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: Workplace Dynamics

Incivility in the Workplace

25 April, 2011 (17:27) | Leadership, Management, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

While paging through my Alma Mater’s alumni business magazine, I came across a story about faculty member, Christine Porath’s book, The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It.

Apparently, via surveys, Porath has found that 96 percent of people have experienced incivility in the workplace. She also did some work to quantify the dollar impact of the bad behavior. In a study with Cisco she deduced that if a mere one percent of employees experienced workplace incivility, the cost would be $12 million in lost work time and employee departures.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Where there are people, there is incivility. I just happen to be better at it than most. Fight fire with fire!

Wanda B. Goode: I actually agree with Joe’s first statement, but that doesn’t mean we should throw up are hands in defeat. We ought to do our best to limit the bad behavior. I haven’t read Christine’s book, but I’ve read Nick McCormick’s Acting Up Brings Everyone Down which broaches the same subject. There is definitely a better way. It is interesting that efforts are underway to put a dollar value on the resulting lost productivity. Not sure that will be enough though. Unless there is a direct cause and effect link between incivility and lost dollars, I fear there won’t be much of a priority placed on improving.

Here’s are some related posts…

Executive Lecture Preview: Managing Workplace Incivility
Cost of Workplace Incivility
Workplace Incivility on the Rise: Four Ways to Stop It

Get Hard Results Through Soft Skills

30 July, 2010 (21:25) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

In this ten minute Management Tips Podcast, Susan Cramm, president of Valuedance, talks about how to build a coalition of support in order to achieve great results.

Social Media Policy Guidelines

25 February, 2010 (22:50) | Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

In this podcast Michael Specht, owner of Inspecht, provides tips for managing social media in the workplace. Listen up!

icon for podpress  Michael Specht's Management Tip [8:23m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Most Organizations Operate Like Enron

21 December, 2009 (22:31) | Leadership, Management, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Here’s another quote from Bill George’s book, 7 Lessons for Leaders in Crisis.

Sadly, most organizations operate more like Enron than J.P. Morgan. Instead of building an organization of truth tellers, many leaders surround themselves with sycophants who tell them only what they want to hear, rather than sharing the stark reality. Without a culture of openness and candor, leaders are highly vulnerable to missing the signals of big problems ahead. By the time they acknowledge how deep their problems are- or outsiders like government agencies, consumer watchdog groups, or the media do it for them – it is too late.


Joe Kerr: Always knew they had good memories, but never knew sick elephants were such ass-kissers. This really isn’t an issue for me though, because I don’t listen to anything my direct reports say. I do like it when they laugh at my jokes though. But they laugh because I’m funny.

Wanda B. Goode: That’s kind of depressing, but I can’t disprove Bill George’s comment. I suppose the good news is that you can create a culture of truth if you so choose. Start with yourself. Your team members are watching every move you make. Admit your mistakes. Reach out for advice from others. Publicly recognize and reward acts of truth and punish the opposite.

Here are a couple of related posts.

Thank Employees that are Willing to Stand Up Instead of Shut Up

Are Your Employees Telling You What You Want to Hear?

Illuminate the Negative

10 September, 2009 (22:16) | Leadership, Management, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Earlier this week I listened to one of Greg Voisen’s podcasts over at Inside Personal Growth. He interviewed David Corbin, author of Illuminate: Harnessing the Positive Power of Negative Thinking. David offered the following approach toward negativity…

Face it – Acknowledge it. Don’t run from it. Put your face right into it.
Follow it – Find out all the causes/enablers of the negativity
Fix it – Sometimes fixing is just minimizing its effect before eliminating it.

Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I’ve got my own approach that has served me quite well. Fight It or F#ck it. Sometimes it’s worth knocking it out. Other times it makes sense to just let it go.

Wanda B. Goode: We can certainly learn and grow from confronting and overcome obstacles as opposed to ignoring or sweeping them under the rug. To Joe’s point, there may be times where it makes sense to ignore set backs and negativity.

Here are some other thoughts on handling negativity.

Dealing with Workplace Negativity

Dealing with Negativity

5 Ways to Deal with Negativity

The Snippy Co-worker

5 August, 2009 (21:25) | Leadership, Management, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Have you ever dealt with a snippy co-worker – the type that acts upset when you seemingly encroach upon her territory or responds abruptly and incompletely to a request for information? How do you deal with a person like that Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: No one can out snip Joe Kerr, and if there is any intimidating going on, it’ll be by me. I do welcome an occasional challenge so I can show ‘em who’s boss.

Wanda B. Goode: This is a tough one. The way I prefer to deal with a grumpy co-worker is to talk to him – “You seem upset about something. Would you like to talk about it? Is there anything I can do to help?” Usually this not only diffuses the current situation, but helps pave the way for a smoother relationship going forward.

