Blowing Your Own Horn

I had a training manager years ago that never saw her role include any recognition or pats on the back for her employees.  She would often say it was not her job and that we should learn to “blow our own horn.”

Although I prefer that my work speaks for itself, my resistance to blowing my own horn and bragging about my successes probably needs to happen less if I want recognition.  More and more I am noticing that people are no longer waiting for their manager, friends or clients to say something good about them.  They are actively soliciting recommendations for social media sites and asking for referrals.

While there are still many people who will refer you and talk you up without being begged to, they are becoming a rare breed.  It is as if they are waiting to be asked, which is the feedback I received from someone recently when I asked for a referral.  “Oh Jim, I’m so glad you asked, I have been wanting to refer you to someone I work with.”

I of course was thrilled, and asked her to proceed, but part of me wanted to ask why she was holding back.  Why did this person need an invitation?

So while it may be in style now to update your LinkedIn page every hour on the hour with your most current accomplishment, award, or current toot of the horn, I long for the day when a compliment was given without being asked for.

Leaders That Lie Will Lose!

If there is a single personal trait that sends me over the edge, it is the person that lies.  I really don’t care about the little white lie that spares someone’s feelings, but I am talking about the lies designed to cover up and spare someone’s errors.  Here’s a news flash for all those habitual liars out there – we are all human and make mistakes!

I’m a very political person and someone asked me why I don’t run for office.  I said, “I would if the folks could handle the truth.”

Yet, politics and the world of “spin” seems to be the norm in politics, and I know I would struggle with the constant parsing of my words to keep with the talking points.  I might be a breath of fresh air, but I doubt I would win a lot of friends being honest all the time.

I’m a firm believer in the axiom of what goes around comes around, and although for some it seems to take an eternity, I am sure that leaders that lie do eventually lose.  Maybe not a reelection, but lose the argument, the fight, the cause or whatever is most important to them.

On the other hand, I think that leaders that play it fair and are honest win in the end.  By being true to your values and ethics, you will win the war even if you are losing one battle after another.  My wish for those of you that are waiting for this moment is to hang in there a little longer.

Adding to this conversation, please share with us a “crash and burn” or a “succeed and soar” story about someone you know.  (Please remember to change the names)

Accomplishing 2013 Objectives

I find it almost humorous how often I hear people lament over not meeting a particular goal by the end of the year.  And while many of these goals were known at the beginning of the year, little to no focus was given until the last-minute.

Our federal government is a case study in procrastination and only when they are brought to the heat of the moment will they often accomplish the task.  People like to think government holds the copyright on this kind of activity, but it goes on in every size of company, family and individual to some extent.

It was in 1987 that I was introduced to a simple time management concept by the then Franklin Quest Company.  Today they are Franklin Covey and have a whole lot more to offer, but their concept of setting and accomplishing goals remain the same.

If we would all learn to identify the goal, set a due date and communicate early to all those involved we would be light years ahead of where most are today.  While it may sound simple, the reasons for procrastination and avoiding these steps are tied to a lack of motivation or to a simple fear of failure.

I learned a long time ago that procrastinating gets us no where.  Even if we fail to accomplish everything needed to get a job done, by engaging even a single task we are one step closer to finishing.  However, to finish on time requires a little more planning.

In this blog post I want to begin the discussion with identifying the big goals for you and your department this year.  First get them written out with due dates.  Then take each goal and break it down into projects and the projects into task lists.

Take the tasks lists and prioritize the items, and each month, week and day complete and/or delegate items to others.  Remember to give others time to accomplish new tasks while they are working on their previously assigned work.

And lastly, communicate often with everyone involved.  If necessary over communicate so that people understand the priority and due dates.  Most people will accomplish their tasks when they understand how vital their share of the project becomes.

2013 can be one of your most productive years at work and at home.  What are you looking forward to completing this year?

Managing Managers is Hard Work

So often we in the learning and performance field focus management development training on managers managing the performance of staff in general, and yet managers often have managers on their list of staff.  Should a manager manage the performance of a manager differently than they would a non-manager?

I want to explore the reality that managers are regular employees, but are also subjected to a higher standard of performance.  There are a lot of assumptions made on both sides that can lead to some interesting developments if not acknowledged.

I ran across a manager recently that was sharing his thoughts on something he noticed his assistant manager doing, but was unsure if it was a regular or one time activity. 

It seems that this assistant manager is very skilled at their job, but is not someone who can always be counted on to be on the job.  The manager noticed that whenever there is a holiday, especially coupled with a weekend, that the assistant is often getting sick days before, and “drags themself” into work the day before the holiday time begins and often must leave early.  Then the illness becomes full-blown during the holiday, which prevents them from returning the following day.  Over this past Christmas holiday, this person was out of work 5 days and only clocked a single sick day.

The manager feels like he is being taken advantage of, and at the same time cannot prove any of his concerns because he has not documented any of this over the past year.  I suggested that he begin a log this year and if something shows itself he moves to a corrective action discussion.

However, he can’t see this as necessary, “because a manager shouldn’t pull this kind of stunt!”  Well if we are holding managers to a higher standard this may be true of the expectation, but it doesn’t make any difference when you are dealing with a performance issue.

Because I see this conversation going in a couple of directions, I’d like to hear what you are feeling so far.  Where do you sit on managing managers?  What is similar, or different?  Depending on what readers are thinking, I will come back to this topic later in the year and move in the direction you are headed.

Speak up and share your thoughts…………