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Entries in management (20)


Managing or Leading As The Ringmaster

An age-old discussion has been about the difference between management and leadership. John Kottter, author of Leading Change and an expert on organizational change, probably best defined the two when he said, Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.

With that distinction in mind, where are you spending most of your mental time in your "rings" at work? Efficiency and effectiveness are needed for an organization to run smoothly. A constant focus on getting better results is also needed to stay relevant in today's workplace.

Our tendency when we are juggling elephants is to focus on management-take care of the crises, work through the problems and get things back on track. Today, try spending a little more time asking yourself, "How could we do things better as a department, organization or family?" You may find that those answers take care of some of the "management overload" you are experiencing now.


Being A Wreckless Ringmaster

Susan Arnold was the first person to lead a global business unit at Proctor and Gamble. In an interview she made a powerful statement: Leaders who don't set priorities can burn out their organization.

When I read her statement I got the picture of a ringmaster running wildly around the rings, shoving one act into a ring only to pull it a few minutes later because they think another one will work better. They just keep performers moving in and out of the rings and rarely take time to discuss the "Why" behind the "What." Performers aren't working at their best, and the audience is certainly not pleased with what they are seeing.

If you are a leader or manager, take this test to see how you're doing communicating what's important to your team. Imagine that a complete stranger were to ask each employee to list the top three priorities they see of the organization-and how their current work correlates with it. What would the results tell you?


The Value of Treating Your Performers Fairly

USA Today had a recent article that highlighted a study about the effects of a manager treating their employees fairly. The findings? The practice boosted the financial bottom line of the organization.

In our training programs on Juggling Elephants, we consistently emphasize the need to build trust with those who you are depending on to help you get things done. When people know they will be treated with the same respect as others in the organization, they tend to give a stronger effort toward accomplishing the goals of the organization.

Using a circus analogy, if you are the leader of the trapeze act, don't make the mistake of treating one performer differently than another. The person doing the flips may get the "ooohs" and "aaaahhhs," but if the person putting up the net feels underappreciated.... well, let's just say the act could be in trouble.


Absence of the Ringmaster Makes The Heart...

There was an interesting study done by Timothy Golden of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In a study of over 11,000 employees, he and his team found that employees are less satisfied if their boss is a "teleworker" instead of someone more frequently physically present with them. More specifically, the research showed that employees:

  • Get less feedback
  • Feel less empowered
  • Are less satisifed with their jobs

Even if you are a manager that is onsite with your people most of the time, it is vital to remember that they need your feedback, need to know they are trusted to make decisions and that what they do is important. You may even want to make time in your lineup on a daily or weekly basis to reflect on how you are doing on meeting the needs of those who depend on you. Be specific to each employee (or even family member) and add tasks in your lineup as needed to address any deficiencies.

After all, the last thing you want is to step into the ring and find that all your performers have left!


Think The Self Ring Doesn't Matter?

If you are an employer or manager and may want to discount the need to focus on helping to improve the "self ring" of your employees, consider these statistics from the CDC for every 100 employees:

  • 77 eat less than 5 servings of fruit and vegetables
  • 68 do not have regular physical activity
  • 67 are overweight or obese
  • 34 have high cholesterol
  • 26 have high blood pressure
  • 25 smoke
  • 9 have diabetes
  • 8 have had a heart attack or a stroke
Can you really afford NOT to find ways to help them improve in their self ring?