It’s What They Don’t Do that Makes Them Bad

This post was triggered by a great post in the HBR Blog Network by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman. This essence of their article is that most of the behaviors of so called "bad bosses" are, in their words, sins of omission, not commission. In other words, it's more what the boss fails to do that makes him or her a poor manager. Of ten "fatal flaws" their extensive research uncovered, only two (Inept Interpersonal Skills and Bad Judgement) were of the commission type. The authors go on to say … [Read more...]

Your Dance Between Manager and Coach

The trend these days is clearly for managers to take on more of a coaching role. But they still need to be the manager! These are two different roles. As a manager, you have stewardship for results in your area of operation. You ensure that your people are performing at an acceptable level and are supporting the organization's larger strategy. As a coach, you help your employees achieve their required performance. You assist them, facilitate their thinking, and help them be more effective in … [Read more...]

Step into Your Leadership Strengths

I was working with a coaching client recently, "unpacking" the results of his Leadership Circle Profile (360˚ feedback assessment). While his profile was very positive–he is doing well as a leader–I was struck that on several less desirable factors (e.g. Passive, Critical, Arrogance) he scored himself high while his employees saw him as low, not demonstrating these factors very often.   What does it mean when we as leaders see ourselves one way and our staff another? And when this … [Read more...]

Are You the Expert, the Doctor, or the Process Guy?

In his short, wonderful book, Helping, Edgar Schein presents us, whether we are a professional  coach or a manager playing a coaching role, with three ways to respond to a request for coaching/mentoring help (or, for that matter, advice with a problem on the job). We can be: an expert resource who provides information or steps in and solves the problem, more like a doctor who prescribes a solution for the client to follow, or a process consultant who works to get the client to come up … [Read more...]

Praise their Process Over their Competence

The name and work of Carol Dweck keeps coming up in discussions among experts in cognitive development. I wrote a review of  her important book, MindSet. In it she talks about two fundamental mindsets in people (and, therefore, of course, in employees): Fixed and Growth. Someone with a Fixed mindset believes they can't get any better, improve their skills, or turn around a failure. Growth mindset people believe the opposite. Therefore, they are much more open to feedback, to learning from … [Read more...]

Every Manager a Coach

A recent study reinforces the value of coaching by managers throughout the organization. Here are a few key points it makes: Business results were 21% higher in enterprises where senior leaders very frequently make an effort to coach others. This increased when organizations had a culture that supports coaching and makes managers accountable for engaging in it. Despite this, only 11% of senior leaders are "true believers" in the value of coaching and having their managers … [Read more...]

It’s the Same Stuff, Even at Google

Google, I'm sure you will agree, is a business built on metrics and analytics. Well, they recently completed an comprehensive, rigorous internal study about what made great managers…at Google. The New York Times article says that Google wanted to build better bosses. Now, that certainly strikes a positive chord for me and boy does it sound familiar too…:-) After all the sexy compilations and machinations of the data, the company came up with eight elements. They called them the "Eight Habits … [Read more...]

We’ll Never Really "Solve" Organizational Life

In his newly revised book on change, Beyond the Wall of Resistance, my colleague Rick Maurer includes an interview with author/consultant Geoffrey Bellman. Bellman's response contains some wisdom that helps us all understand the truth about thriving in organizations (and, for that matter, in life). At the base of it all, we're all a bunch of naked human beings. Down underneath it all, in the game we never talk about–the primary game–we're all down there reaching, grasping, clinging, lifting, … [Read more...]

Cause, Not Blame, Produces Better Performance Feedback

I subscribe to Alan Weiss's thought provoking monthly email newsletter called Balancing Act. In his latest issue, he offers the following tip: Here’s a quick secret for getting along and playing nicely in the sandbox: When something goes amiss, don’t look for guilt, look for cause. Focus on correcting the situation and not blaming anyone. The former develops support, the latter enmity.While he mentions it in a more general context of human relations, it is a good reminder for managers whose … [Read more...]

Leadership Coaching Has Really Arrived

A recent article on report summarizes a study on the prevalence and impact of coaching on the results that individual managers generate. The research surveyed CEO's, HR Managers and other executives at over a thousand US and international companies, roughly 40% of which had more than 1000 employees and $500 million in revenue. Here are a few of their findings: 52% of companies currently have business coaching programs in place and 37% plan on adding such programs in the … [Read more...]