We spend a great deal of time in our organizations striving to reduce risk and uncertainty. For some tasks that's possible, but for the big issues of strategies and market forces, it's impossible to bend behaviors and responses to fit our scripts. Effective leaders understand they must build teams that recognize uncertainty as opportunity and live to excel in those moments.
The work of developing new managers and setting them up to emerge as our future leaders is mission critical. I've devoted much of my career to this good work and am excited to launch First-Time Managers Academy—a new approach for this important cause.
When evaluating individuals for advancement into management roles, I prioritize character over knowledge, skills, and abilities. The latter are developed with coaching and training, however, by the time they get to you, it's too late to teach character.
In construction, a strong foundation is fundamental to creating a solid, resilient structure. The same applies when it comes to developing new managers. In this article, I share guidance and a framework to help with the development of strong, resilient new managers on your team.
Challenging workplace conversations and even confrontations are inevitable. The key is to be at your best when many might be at their worst. Learn to tie these three together—own your message, manage yourself in the moment, and practice positive persuasion—and you have a bright communication future in front of you.
New manager development in many organizations is ad hoc at best and non-existent at worst. And while short-term pressures often drive sudden decisions to move people into first-time manager roles, the potential for misfiring is high. For managers responsible for identifying and developing new managers, effort expended ahead of time in assessing the individual's fit for the role pays dividends for all parties. Of course, this takes some time and effort ahead of the need. As my old boss would say, "You have to put your back into it."
I fret over feedback poorly provided. I also recognize that not all feedback is worth listening to—a great deal depends upon the source and the motivations of the feedback giver. However, I worry a great deal about the incredible and immeasurable cost of important feedback never given. As Deming suggests, this value is unknown and unknowable. And that worries me.
There are few activities in your management career that offer the high return-on-time-invested (ROTI) than actively engaging and supporting your newly promoted first-time managers. Here are four essential activities to help guide your efforts
There's the practical dimension of leading where we focus on the grind-it-out, get-things-done-through-others heavy lifting. However, there's a higher-order opportunity with this work. The leadership opportunity is truly about the potential to create by working with the ultimate medium: the ideas and efforts of others.
Difficult Decisions and Challenging Conversations—The Stuff of Leadership (and Organization) Success
Difficult decisions and challenging conversations are inextricably linked. You don't get to the big decisions on strategy, structure, or talent without some tough discussions. Yet often, we as leaders fail to model the right behaviors. Here are eight ideas to help you and your team strengthen discussion and decision-making processes.