mentioned. We need to find the appropriate balance.

Here are a couple of related posts

6 New Year’s Resolutions for Managers
4 Avoidable Ways An Employer Can Alienate A New Employee
How do I tell the boss she’s too hard on a great co-worker?

Accountability is Key

10 November, 2013 (12:27) | Leadership, Management, Team Building | By: Administrator

In their book, “All In,” co-authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton point out the following:

A lack of accountability is one of the most corrosive elements of ineffective work cultures. It shows up in many ways: people failing to take responsibility, missed deadlines, errors in judgment, misunderstandings, overpromising, personal failures, petty disagreements, unfair expectations, and a marshmallow mound of “should have’s.”

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I find that my dysfunctional misfits are much more accountable when I threaten to tear them a new one!

Wanda B. Goode: What the authors say about holding people accountable (that is, fixing the problem above), is spot on as well. It’s not just about negativity and blame.

Holding people accountable is much more than criticizing them. It’s about assigning responsibility with realistic goals, evaluating progress, and making positive course corrections at milestones, removing obstacles, and closing the loop by celebrating successes and honestly and openly evaluating misses.

Of course it takes time and effort to do that. As managers, we are stewards of the culture. It’s up to us to choose to improve by putting in the time and then reaping the rewards for doing so.

Here are some related posts

Building Accountability Through Leadership
One Out of Every Two Managers is Terrible at Accountability
Avoiding Accountability

Are You Really Considering Input from Team Members?

4 March, 2011 (21:34) | Leadership, Management, Team Building | By: Administrator

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni’s writes the following…

“Reasonable human beings do not need to get their way in order to support a decision, but only need to know that their opinions have been heard and considered.”

Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Can’t tell you the last time I encountered a reasonable human being!

Wanda B. Goode: Sometimes we pretend to consider the views of team members. We will openly ask for input with no intention of adopting it. Team members see right through this ploy. We are only fooling ourselves. The team members will not fall in line if their concerns are not considered. They will resent the decision even more.

Unless managers acknowledge team member input, discuss the pros and cons, weigh options, tease out ideas, and occasionally accept the ideas, there is no reason to bother asking for it.

A couple of related posts:

How to Manage Stress in the IT Organization
Ritter Dog and Pony Show Insulting and Alienating

The Appreciations Practice

24 May, 2010 (21:03) | Leadership, Management, Meetings, Productivity, Team Building | By: Administrator

In her book, The Power of Pause, Nance Guilmartin recommends a different way to start off meetings. In one or two sentences, have each meeting attendee answers the question, “What’s one thing you appreciate about yourself, someone in the room, or someone outside the room?” According to Guilmartin this simple exercise of appreciation can transform an organization. In the real-life example provided, once this practice was instituted, team members began showing up on time for meetings and tempers didn’t flare regardless of the topic. They moved through their agendas faster and discovered better ways to do their work. They flat out got more work done.

How about giving it a try Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I’d appreciate it if I could take a pass on this one.

Wanda B. Goode: Sounds like a novel approach to getting people to know and respect each another. When people appreciate one another they are more willing to work together and do what it takes to overcome differences. I think it’s worth a try.

Would anyone else like to give it a shot? If you do, drop us a note and let us know how it works out.

Here are some related posts

The Value of Appreciation
Empowering Individuals with Double A (aka AA)

The Benedict Society on Teamwork

17 February, 2010 (00:07) | Leadership, Management, Team Building | By: Administrator

I really enjoy a good children’s book – Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, anything by Gordon Korman – all great stories with lessons for everyone, not just kids.

Recently I read The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. It’s incredibly well done. It’s laugh out loud funny, scary, suspenseful, sad, creative, intellectually challenging, and much more. The common theme of teamwork weaves its way throughout. The message is that everyone is different. Everyone has different skills, different ways of learning, different ways of solving problems, different ways of contributing. But together, a diverse group can be much greater than the sum of its parts. I’ve become increasingly more convinced of the same – that we must feed our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. If we can manage that and join with others that complement us, we have the makings of a great team.

Joe and Wanda, your thoughts?

Joe Kerr: I do most everything well, so it’s tough for me to relate. I do know one thing for sure, there’s no “I” in team… of course, when you scramble the letters a bit, there is a “me.” Great teams start with great leaders!

