4 ways to show you’re ready for management

April 29, 2019

By Heather Schlichting via themuse.com  Article

1. Be a Problem Solver

Leaders don’t just wait to be told what to do—they think strategically about what needs to be done, and then they do it. So, next time you’re faced with a challenge, don’t just tell your boss about the problem and wait for a solution. Instead, tell him or her how you’re going to fix it. … When you present the problem along with its possible solutions, your manager will recognize your initiative and dedication to the company’s success. And look at internal issues, too: If you think there are ways to do your job more efficiently, test those solutions and present them. You won’t only make your life easier—you’ll prove to your boss that you’re ready to improve the entire department’s operations.

2. Take on Small Management Opportunities

One of the best ways to show that you’re ready for a leadership role is to find small ways to manage people or projects. You’ll build your management skills, of course—but more importantly, you’ll start being viewed as a team leader. … You can prove your leadership skills through more casual means, too: Offer to help plan the company picnic or volunteer with co-workers at a community event. As you take on more responsibility (and follow through with successful results), you’ll prove that you’re committed to your team and will do what it takes to get things done.

3. Understand the Whole Company—Not Just Your Role

To be an effective manager, you’ll need a 360-degree view of the company. With the right information, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and develop the right strategies to push your department forward. So, spend some time learning as much as you can about your business as a whole. … Act as if you’re an outsider researching the company for an interview and (if you’re not 100% familiar with them already) read up on the business’ current vision and goals. Then, move on to the most recent annual report and press releases to delve into company operations, strategies, and challenges. And don’t forget to research your competitors, too, to see exactly where you rank in your industry. …

4. Be Professional

Finally, as you’re thinking about how to get to the next level, remember to make sure that you’re exemplary in what you do now. Would you want a manager who misses deadlines, forgets to answer emails, and gossips about other employees? Of course not—and even though you’re not a supervisor yet, you shouldn’t be displaying those behaviors, either.

Instead, demonstrate a good work ethic by being on time and courteous to other co-workers. Avoid office gossip, aim to have the reputation of someone who everyone can trust, and approach your everyday tasks with a positive attitude.”

Playing favorites

April 29, 2019

By Rebecca Knight via hbr.com  Article

How Managers Can Avoid Playing Favorites

“‘When it comes to playing favorites, no matter how fair you think you’re being and no matter how high you think your EQ is, you’re probably guilty,’ says Robert Sutton, Stanford University professor and coauthor of Scaling Up Excellence. Research on our collective lack of self-awareness backs this up. ‘Most of us are remarkably clueless about how we come across.’ And yet it’s natural to have different relationships with different people at work. ‘With good reasons, you default to the people you consider to be excellent colleagues, the people you can rely on and enjoy,’ says Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics. But when managers favor one employee over another, morale and productivity suffer. ‘The danger is that you’re laying a foundation for creating a dysfunctional team around you,’ she says. …

Principles to Remember


  • Make a conscious effort to divvy up your team’s work in an equitable way by keeping track of who got the last choice assignment
  • Work on forging personal connections with all of your colleagues — especially those you don’t particularly like
  • Take the perspective of each of your employees and think through how you’re making them feel


  • Ignore the dangers of playing favorites; keeping them in mind will help keep you honest
  • Assume that you’re always being fair. Chances are you’re favoring certain employees over others, whether you’re aware of it or not
  • Shy away from asking a third party whether you’re being fair”


Mistakes managers make, according to employees

April 29, 2019

By Marcel Schwantes via inc.com  Article

8 Mistakes Managers Make, According to Their Employees

1. Micromanaging. Really, no surprise here. Leaders who dominate people, decisions, and processes, lead by fear, and lack vision make this the No.1 mistake. …

2. Leading from a position of power or ego. As it has always been, hubris is the cause of much conflict and grief. As one respondent succinctly puts it: ‘Intellectual arrogance is like a termite to some leaders and networks.’ Others suggest that know-it-alls who think they have the best ideas and information, and use it to wield power or control, destroy morale. …
3. Not listening. One respondent puts it this way: ‘It is not the inability to listen but the inability to ‘hear’ what their team [members] are saying to them.’ …

