Management

So what is the difference between leadership and management? In my mind, they are not interchangeable. Leadership is about people. Management focuses on resources and processes. But, the great leaders are adept at both. These posts focus on how leaders can become better managers. My intent is to share some of my ideas on how leaders can better manage.

Idea Men Versus Action Heroes

Initiative Is Rare

“There are plenty of good idea men.  A lot of them are collecting tolls on the thruway as we speak.”  It is a rare individual who can be counted on for ideas and for action.

Over time, as I hired and led teams, I realized that while I loved to have people who were both idea men and action heroes, if I had choose one, I would always choose the action hero.  Creativity is much more common than initiative. Continue Reading…

New Leaders On New Teams: 5 Key Steps

New Leader, New Team

I started my first team from scratch and it took us over two years to hit our stride.  My second team had a mix of experienced and novice members on it.  We took about a year to begin to fire on all cylindars.  The next team was pieced together from other teams.  The individuals were all tenured and successful but most had not worked together before. We hit our stride quickly.

The way a leader launches into leadership with a new team can often determine that team’s trajectory for years to come. Continue Reading…

Dysfunction Is The Issue Not Incompetence

Everyone Has Smart People

Two companies competing in the same market can have wildly different results.  One company will thrive and the other will flounder.  Why?  Does one company have smarter people?  Or better information?

That is unlikely.  There is not a shortage of smart people in business today.  The people available for businesses to hire have never had access to more education and more information.

Brains and skills abound in most companies.  Brains and skills are hired and reinforced through training. Yet some companies lag behind the leaders.  Why?  The answer is dysfunction not incompetence. Continue Reading…

How Leaders Create Email Hell

Email Hell

It’s like a sad Dilbert cartoon. A leader sitting in his office shooting email after email off to people he can see through the glass window of his office. It’s sadder when he has set up a culture on his team that he expects an immediate response to his emails.

Is this a Dilbert cartoon on leadership? Unfortunately it’s not. Over the last few years training and developing frontline leaders from multiple companies and industries, I hear tales about this form of leadership. But it is not really leadership. It is management. Continue Reading…

My Un-Resume: I Didn’t Fire Him Fast Enough

My Un-Resume

He was a borderline narcissist. His reaction to my coaching often approached rage. I hired him for his past performance in another industry. But, I failed to fire him quickly when I realized he was unwilling to change.

Every now and then I add another entry to my un-resume. These are my leadership screw-ups and the lessons I have learned from them. Wisdom does not come through perfection. Wisdom comes through failure. Continue Reading…

Good People Can Be Bad Hires

Good Person - Bad Hire

“Dave, you are not the messiah of wayward sales people.”  My boss had a way of being direct – sometimes with a sting.  She knew me and my desire to help others.  I didn’t like the delivery, but she was right.

The problem was, once again, I was hanging on too tight to someone who was not making the grade.  He was not meant to be in sales, and I refused to accept it.

This is a repost from April 2013

Continue Reading…

Hire – Work Ethic, Humility, Integrity, Maturity

Hiring Character

Skilled workers are available.  In this economy, there is always someone available who can do the job.  Skill and competencies are not hard to find or to hire.

Character is a different story.  As I have worked with oil and gas companies, large integrated medical systems, large regional banks and Fortune 50 companies, I see the same pattern repeated over and over again.  We hire skilled people that we end up firing for character issues.  Continue Reading…

The 4 Word Response To Angry Emails

How Not To Respond

Email is a terrible way to communicate.  There are multiple studies showing about 50% of all emails are misinterpreted.  My experience and your experience probably support that fact.

I have received angry emails from my customers, my peers and my leaders through the years.  They can make me both angry and frustrated.  Unfortunately, the way I choose to respond to those emails usually escalates the emotions involved.

We all have a choice in how we respond to these messages.

Continue Reading…

Focus Requires Elimination

Diffusion of Effort versus Focus

If everything is a priority then nothing is. I sat in hundreds of meetings in the twenty years I spent in the corporate world where we discussed our need to focus.

The irony is we developed new areas for focus at each meeting, but we never eliminated a thing from our to do list. We just kept adding and adding and adding….

Mr. Miagi told young Daniel to “Focus, Danielson.  Focus.”  I heard it and believed!  But the question that The Karate Kid did not answer was – How? Continue Reading…

Mistake Proof Equals Growth Proof

Growth Prevention

All real growth comes from mistakes.  My son did not go from crawling to running a few months later without falling down.  When he learned to walk, he fell after one step and got back up.  He fell after 2 steps and got back up again.  This pattern continued until he was running full speed through hallways of our home.

Every kid learns to walk in close to the same way.  They fail, fail, and fail again until success finally comes.  They are not afraid of mistakes.  But something changes in us as we age.  Our willingness to fail in order to get what we desire wanes.  Fear of making a mistake takes over and we stop growing.

I often say that a tree that stops growing, starts dying.  It is the same with an individual or an organization.  Yet I see people trying to mistake proof their lives or their companies and they wonder why they feel like stuck where they are.

Continue Reading…

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