Monthly Archives: March 2019


Great Managers Are Also Great Teachers

As managers, we wear many hats, including delegator, commander, disciplinarian, leader, decision maker, facilitator, and role model.  Great managers, however, are also teachers, providing instruction and insights to their staff on topics such as: Job specific skills Navigating company politics Leadership skills Interpersonal skills Professional growth and career advancement Life skills, when asked for personal advice Incorporating teaching into your management style has many advantages for your company, your staff members, and you personally. Regarding the advantages to the company, teaching your staff is a triple win.  First, improving the skills of your staff can enhance company morale, boost productivity, increase quality, and reduce employee attrition.  Second, as your staff becomes more highly skilled, due to your tutelage, they increase the company’s bench strength as new projects and challenges arise.  Third, you may be the manager, but you are still an employee. Hence, the more you learn by teaching, the more valuable you become to the company in regard to future promotions. Regarding the advantages to your staff, they’re learning new job skills, gaining insights on navigating their professional careers, have the benefit of working in a nurturing environment, and are enhancing their future professional marketability. The advantages to you personally include: You learn by teaching. The reason you learn when teaching a topic is because students’ questions cause you to consider things from different perspectives, this giving you deeper insights into the topic/subject you are teaching.  Also, teaching makes you break down tasks into steps so you can explain them to the [...]

By | 2019-02-21T23:07:18+00:00 March 28th, 2019|

Leadership Requires of Vision and Articulation

When some people see or hear a statement that resembles the title of this column, they often say something to the effect of “Ya, ya , ya, I know, to be good a leader you must have a vision and then communicate with others. Bla bla bla." The reason for this, dare I say, uninspired attitude toward defining leadership as a combination of vision and articulation is twofold.  First, is because it seems to be stating the obvious. Second, is because vision and articulation is only part of the leadership story.  Let’s discuss these reasons one at a time. Regarding leadership, vision provides the direction of where you want people to go.  Articulation is the process of communicating your vision to others. If done correctly, this communication is much more than just stating what you are thinking and how you would like things to be.  The problem is that doing it correctly is very much harder than it looks. At its best, this communication is a combination of the following: Clearly defining the current state: This tells those you are trying to lead, what you are leading them from. Clearly defining the end state: This tells those you are trying to lead, where you want them to go. In essence, this is your vision of the future. Providing compelling rationale: This describes the “why” behind the “what”. This provides the reasons that your vision is worthwhile to pursue. Facilitate transference:  This is the process, through your words, passion, body language, tone, and stature, [...]

By | 2019-02-21T22:57:25+00:00 March 21st, 2019|

Embracing the Human Age

On December 31, 2016 I wrote a post entitled Emergence of the Human Age, and that it is only beginning to emerge. It was a brief post about what I saw as a new age where people will thrive enabled by the 2nd Machine Age. That humans will be liberated to be human again, freed from the shackles of the Industrial Age, tapping into uniquely human creative potential atop the digital platform. That digital technologies are eliminating work and routinized decisions heretofore the domain of humans, it is inevitable. And this is good. It is freeing humans to be human again. The Execution Engines of value creation systems are being digitally integrated and automated augmented with embedded artificial intelligence, diminishing the need for humans to do this work. And this is good, it is freeing humans to do what we uniquely can do that machines cannot, and that is to create, to innovate. This means that competitive advantage lies not in the Execution Engine, but in the Innovation Engine, fueled by the human mind. The digital platform is enabling exponential growth in human productivity. This is a complete shift from Industrial Age thinking where the status quo was dominant, the Execution Engine was king, where innovation threatened smooth running of the machine. Innovation was highly controlled, compliance with process and procedure ruled the day. Recently I had another epiphany, that we are evolving into an age of continuous transformation, where flexibility in the Execution system across the value creation system is king, fully automated, [...]

By | 2019-02-21T17:35:53+00:00 March 15th, 2019|

Management’s Decision Shades of Grey

Experienced managers know that most business decisions can’t be judged as simply right or wrong or as black and white.  Most of the decisions made in a management capacity, particularly if the issue deals with employees, risk minimization, future planning, sales forecasting, are more art than science. There is an old expression that says “You gain the experience you need to effectively deal with a specific situation about fifteen minutes after the situation happens.”  A second old expression deals with the experience needed for proper decision making is “Hindsight is 20/20.”  The reason that these expressions have endured the test of time is because they’re true and provide various insights, including the following: When making an important decision, try to sit back and reflect on your potential actions, rather than simply shooting from the hip and making a quick decision. Seek out the advice of your peers or more experienced managers who have previously dealt with that type of situation. When you make a decision, both good and bad, make a mental note of the situation, your decision, and the ultimate outcome. This personal reflection will help you: Grow as a manager Reduce the chance that you will make the same mistake twice Increase the chance that you will be successful more than once Provide you with examples to use when mentoring less experienced employees Help you grow as a person, because very often interpersonal lessons learned at work can help you grow personally Another thing to consider when making a business decision [...]

By | 2019-02-21T22:54:44+00:00 March 14th, 2019|

Managers as Mentors

As a manager, I believe you are not only responsible for the well being of your department and its role within the company at large, but you are also responsible, if not legally then morally, to help the members of your staff grow professionally, and in some cases personally.  As their leader, you are a figure of authority in their life. They may love you. They may hate you. Hopefully, they respect you. If you are a history buff, you may be interested to know that the origin of the word “Mentor” is from Greek mythology. Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who asked him to nurture his foster brother when he left for the Trojan War. As a result, the word “mentor” historically came to mean a trusted advisor. Of course, not all of your staff members may want you as a trusted advisor, but for those that will listen, it could be of advantage to you both. The best managers I had in my career also acted as mentors and teachers to me, and other staff members. They taught me many valuable lessons related to technical topics, office politics, management processes, such as writing a good performance review, making presentations, and in some cases to be a better person, both professionally and personally. Understand, that as a manager, being a good mentor to your staff members is not totally altruistic. It’s also good for your department, your company, and you personally. Let’s begin with how mentoring your staff is good for [...]

By | 2019-02-21T22:52:18+00:00 March 7th, 2019|