I think the worst thing to do is to avoid snippy employees. That’s their wish. It gives them the green light to continue their dysfunctional behavior which makes your job and the jobs of others more difficult. So, if you can’t get up the nerve to confront the crabby co-workers or doing so simply doesn’t work, by all means do not let it impact the way you do your job. Keep “encroaching” on their turf and keep asking them questions. Odds are good that eventually they will realize that you are not intimidated and they’ll no longer put up such a fuss. If by chance things escalate, make sure to inform your manager.

Here’s a similar post – Suffering Due to a Moody Co-worker

Layoff Survivor Sickness

22 June, 2009 (23:14) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

There is an article in the July, ’09 issue of Toastmasters Magazine that addresses the difficulties experienced by those that survive job layoffs. Apparently there is a name for it… Layoff Survivor Sickness.

Those that are left behind frequently experience guilt, insecurity, anger, and fear. Not all that surprising, the typical management approach is to ignore the situation resulting in “plummeting productivity, more concentration-related errors, and increasingly listless and risk-averse employees.”

What’s the solution? Again, somewhat obvious, is frequent and honest communication. Management should explain the reasons why decisions have been made and field employee questions. Layoff survivors (including managers) should be encouraged to vent their feelings both in one-on-one meetings with their managers as well as in group settings.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Buck up and get back to work! You’re lucky to have a job, and if you don’t quit your whining, you may not have it for long… That’s the softer side of Joe Kerr.

Wanda B. Goode: While most companies struggle with communications during good times, they seem to clam up even more during bad times… not good for the many that are left holding the bag. In difficult times, those managers that are comfortable with the softer skills like listening and empathizing, are those that will be most successful.

Here are some related posts

Ombuds Can Help Minimize Effects of Layoffs

Overcoming Layoff Survivor Sickness

Look Out for Your UGRs

15 April, 2009 (23:25) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

What are UGRs? Why should you be looking out for them? Listen to this ten minute Management Tips podcast with international speaker and author Steve Simpson to find out.

icon for podpress  Steve Simpson's Management tip [9:52m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

It’s Just a Business

27 March, 2009 (01:23) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

L.J. Smith (former Philadelphia Eagles tight end) criticized Coach Andy Reid during a radio interview today. One of his quotes was similar to the following…

“There were a lot of things that I felt should have been handled differently… You know, there were a couple of times where Coach (Andy Reid) should have came up to me and told me what was going on and how he was looking at things and how he was handling situations and what direction he wanted to go, but it didn’t happen like that.”

Football fans may recall that Andy also got some flack during the season for not even telling 10 year veteran, Donovan McNabb (or anyone else on the team for that matter) that he was being benched. He let his assistant do the dirty work.

I came across a Philadelphia sports blog that talked about the interview. It was interesting to read the comments on the post. Many had a similar theme – that L.J. should stop his whining because the NFL is just a business. The implication, of course, is that there is no room for communication in business.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m a business man. I say something when there is a need to do so. My people care about their jobs. They don’t want to be bothered with the other stuff. I keep them informed on a need-to-know basis.

My company actually has an open door policy, which is so silly. I don’t recall anyone ever making use of it. My guys just know that no news is good news.

Wanda B. Goode: It’s tough for managers to overcome the fear of communicating. We fear the difficult conversations. What makes matters worse is that during trying times, instead of communicating more, we tend to communicated less. When will we learn? Almost every problem in the business, or in life for that matter, is caused by a lack of communication or miscommunication of some sort. We need to suck it up and just do it, and we need to do it better.

This post nets it out well – Poor Communication = Risky Business

Here’s another – The Impact of Communication on Performance

‘Tis the Season

26 December, 2008 (17:31) | Leadership, Management, Productivity, Team Building, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

It’s the time of year for giving and sharing. I’m reminded of Rule #12 in Susan Stamm’s book, 42 Rules of Employee Engagement, Sharing Builds Community, which relays the importance of being connected. Susan points out that the popularity of the many social networking sites are testament to our need to connect. These “virtual” connections, though, don’t seem to be the same as the real thing.

Joe and Wanda, how do you promote sharing and connection in the workplace?

Joe Kerr: I share with my employees that they better do their job or I’ll sever their connection to the company! I don’t care if they stand on their heads in a bubble while they do their work as long as it gets done.

Wanda B. Goode: The first step is for the manager to share. Share what’s going on in the company, the business unit, the organization. Share with the team what you are doing. If the manager does not share and the team members don’t see the benefits of doing so, there’s not much hope of building a sharing culture.

Team meetings are also a great forum for sharing. Allowing team members to describe their assignments and associated challenges sparks interest and dialogue which helps build relationships. Once team members are comfortable with one another, sharing seems to come naturally.

To learn more about this rule and the other 41 in Susan Stamm’s book, click here.

Check out this post at the Managers Realm on 5 Ways to Create a Culture of Sharing.