Political leaders put country first and party second. Political hacks put party first and country second.
Consider the following two statements:
“This is not about policy, this is not about partisanship, this is about our duty as Americans.”
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
The first statement comes from someone who has shifted from hack to leader. That someone is Liz Cheney, who sounds suspiciously like someone running for President in 2024.
The second statement comes from someone who toyed with being a leader — for once in…
The annual budget process leads to worry, stress and job insecurity for many managers, especially when executives have aggressive demands.
Middle managers with a staff of two people have a budget. Regardless of whether they own it or have it inflicted on them, that budget reflects the cost of their salaries and benefits and the value of what they produce.
Middle and senior managers who don’t manage the process or try to influence it in some way run the risk of ending up with a budget they despise and sometimes even fear. It may have unrealistic goals and objectives, a…
Conflicts abound in a management career. Managers inevitably will have conflicts with staff, bosses, peers, customers and other departments or divisions. Resolutions often depend quite a bit on two key principles in negotiations and interpersonal relations.
I have seen countless management conflicts during four decades in management and management consulting. Nearly every one that comes to mind had some degree of fairness and respect that impacted the level of hostility and whether the conflict had a successful conclusion.
Managers who resolve that they will treat the other party with fairness and respect will increase their odds of settling the conflict…
A strategy is a plan. The concept is that simple. But developing a good plan isn’t simple at all.
Even middle managers have or should have strategies because strategies arise from the rivers of information that flow their way. They have budgets, guidance from bosses, feedback from clients and employees, competitor activities, reports, memos, analytics and much more. This heavy flow of information develops the need for a business strategy.
Leadership style is a dry abstract for young and inexperienced managers. It becomes concrete with time and maturity.
Business experts go into great detail about various leadership styles. The list includes:
But no mature leaders follow just one style. They act according to a combination of styles that reflect their personalities and situations. Personalities reflect a bias toward certain styles. Some situations may demand an emphasis on one style or just a few of them while others require a completely different approach.
An actual division president I knew was quite autocratic…
Managers spend most of their days acting on behalf of six major tasks. According to classical management theory, five of them are planning, staffing, organizing, leading and controlling.
In real life workplaces, self management is a sixth and unique task that demands regular attention. Managers who can’t manage themselves are hardly inspirations or role models for the people they are supposed to lead.
But it isn’t just for the sake of being inspirational or role models that managers must learn how to manage themselves. In a society that is increasingly data-driven, information overload can swamp them, especially when clients, bosses…
Vision precedes action and action precedes achievement in both personal lives and in management.
Consider a simple example. Thoughts are usually visual and verbal. We picture going to work, we tell our spouse we are going to work, we drive to work and we get there. Vision, action and achievement.
This same simple process works in management planning. Any manager who goes through a budget process has to picture how to achieve the numbers and then verbalize that vision. A project manager does the same with the likes of future-focused Gantt charts and other tools. …
Compassionate leaders support employees who struggle with deep personal and family problems.
They see their compassion as the right thing to do. They also understand that their compassion sends an important message to other employees: I care about you. This caring nature creates an emotional bond that motivates employees and gives them yet another reason to keep working for such a leader.
There also is a limit to how far compassion can go in the workplace because leaders have a responsibility to deliver results to the company. Consider the following real-life examples.
A new manager arrives at a business unit…
Managers with good intentions will sometimes make serious mistakes. The memorable ones serve as painful reminders about why they happened and how to avoid doing them again.
Middle managers in particular will make mistakes from simple inexperience that impact only themselves and a small number of other people. Senior managers and especially executives make mistakes with a greater impact because of their greater responsibilities.
The following 10 mistakes come from real-life experiences and observations.
Small and periodic promotions are low risk and easy to handle. A major leap into a much higher position comes with risks. They include ego inflation…
The best middle managers have five work-related skills that make them effective in their jobs. These skills aren’t always instinctive; with the right effort, anyone can develop them continuously.
Developing useful work-related skills is something that comes from both the daily experiences at work and how leaders and managers use their time outside of work. Middle managers who spend at least some time outside of work in ways that grow useful skills will more likely advance their careers. Efforts outside of work include volunteering and self education via books, networking, organizational membership, and certificates or advanced degrees.
Managers who spend…