And other shenanigans
I have two items on my desk that have been with me for many moons and which have become useful management tools for me.
One is a children’s board book “Let’s Talk About Whining,” that I purchased on the street in Manhattan for a dollar back in my corporate days. The other is a tattered monkey, taken from one of my kids when its usefulness as slingshot fodder came to an end.
You won’t find either of these in any HR manual or on the syllabus at a business school, but they’ve been as effective as any other training practice I’ve come across.
The whining book is a not-so-subtle reminder that we are focused on fixing problems, rather that bitching and moaning about them. In an empowered, well functioning organization, staff present solutions for critique and blessing, rather than problems to be pawned off. We. Do. Not. Whine.
Similarly, whenever a colleague has tried (deliberately or not) to hand off their problem(s) on me or someone else, I pick up the monkey, give it a shake (it squeals) and remind them, Don’t give me (us) your monkey. Each of us has already got one or more of our own to wrestle with. Usually, we agree to tackle how best to address the issue, and how the staff member can take ownership of the solution. It’s a win-win.
Some may ask, isn’t delegation really dereliction? Shouldn’t a leader solve or tackle all of the problems?
Immersion in the details of your business is appropriate, up to a point. But it is certainly no guarantee of success. More often than not, the opposite is true.
I’ve found it ironic that many who lament the lack of "ownership" among their employees do not set an example for their employees to follow. They may run their business, but do not lead it anywhere.
If you an owner/manager who sweats all of the nitty gritty, you are likely feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and resentful. You are putting more in, and getting less out. You have a job, and…might know exactly how employees feel.
The lesson: Leading is not the same as doing. If you want a business that grows beyond you, then you need to grow all of those involved with it.
If you are immersed in administrivia, you risk missing the bigger picture; maybe there’s a gorilla in your midst.
Great read and so true.
Administrivia. That says it all! I sometimes suspected my "superiors" of finding such joy in micromanaging me because they didn't have the ambition? drive? intelligence? education? to do their own jobs.