The last freedom

November 25, 2019

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me  Article

Attitude and Effort

“Many years ago I received some exceptional advice from a mentor that has stayed with me to this day. He told me to stop trying to control things I couldn’t control. His recommendation was that I focus 100% of my attention on the things within my control. He also said to ‘block out’ the uncontrollable things from my field of view because they were nothing more than distractions.

Through the years as I’ve considered his advice I’ve discovered there are far fewer controllable parts of my life than there are uncontrollable. I can influence what other people think of me but I can’t control their thoughts. I can try to influence their actions but people will eventually do whatever they think is best for them. The list of stuff I can’t control could go on forever.

But that’s okay because through the years I’ve also discovered that I can control, completely, two areas of my life which have the greatest impact on my success and happiness.

Those areas are attitude and effort.

In his timeless book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ Viktor Frankl describes the ‘last of the human freedoms.’ He says that last freedom, a freedom that can be taken from no one, is the choice of one’s own attitude. Every human on earth is free, regardless of their circumstances, to choose their own attitude. No one and nothing can take that freedom away from you.

Before you say ‘well Viktor Frankl never worked where I work. He never experienced how tough my life is. He just doesn’t know,’ before you say any of that you should know that Viktor Frankl is a surviver of Nazi Concentration Camps. He knows.

He would tell you that his choice of a positive attitude was literally life saving.

I can only imagine, actually I can’t even imagine, how tough a fight it must have been each day for him to choose a positive attitude. But he fought the fight and won.

The choice of a positive attitude is a big fight for me even in my relatively cushy world. I lose that fight too often but this much I’m certain of: every single part of my life is better on the days I win that fight.

The question for you is will you consciously engage in that fight or will you allow other people and things to make the choice of your attitude for you? “


Become the best manager possible

November 25, 2019

By Michael Kurland via forbes.com  Article

How To Become The Best Manager Possible

Great Managers Are Leaders, Not Task-Masters

… When a manager trusted me to do my job, I felt a sense of freedom and ownership of my destiny. Those who micromanaged my every move left me feeling controlled and stuck. …

Lead By Example

… a good manager must also be knowledgeable of the roles and skills needed from their team. They need to be intimately familiar with the daily operations of their department. From time to time, it may be necessary for them to jump in and assist during peak seasons or a period of crisis. A team that sees their manager willing to roll up their sleeves to get the job done speaks volumes of their commitment to the team’s success.

Micromanaging Will Reap Micro-Results

… When your team knows that their manager trusts them to handle the ups and downs of the day, they will inevitably rise to the occasion. Additionally, if you’ve built relationships with your team and have fostered open and honest communications, they will be comfortable coming to you for assistance. …

Manage by Trust, Not by Fear

We have all reported to someone who managed by fear or intimidation. They used their position to control their team instead of empowering them to soar within their role. The result? A team that second-guessed every move they made for fear of doing it wrong, or worse, losing their jobs. …

Good Managers Are Born; Great Managers Are Taught

It is tempting to think that people are born with an innate skill to manage and this talent is all they need to become great leaders. I would suggest that even though you may have such a talent, without proper training, those talents would be ineffective. Even great singers invest in voice coaches and consistent practice to hone their skills.”


Leadership is not …

November 25, 2019

By Lolly Daskal via lollydaskal.com  Article

What Leadership Is Not

Leadership is not about you. It’s about your followers, your employees, your team. The best leaders devote almost all their energy to inspiring and empowering others. ….

Leadership is not about power. Leadership naturally comes with power, but to lead people with character and engender trust isn’t compatible with being primarily concerned with acquiring and using power. The most powerful leaders are those who earn trust and stay trustworthy.

Leadership is not about telling and controlling. Leadership will always involve some degree of telling people what needs to get done. … It’s about guiding, mentoring and coaching, not telling, controlling and micromanaging.

Leadership is not about doing everything yourself. … Leadership means delegating to the right people to get the job done right.

Leadership is not about doing all the communicating. Great leaders are almost always great communicators, but more importantly they’re great listeners. …The best way to understand people is to listen to them.

Leadership is not about always feeling confident. … leaders are strongest when they demonstrate transparency and vulnerability—traits that equal truth and courage. They may not be comfortable, but they’re certainly not weakness.

Leadership is not about having all the answers. We may be comforted by the idea that a leader knows everything, but the truest leaders bring people together to find the answers through collaboration.

Leadership is not about demeaning others. … Leadership will always be focused on treating others with respect and reverence. Leaders don’t alienate; they encourage.

Leadership is not about taking credit. Successful leaders know nothing is achieved on its own; things happen when a group of people come together to make something work. Leaders should take a little more than their share of the blame when things go wrong, and a little less than their share of the credit when things go well.

Leadership is not about deflecting personal responsibility. Leadership doesn’t deflect accountability—if anything, it increases it. If it is to be it is up to me. The moment you take responsibility is the moment you have stepped into your leadership.”


When your employee makes a mistake

November 25, 2019

By Peter Bregman via hbr.org  Article

What to Say When Your Employee Makes a Mistake

“Jeffrey was the CEO of a hedge fund, and he was upset about some poor trades that Tom, one of his portfolio managers, made. He called Tom into his office. (This is a real example with real people, but I’ve changed their names.)

