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Showing posts from January, 2011

Wake Up To An Issue or Problem

Are your people waiting for you to wake up to an issue or problem?

There are many tough things about being the boss, about being a front line supervisor or manager. While it is possible to let many of these tough things slip away and hide, the fact is that they don't just go away AND your people are expecting you to DO something about them.
Do you know what they are? Do you know what to do? Have you asked your people?
IF YOU'RE THE BOSS, find out if anyone on your team is waiting for you to wake up on an issue or problem -- and then wake up!
Partner up on the answers. Implement your solutions. Get moving. Standing still as the boss just isn't an option.
It doesn't have to be your personal solution or your personal self who makes the change -- but as the supervisor or manager you must get in there and get involved.
Your people are waiting.
-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:  Supervising for Success

Delegate, But Stay In Charge

IF YOU'RE THE BOSS, delegate knowing that you never completely give up responsibility for your team's success.

It's up to you to follow-up. It's up to you to make sure that the right metrics are in place to track your success. And it's up to you to reward those who bring about that success.
Delegation is a wonderful thing. It extends your reach. It creates more opportunities. It builds your team. It develops people. But if you're the boss, remember that leadership responsibility continues long after delegating.
When I was at GE the expression heard about this was "you can't just throw it over the fence -- you're still in charge".  I learned that lesson anew when I returned to the life of a supervisor at Whole Foods. 
By all means delegate. Share responsibility and success. That's just good, centered leadership. And keep in mind that if you are the boss, people are still looking to you for ownership, responsibility, and results. They really…

The First One To The Truth

How important is truth to leadership?
Radical, no holds barred, no little-white lies, no spinning truth. . Truth that is presented with the facts and feelings exposed. Numbers that tell the complete story. Stories that don't shade the numbers. Trusting in your people, telling them what exactly is going on in your organization and where you think you are headed will gain you so much equity and trust in itself that it will more than out shine any risk you see associated with it.
Leadership without a hidden agenda is what people expect. How are you at delivering it?
Your team members want the truth. They want to know what you're thinking, what you're planning, and what you have as a strategy for your organization. Have you told them?
When leaders hide the truth, they get into trouble. When leaders spin the truth, they delude themselves far longer than they ever can fool anyone else.
What is your approach as a leader to learning, understanding, and sharing the truth?
It's criti…

Leaders Get Dizzy Spinning The Truth

Leaders who spin the truth are already dizzier than they know.
People can fool themselves, but as I've said before, the truth will always bubble to the top.
Would you rather explain your previous story, or confirm it?
Would you rather be known as someone who tells the unfiltered, ungarnished, unspun truth or as someone who can't really be trusted.
Truth is about trust. Trusting your conversational and communication partners to understand you, to respond with kindness, to ask for clarification when they aren't sure or in agreement.
Building relationships of truth requires truth. No matter how difficult that is sometimes, it is a primary responsibility of leadership.
Remember, leaders get dizzy spinning the truth.
-- Douglas Brent Smith

Are You That Kind of Leader?

How do you know what your people want?
If you assume that they want what you want, you could be wrong. If you assume that they need what you need from a manager or supervisor, you could be missing something critically important.
Different people respond to different styles. While certain aspects of leadership may be universally important -- for instance I think that all leaders do a better job when they develop their clarity, courage, creativity and compassion -- how you interact with each team member also matters, and how they look for you to interact may be different from person to person.
Ask. Find out. Get to know your team members. See what they're looking for in a leader and then determine if that's what they really need.
We sometimes need to manage one person at a time.
-- Douglas Brent Smith

At the Heart of Problem Solving

How can you solve a complicated problem without a clear understanding of both the facts and the feelings of the situation?
The answer is, you likely can't.
Creative, high impact problem solving requires open and radically honest communication.
The analysis could be jarring. Feelings will be exposed and activated. People will occasionally want to hide the facts or hide from the feelings. But unless we completely understand what they are it is incredibly tough to effective deal with them.
Get it all out on the table. Tell it exactly the way we see it. Adjust and change as necessary but get the dialogue going -- unthreatening, unjudging, non-concluding but open.
Once it is safe to say what we see hear and feal, it's safe to start solving the problem.
It's at the heart of complicated problem solving: communication.
What will you do today to encourage people to say what they are really thinking?
-- Douglas Brent Smith