4. Not valuing followers. This mistake points to the overarching theme of leaders dismissing the value of their people. They either don’t care, don’t know how to care, or stopped caring. In essence, it’s the leader who thinks anyone is replaceable, and sees employees as ‘cogs on a wheel’ rather than ‘worthy colleagues’ to be treated like business partners in producing excellence. …

5. Failing to grow themselves as leaders. One collective sentiment from the study is that certain leaders, at whatever level, may have self-entitlement issues about growing and developing themselves. … Some examples of behavior that cry out for executive-level leadership development:

  • Low self-awareness — not knowing oneself.
  • Communication issues, lacking in two-way feedback.
  • Ego: having all the answers and not soliciting input. …

6. Lacking boundaries. Some leaders forget to recognize professional boundaries. The moment a leader starts trying to ‘buddy up’ with subordinates, the chain of command begins to disintegrate and boundaries become blurred. …

7. Not providing or receiving feedback. Since employees are the ones most intimately acquainted to how things are going on in the trenches — with customers, processes, etc. — it behooves leaders to gain their tribe’s trust by coming to them first for input, buy-in, advice, and strategy. …

8. Not sharing leadership. The concept of sharing leadership and empowering your tribe to make their own decisions is not new, but it’s gaining momentum thanks to books like Turn the Ship Around, by David Marquet. It makes sense for leaders to set the stage for teams to operate this way because, on the frontlines, workers have more knowledge of the subject matter than leaders do.”


Learn from your mistakes

April 29, 2019

By via personneltoday.com Article

Change management: learn from your mistakes

“More than four-fifths (85%) of those surveyed claimed to treat ‘everything that happens as a learning opportunity’. ‘Everything’ would, of course, include learning from mistakes. However, only 58% of the same people claimed to be able to describe precisely what they have learned. The difference between the two figures means that learning is often left at a tacit, rather than explicit, level. Settling for tacit learning, when you know you have learned something but cannot articulate it with any precision, could explain why so often the same mistakes happen again. …

In an ideal world, a mistake would only occur once because it would have been learned from. To ensure change is effective, organisations and employees need to learn from things that go wrong – any mistake, large or small, flags up the need for some learning mistakes are powerful learning opportunities.

Indeed, some lessons can be learned from mistakes that cannot be learned in any other way. From a learning point of view, mistakes, while not exactly welcome, are certainly special.

Without producing an action plan, lessons become forgotten and only 49% of those surveyed said that they carried their lessons learned forward into ‘feasible action plans’. This suggests there is a tendency to assume that lessons learned will inevitably spill over into improved/changed future actions – but normally it ends up as just an interesting insight or vague intention to heed the lesson learned in the future.

… how your line managers behave is essential to creating a culture where mistakes are treated as valuable learning opportunities. Here’s how eight changes to behaviour could make all the difference:

  • Explore instead of judging and fault finding
  • Remain calm instead of being emotional
  • Find out exactly what happened rather than reacting to what you think happened
  • Focus more on the processes that allowed the mistake to occur than on the person for getting it wrong
  • Focus on the causes rather than the effects
  • Work out lessons learned and produce robust, feasible action plans
  • Assume the mistake-maker wants to learn rather than assuming they should feel guilty or be contrite
  • Treat mistakes as inevitable and as learning opportunities instead of things to dread or avoid.”

If I had a dollar

April 22, 2019

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me  Article

An Organization’s Greatest Asset

“If I had a dollar for every time I’ve asked the leader of a business or organization what their greatest asset was I probably wouldn’t care about a paycheck or the stock market anymore. If I had a half a dollar for every time they answered ‘my people’ I’d be pretty well off too.

