Management Skills: Be Trustworthy

Gravity keeps the earth rotating perfectly around the sun. If that gravitational force became any weaker, we would drift away from the sun forever. Trust is the gravity that keeps our relationships in orbit - including work relationships. The first step to building trust is to trust others. Here's how I think we complete step … Continue reading Management Skills: Be Trustworthy

Management Skills: Trusting Others

When I first became a manager at the age of twenty, I tried to make friends instead of managing my team. That was a miserable failure. Then I tried to manage without building relationships. I thought I had it all figured out until I received the results of my first employee satisfaction survey. People described … Continue reading Management Skills: Trusting Others

Ethics Series Part 3: Leadership Trust, Pay and Pipeline

The study of ethics is the study of decisions between right and wrong, and, in business, ethics is about decisions between right and wrong in the face of financial incentives. Game theory states that individuals make decisions that maximize their own utility. In organizations this leads to conflict between principals and their agents. A company … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 3: Leadership Trust, Pay and Pipeline

Ethics Series Part 2: Incentives and Compensation

Last week we discussed the pickle or ethical dilemma of empire building. Sales managers, like our hypothetical friend Tom Hansen from Ethics Corp, are motivated through bonuses and advancement opportunities to expand their responsibility beyond its optimal size. Empire building is part of a deeper ethical problem for organizations called the agency problem. Fundamentally, individuals … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 2: Incentives and Compensation

Ethics Series Part 1: Empire Building

One of my favorite moments in sports is when a baseball runner gets caught in a pickle. Trapped between two bases with fielders chasing him down from both sides, the runner's athletic talents along with his decisiveness are put to the test. Sadly, it usually doesn't work out well for the runner. Over the next … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 1: Empire Building

Management Skills: Focus on Success

During tough times work can feel like a lot of effort without a lot of results to show for it. As a manager, I've fallen victim to a seemingly common trap –– focusing on my team's failures, shortcomings and missteps rather than on anything positive. I ask them at meetings, "What are we doing wrong?" … Continue reading Management Skills: Focus on Success

Management Schizophrenia

Early in my career I had multiple manager personality disorder. I was respectful attentive John around my manager. John the comedian with my peers. I was authoritative with my direct reports and still someone else with customers. Trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be led to a kind of management schizophrenia. Consciously … Continue reading Management Schizophrenia

Love/Hate: The New Balance of Management

In my last post I talked about how management challenges are a lot like long distance running.  New Balance shoes brilliantly branded the running experience in their ad campaign "Love/Hate, the New Balance." Anyone who's ever been out for a long run knows exactly what they mean. Running is easy to hate. It's hard work, … Continue reading Love/Hate: The New Balance of Management

Leadership Lessons From Lincoln

I just finished the Abraham Lincoln biography, “With Malice Towards None,” by Stephen Oates. While one biography certainly does not make me an authority on such a complex man, I did take away some leadership lessons. The work humanizes Lincoln, showing readers he was capable of mistakes just like the rest of us. At the … Continue reading Leadership Lessons From Lincoln