Influence thinking, don’t control results. That almost reads like a Jedi mind trick. But even the Jedi were susceptible to trying to control outcomes. The concept is something I’ve read numerous times in leadership thought articles and I’ll admit the case of proof is strong. Leaders that use influence get results that far outreach and outlast leaders that use control. Think about Dr. Martin Luther King and Jesus compared to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. I relate this concept to a common trap in business management; trying to control results. I see it happen with micro-management or by not delegating properly. The person that is trying to control the results or outcome may not even realize what they are doing. It’s evident to me that one of the root causes is a lack of trust in the other individuals to complete a task. In management, I aspire to create a
Employee development can be easy to overlook during the flow of normal business activities. I’m guilty of this as much as anyone because I get so busy running the business that giving thought to employee development becomes secondary. I’ve seen many managers compensate for this by compartmentalizing employee development into training. That’s easy. Set aside some training dollars. Set aside a week. Go develop your skills. But employee development is better executed as an *ongoing* part of a business rather than an event. Training and skills enhancement is a piece of employee development, but the bigger whole is in the day-to-day run. When I made this connection I started to think about how I conduct the day-to-day departmental operations in my group. Am I developing employees? Do I create an environment that promotes and supports development? Managing business employees has parallels to managing sports teams. Sports coaches prepare their players
“I don’t know” There they are. Three words that can be hard to say for many professional workers and managers. But why is that? Do they make us vulnerable? Do they expose us to judgement? They can be interpreted as a sign of weakness and a threat to our credibility. After all, we are expected to be subject matter experts, leaders, and managers. Can we admit that we don’t know the answer? During some recent reading, 13 Fatal Errors that Managers Make by Steven Brown, I found this concept linked to the idea of personal accountability. Brown’s thought is that an important aspect of accountability is being able to admit that we are not all-knowing. He points out that a mature manager will admit that they don’t know the answer to a problem/question and then recommend potential sources to find the answer to the team. In this way they help
It’s Thanksgiving week and I’m thankful for another year of work and learning. During my reflection this year for what I’m thankful for, I thought about what makes life in IT better. What are those things that help IT perform to their best ability? What are those things that help an IT group provide great service? So here’s a list you can gobble-up. It’s stuffed with good fillings. If you’re not in IT then give it to your IT guy/gal. Hopefully it won’t give them indigestion. IT is better when: employees focus on service and solutions over process and policy – This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have policies and procedures. But as a matter of focus, IT is better when the goal of the employee is to provide service and solutions. For more discourse on this topic read What do you want to be known for? employees move beyond thinking
Can you feel it? One of the aspects of my job that I love to describe and that motivates me is that I “feel the business”. I feel the impact of administrative dollars to the financial income statement. I feel the impact of delivered services by talking to sales executives and customer service management. I read customer requirements and customer complaints. I look for opportunities to talk to positive minded employees that are making an impact in the organization and to our customers. Feeling the business means understanding how customer requests are turned into finished product. It means understanding how my specific job impacts the bottom line. It means understanding how a colleague’s job impacts the bottom line. I use the imagery of ‘feeling’ with employees during coaching sessions and reviews. Feeling the business transforms a job to a new level. It involves the employee, creates commitment, and influences better performance.