A leader saying their people are their greatest asset is the easiest answer they can give. Showing that their people are their greatest asset is a completely different thing. If you were to watch a typical leader’s actions you would think their greatest asset was their computers or copiers. They typically spend more, way more, on their IT Department for example than they do in their training and employee development departments. In the vast majority of companies it’s 30-100% more.

In most companies the investment allocated to grow their people is near the bottom on the list of budget allocations. So are your people your greatest asset? Does your budget reflect that? Are you consistently investing in your people or is that an investment that is too easy to cut when budgets get tight?

When you stop and think about it you know investing in your people is the best investment you can make. The challenge for most leaders is that they don’t stop and think about it. They instinctively respond to the urgency of needing ‘things.’ They forget the incredible importance of developing their people. I understand that other things seem important but they only help your people grow your business.

‘Things’ alone don’t do much for you. Never forget that it’s your people who will grow your business not things.”

The truth about empathy

April 22, 2019

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog  Article

“Daniel Goleman discovered that nearly 90% of the difference between average leaders and star performers in senior leadership roles is attributable to emotional intelligence. (HBR)

Empathy and compassion are confusing. But I’m certain they’re important.

5 components of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness. Recognize your emotions, as well as their effect on others.
  2. Self-regulation. Think before acting.
  3. Motivation. Pursue goals with energy and persistence.
  4. Empathy. The ability to understand another’s emotional makeup and treat them appropriately.
  5. Social skill. An ability to find common ground and build rapport.

(Virginia.edu for a more complete chart.)


Empathy understands and identifies with the emotions of another, even if it doesn’t agree. Compassion is the desire to do something about another’s distress or pain. Perhaps an illustration will help. During a termination process, empathy identifies with another’s pain. Compassion provides a severance package. ‘True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.’ Daniel Goleman …

Get real:

Indifference is easy. Empathy and compassion are messy.

  1. Empathy is exhausting. Compassion fatigue is real.
  2. Empathy is a zero-sum game. When you show empathy to one person, you have less for another.
  3. Empathy can erode ethics. You overlook what you should call-out.

(Empathy – Adam Waytz, associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.)”

5 signs you shouldn’t be a manager

April 22, 2019

Via getlighthouse.com  Article

Bad Manager: 5 Signs You Shouldn’t be a Manager

“Becoming a manager is a career choice just as much as deciding a profession you want to study in school. It requires learning new skills and taking on different responsibilities. As much as we’d all love to think every manager has the best of intentions, we still often end up with bad managers around us.

Usually the signs are all around us when someone isn’t a good fit to become a manager, yet it’s easy for them to take the job anyways due to money, prestige, or simply inevitability because they’ve been around long enough.  Today we examine some of the most common warning signs and the consequences from those signs being ignored.  Promote team members with caution! …

1) You do it for the money, not the actual job responsibilities

At many companies, the only way to keep getting raises and ‘advance’ through your career is to move into management.  This puts pressure on people to consider management even if they’re not excited about the prospects of becoming a manager. While money is fair to be part of anyone’s work motivation, it’s a big warning sign you might be making a bad manager choice if their top motive is this. …

2) You don’t like dealing with people

Not everyone wants to spend their days helping fix people issues, listening to the problems of others, and developing people.  If they’re not excited to do those things, they probably shouldn’t be a manager. …

3) You don’t want to give up individual contributor work

Particularly for engineers and others in creative roles, it can be hard to give up doing individual work.  It’s easy to want to take the new manager title and keep doing lots of the ‘fun’ individual contributor tasks. …

4) You don’t have a Growth Mindset

The Growth Mindset is the idea that any skill can be learned. No one is simply ‘a natural’ and others doomed to never be good at it.  It takes hard work, but with effort anyone can learn and improve at a skill. … a manager with a Fixed Mindset will personally suffer because there is too much to learn as a manager to not embrace your own need to learn new things. …

5) You hate your job

If someone is clearly unhappy at work, then promoting them to manager is just going to create a bad manager. They’re likely to still be an unhappy, grouchy, unmotivated employee who now spreads that attitude to their team.”