‘Those trades were a terrible idea! What were you thinking?’ Jeffrey asked Tom. The conversation quickly went downhill. With that first question, it would have been hard for it to go any other way.

Why was it a bad way to start? ‘What were you thinking?’ is a past-focused question. When Tom explains his thinking to Jeffrey, he’ll reinforce his mistake and sound defensive because his thinking was problematic and led to poor results. He doesn’t necessarily think the same way now, of course.

Let’s play it out. Tom will explain why he made that trade, and Jeffrey will get angry at his poor judgment. Then they’ll both leave the conversation frustrated and disheartened (which is, predictably, exactly what happened).

What could Jeffrey have done differently? A better choice would have been to avoid talking about the past and, instead, ask Tom about the future: ‘How will you do it differently next time?’

This kind of future-focused question allows Tom to acknowledge his mistake and demonstrate his learning. It will reinforce both people’s confidence in Tom’s abilities while also giving Jeffrey the opportunity to point out any further problematic patterns in Tom’s thinking — in a way that could help Tom make better decisions in the future instead of just making him feel bad in the present.

Another advantage of a future-focused question? It’s faster and more reliable because you’re removing one step in the learning process. Rather than going over your mistake and then (hopefully) applying the learning to a future situation, you go straight to the application.

Why don’t we all do this intuitively? Because, in the moment, we’re not feeling it. What we’re feeling is angry, and probably a little scared, frustrated, and annoyed. And then we blurt out, ‘What were you thinking?’

We do it in order to make ourselves feel better. We ask that past-focused angry question because our emotional overload in the situation is simply too much. We burst. But that’s not great leadership, and it’s not great communication. When we lead and communicate, we’re not doing it for ourselves; we’re doing it to help others improve.”


Why you should become a manager

November 25, 2019

By  Tom Bartel via tombartel.me  Article

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Become a Manager

1. You care

2. You don’t hate people  Julie Zhuo, design manager at Facebook, has a very good quote on the people aspect of management: “Imagine you spend a full day in back-to-back 1:1s talking to people. Does that sound awful or awesome?” …

3. You are a good listener

4. You have an eye for talent

5. You trust your colleagues

6. You have good communication skills

7. You are willing to point things out  If you do not point out bad behaviour on the team, chances are that nobody else will, and that the behaviour just continues, or even becomes worse. …

8. You don’t have to be best friends with everybody

9. You have mastered a technical field  While the other points so far were rather generic, this one refers specifically to engineering. Before you change your career towards management, you should feel really comfortable in your technical domain, for several reasons. One, employees who feel that their manager knows what their job is about, or whose manager can even jump in and do their job, have higher job satisfaction. Secondly, as Andy Grove says, ‘training is always the boss’s job’, and if you train people, you naturally have to know what you are talking about. This does not mean that you have to be the best engineer in the organization, but you should have some maturity and authority as an engineer. The third reason why it is recommended to know at least one field really well before you move into management is that you might have to move back at some point. …

10. If you don’t do it, somebody who cares less will ….”

 

 


“Very much something to worry about”

November 25, 2019

By  via nytimes.com  Article

“The federal government could soon pay more in interest on its debt than it spends on the military, Medicaid or children’s programs.

The run-up in borrowing costs is a one-two punch brought on by the need to finance a fast-growing budget deficit, worsened by tax cuts and steadily rising interest rates that will make the debt more expensive.

With less money coming in and more going toward interest, political leaders will find it harder to address pressing needs like fixing crumbling roads and bridges or to make emergency moves like pulling the economy out of future recessions.

Within a decade, more than $900 billion in interest payments will be due annually, easily outpacing spending on myriad other programs. Already the fastest-growing major government expense, the cost of interest is on track to hit $390 billion next year, nearly 50 percent more than in 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

‘It’s very much something to worry about,’ said C. Eugene Steuerle, a fellow at the Urban Institute and a co-founder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington. ‘Everything else is getting squeezed.’ …


Leadership consists of two journeys

November 25, 2019

By via growingleadership.today  Article

Making the shift to creative leadership

“Leadership consists of two journeys. The first is the journey of self discovery. A personal leadership journey. The second is the journey to creative leadership. As Steve Jobs said it’s the journey to ‘make a dent in the universe’.

All leadership begins with personal leadership – the art and science of leading oneself. You have to start with personal leadership as it’s the foundation for great leadership. You must learn to lead yourself before leading others.

Personal leadership is the foundation you need to lead. It creates your personal leadership philosophy, good character, mindset, principles and practices. But you cannot stop at leading yourself. To reach your full potential you must push through to creative leadership.

Creative leadership is a shift towards a creative orientation. It’s a shift from an internal to an external focus. It’s about making your own dent in the universe!

Personal leadership journey is your preparation for the real journey of creative leadership.

The new leadership challenge

Great leaders have no inborn quality, they’re ordinary people, like you and I, who’ve made a decision to do extraordinary things.

‘When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people who were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.’ – Steve Jobs

It’s the decision to do something extraordinary, to make a dent in the universe, that triggers the shift from personal to creative leadership.

The shift to creative leadership is a step all great leaders must take. Yet, it’s a step that many leaders fail to make. Why? Because creative leadership is filled with danger, uncertainty and risk. And far too many leaders prefer to remain safe, rather than risk the unknown.”