Are You Dragging?

It seems like people go through phases where they drag around, and their normal fervor all but disappears. Their energy is low grade and, simply put, they’ve succumbed to a malaise.

I’ve observed this more than usual recently, and if you’re seeing this with your team, it’s time to reboot to a more energized, positive state of being. If you’re doing well but your people are down, the same message applies.

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When Delegating Backfires

Last week’s topic was on the importance and value of delegating. I received a comment from a client who raised the issue of what to do when the person to whom you delegated messes up.

Great question, but tricky answers.

Managers don’t want to get burned, so of course they avoid getting too close to fire. But if you’re in a management or leadership role, you are responsible for overseeing work assigned to others. Here are some thoughts on why delegating can backfire and some solutions to minimize future episodes.

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The “Whys” of Delegating

“I’ll just do it myself.”

This is a common refrain among managers, whether directly stated or inferred. It’s more common with newer managers and micromanagers for essentially the same reason: by the time I explain exactly what I need, I could have done it myself.

The new manager is fearful that the project won’t be done correctly, while the micromanager thinks that no one can do it as well as she can.

Regardless of the reason, the outcome is the same. When you do it yourself instead of delegating to a team member, over the long term it will backfire on you.

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Spring in the Cloud

Spring has arrived, bringing with it the many metaphors we associate with the season. Sunlight occupies noticeably more of the day and things seem more hopeful after long winters. And, everyone’s favorite, spring cleaning, comes into our mind.

Admittedly, most people probably don’t do the kind of spring cleaning that our grandmothers did. But it’s as good a time as any to think about a contemporary variation, “reduce, reuse, recycle”. I don’t think we’ll ever see a completely paperless work place, but our need for using paper has changed.

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Managers Are Accountable, Too

Managers often ask how to hold their employees accountable. This is a difficult question to answer, because one of the biggest variables is your organizational culture. Some cultures support their people when it comes to accountability issues, while others cast blame.

If your culture is focused on learning and growth, you tend to tie accountability with learning and professional development. For example, if Sarah misses an important deadline, the manager will discuss what happened to create that result. It’s likely that Sarah had a good reason but didn’t communicate it ahead of time.

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Discovering Your People

How well do you really know your staff? Of course, you know the work they do and perhaps some of their interests. But how deep does your knowledge or insight really go?

One of my clients recently discovered that one of her employees is a regular marathon runner. He had competed in races for years and the only reason it came up was because another employee mentioned something about him raising money for a charity race.

Another client learned that one of her staff members was an enthusiastic traveler who successfully spreads out 2 weeks of vacation over long weekends and company holidays so that she takes 3-4 trips abroad each year. She had no clue.

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