Wanda B. Goode: I tend to agree about focusing on improving strengths versus spending a lot of time on weaknesses. I do think care must be taken to avoid extremes. For example, some say that they should not have to create a status report, because they are “technical.” I’d argue that there are some very basic skills that are necessary and should be developed if they are inadequate. You wouldn’t necessarily make the techie the editor of the company newsletter, but s/he should be expected to be able to string a few coherent sentences together. There is also a balance that needs to be struck between encouraging someone to stretch versus pigeonholing them.

Here is a related post
Motivational Managers Concentrate on Strengths Not Weaknesses

Flock or Fleece?

28 October, 2009 (21:19) | Leadership, Management, Productivity, Servant Leadersip, Team Building | By: Administrator

Just started reading the book, Instant Turnaround, by Harry Paul and Ross Reck. Chapter 3 references an email that they received containing the following quote:

“There are two types of leaders: those interested in the flock and those interested in the fleece.”

The authors go on to say…

Effective leaders are those interested in the flock – the people they are leading. They see their role as that of a giver – to get behind their people and support them in ways that bring out their best. Ineffective leaders are interested only in the fleece and couldn’t care less about their flock – they’re takers… The lesson here is to be a giver and show an interest in your flock. If you do, your flock will respond in ways that will guarantee your success as a leader.

Joe and Wanda? Where do your interests lie?

Joe Kerr: I got fleeced at the ball game the other day. Paid $8.25 for a Budweiser. That’s insanity! I was a giver that night, I’ll tell you!

Wanda B. Goode: I like the comparison. If you don’t care about the people, but merely what the people can do for you, team members will quickly see through your act. For some reason, that message gets lost on so many. As the authors write, “Executives and managers can be very slow learners.” The unfortunate result: too many bald sheep roaming aimlessly in the pastures, and a lot of unproductive farms.

A couple of Related posts…

Understanding Leadership: Good to Great

Authentic Leadership and Your “Crucible Story”

Facing the Hard Facts About the Soft Side of Business

18 August, 2009 (20:57) | Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Productivity, Team Building | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

In this 10 minute podcast Karl Edwards shares 3 hard facts about people and describes how to maximize employee engagement.

icon for podpress  Karl Edwards' Management Tip [10:11m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Be a Low-Tech Communicator – Win a Free Gift

20 July, 2009 (20:09) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Team Building | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

It’s hard to believe, but this is the 200th post on the “Joe and Wanda on Management” Blog, and it’s the 30th podcast in our “Management Tips” series. We’re celebrating this significant milestone by offering some give-aways to our readers/listeners.

Listen to Susan Stamm’s management tip, Be a Low-Tech Communicator, and leave a comment for a chance to win either a copy of Susan’s new book, 42 Rules of Employee Engagement. or a Be Good Ventures T-Shirt. 4 lucky winners will be chosen.

Good luck, and thanks for dropping by. Special thanks to Susan for offering up a couple copies of her “engaging” book!

UPDATE: and the Winners are: Scott Fabel, Mike King, Elizabeth, and esben

icon for podpress  Susan Stamm's Management Tip [8:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Idea Theft

13 July, 2009 (23:28) | Leadership, Management, Team Building | By: Administrator

A former colleague shared an all too common experience with me this week. His manager took 100% of the credit for something that he did. She didn’t see the need to hide her theft. In fact she did it right in front of her victim.

Don’t managers realize how crippling this is to morale?

Joe Kerr: That’s management 101. Give credit where it’s due. That’s what I’m all about… another reason my guys love working for me. Of course if I lost a few fingers in a power tool accident I’d still be able to count on my crippled hand the number of ideas that came out of my group last year.

Wanda B. Goode: Managers don’t always do the right thing, do they? Obviously this one felt that the benefit to her embellishment outweighed the detriment. Usually the latter is significantly underestimated. There are certainly worse stunts that a manager can pull, but this one is really difficult to overcome.

Managers should take every opportunity to talk up the accomplishments of team members. Team members love it and the managers get some credit anyway since any work done by the team is a reflection on them.

Here’s a post that explains how to deal with a boss that steals your ideas
My Boss Steals All My Ideas