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: Management

Courage – A Management Virtue

29 March, 2014 (16:08) | Management | By: Administrator

Just finished up reading a book called, Rediscovering Catholicism and unexpectedly found
material for this blog in its contents. Author, Matthew Kelly states the following with regard to courage…

No one is born with courage. It is an acquired virtue. You learn to ride a bicycle by riding a bicycle. You learn to dance by dancing. You learn to play football by playing football. Courage is acquired by practicing courage. And like most qualities of character, when practiced our courage becomes stronger and more readily accessible with every passing day. Virtues are like muscles–when you exercise them they become stronger.

Everything in life requires courage. Whether it is playing or coaching football, crossing the room to ask a girl our on a date or rekindling a love that has grown cold, starting a new business, battling a potentially fatal disease, getting married, struggling to overcome an addiction, or coming humbly before your Got in prayer, life requires courage.

Courage is essential to the human experience. It animates us, brings us to life, and makes everything else possible. And yet, courage is the rarest quality in a human person.

The measure of your life will be the measure of your courage.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda? Does it require courage to be a manager?

Joe Kerr: Knowing my rag tag crew, it takes courage for me just to get up in the morning.

Wanda B. Goode: As the author stated, everything in life requires courage, including being a good manager. When entrusted with authority and responsibility the opportunities to exercise our courage muscles increase. As managers though, when our courage muscles atrophy there are impacts well beyond just us. We could benefit tremendously with increased exercising of courage in the workplace.

Here are a couple of related posts

The Art of Managerial Courage
Today’s Leaders: Compassion Without Courage
Needed: More of Steve Jobs’ Courage
Courage as a Management Skill: Part 4 of 4 Part Series

Punishment: A Teaching Tool?

20 February, 2014 (23:20) | Leadership, Management, Problem Performance | By: Administrator

In her book, The Up Side of Down, author Megan McArdle asserts that punishment is an important part of teaching in cases where people break the rules. In order for it to be successful, though, it must satisfy 4 principles:

  1. Should be immediate and brief (not crippling)
  2. Deviance must be consistently detected and dealt with
  3. No breaks. Punishment for every infraction – “Occasional mercy is not merciful”
  4. Punishment is teaching, not revenge. It should be focused on the positive, on the future.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: So it WAS okay for me to dock a day’s pay from my admin when she brought me warm coffee, right?

Wanda B. Goode: I can see how punishment might be appropriate to address things like procedure violations and other bad behavior. However, as the author points out, mistakes, such as technical errors and judgment errors do not warrant punishment. Rather, they require training, mentoring, additional practice, etc. Punishing can backfire. Certainly if the 4 principles above are not followed, I can see how it could do more harm than good.

Here are a couple of related posts

Effective Punishment in the Workplace
Six Tips for Confronting bad Workplace Behaviors
Return of Traditional Punishment for Bad Behavior
Effects of Punishment on Employee Behavior

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

How to Choose a Manager

28 September, 2013 (19:22) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

In their book, “All In,” co-authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton reference the process that Chic-fil-A uses to select owner/operators. The process can take up to a year. Senior Vice President of Operations, Tim Tassopoulus is quoted as follows:

“Fundamentally, the question we ask before we go into business with an independent owner/operator is, Would we want our children to go to work for this person?

Would your boss want his/her child to work for you, Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Is the kid male or female?

Wanda B. Goode: I hope so. To be honest, I’ve never really looked at it that way. I suppose it makes a whole lot of sense, though. Team members spend 8 or more hours a day on my watch. That’s a lot. They look to me for guidance, and they expect me to help them grow. I think it’s a good question to ask ourselves, to remind us of the importance of caring for our employees.

Here are a couple of related posts

How to Show Your Employees You Care About Them
5 Simple Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees

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.

 
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