I recently ran a series of posts about Delegation and this cartoon is a fantastic wrap for Delegation!
The Delegation Series can be found here:
5. Delegation Dilemma: A scenario for you [Video Case Study]
And here’s a quick tips blog I posted much earlier 5 Quick Tips For Delegating
September, 2012: another post: Delegation in Small Business
Here’s another of 1.00 FTE’s cartoons which I thought was spot-on for highlighting issues about Delegation:
You can see more of 1.00 FTE’s cartoons here
I wrote a blog post about good risk and bad risk: asking what you and your managers do to reduce bad risk and how to ensure you do take the good (calculated) risks.
I want to explore risk a little further…
When I meet with HR, Training Managers and Executives who decide on the training, coaching and other development needs of their managers, one of the key issues often raised is how to get the managers to take initiative. This, I believe, includes taking risk.
If managers (and all employes) aren’t prepared to use their initiative, to take risk, that needs to be investigated or at the very least understood. Why is initiative and risk not an everyday occurrence? Does any of the following resonate for you:
- - Managers perceive the punishment is too harsh/severe for making a mistake if the risk/initiative doesn’t pay off.
- - Managers are not encouraged to take risks.
- - Managers are not supported through the risk taking process.
- - Managers do not know what level of risk they can take things to before it’s too much.
- - Managers are confident enough to take the risk.
- - Losing face in front of their team is too big a risk to take if the risk doesn’t succeed.
1. What other the reasons do you think get in the way for managers not using their initiative?
2. What could your organisation do to improve and increase the opportunities for people to use more of their initiative?
[Amended/Added to 12th April, 2011]: Alternative Question to number 2: What can senior managers/executives do to encourage their managers to use initiative?
Have you just / recently been promoted into (or accepted) your first ever management role? Have you found that you might need a little bit of help to transition smoothly, but, and you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, if you ask your boss for training or coaching you fear you’ll either look incompetent or it may be a sign to the boss that he / she made a mistake in promoting you?
This is a very real scenario; it could be a challenging situation yet it need not be! So how do you ask for the training or coaching you need without losing face or risking some sort of backlash?
Here is a suggested process.
I can’t give you a 100% success, 6-steak knives, money-back guarantee but I can assure you it will help you think through the situation professionally, strategically and thoroughly so you will have a much greater chance of getting the development support you need.
First and foremost, you need to get very clear about what the real issues or challenges are; the places where you need a bit of assistance. Here are just a few issue examples; of course you may be experiencing something else:
- > Understanding the strategic vision, ‘translating’ it into terms the team can understand, and then actions and implement.
- > Letting go of some of the technical tasks you either like doing or believe only you can do.
- > Not knowing how to delegate properly.
- > Now having to manage people who were your work mates.
- > Now having to manage people who also applied for the job you won; and/or now managing your workmates.
- > Managing your time so that you can do your work and manage/lead the team and check that the work is being done.
- > Communicating effectively so work is completed on time, within budget and to standard.
- > Communicating across departments to reach the outcomes you need to achieve without annoying / frustrating the other departments.
When you can identify what is exactly at the heart of the issue, you have already reduced the perceived magnitude of the supposed incompetence or concern for your lack of ability. Yes, it’s like a mind game. When we say to ourselves “I need training but if I ask the boss, he/she will think I’m incompetent.” This can play on our insecurities and create bigger than necessary – yes, unreal – anxiety. When you break it right down to what the heart of the issue really is, it’s a bite size chunk that can be dealt with much quicker and easier! So, give yourself a diagnosis – work out what the key challenge is so you can then move to the next step.
The next step is to identify what will be the most effective and efficient way to help you address the issue. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may be able to draw on some help from the HR or Training department. Will you need a workplace coach to support you; will a short training course help get your skills up to speed; or will a training video be enough; etc…
Give yourself an hour or two of searching the net to get some ideas of what’s available in the market. If you do have direct access to HR or the Training Dept, discuss with them your issue and that you would like some training, coaching and/or resource options. HR and Training should have their finger on the pulse of what’s in the market so use them to help you get a good picture of what can be done to help you work towards resolving the issue.
(Just as an aside, if you do have the expertise of the HR or Training Dept to rely on, they should have information relating to other managers in similar situations and so they could be better placed to organise an in-house training course or group coaching program.)
Once you have a few options, including relevant details like timing, cost, availability, you have the basis of a business case for your professional development.
Can you see how you’ve moved from what could be sheer terror of being seen as incompetent (okay, maybe not quite so dramatic, but you get my meaning), to a well thought-out business case that identifies very real, specific target area(s) within your professional development, which, if addressed will lead to better outcomes, smoother team function and a better looking bottom line!
The Christmas / Holiday Season / End of Year celebrations are starting to appear on calendars! This is often spoken of as a great time to reflect on the year that was, and to plan for the year ahead. Decorations start to appear, social calendars become a little ‘podgier’ (as do some waistlines) ;-). My first contribution to the festive season is showcased to the left!
Festivities aside, when I was directly employed (in medium and large organisations) I noticed a phenomenon occurring each year. The staff – all of us – seemed to thrive in the first half of the year and then plodded along for the next few months to September and then suddenly we turned grumpy! Collectively we all got cranky and cantankerous; I believe we were somewhat battle weary!
I haven’t conducted any valid or reliable research with a supporting control group to verify the said ‘cantankerous mood’ – these were just my observations. Let’s break it down: The team entered the year with hangovers, celebration-itis, and/or renewed energy to achieve something great in the year that lay before them; then came a calm, a hum, and we all got into the day to day; and somewhere in all of that the ‘big hairy audacious goal’ some of us had began to fade until we could hardly see it anymore. At this point we had some sort of annual milestone to achieve e.g. get the annual report out, host an event, complete a funding round, etc. Once that was done, it was September and we were just plain tired. We also started to get teased and taunted by the glimmer of light that was the promise of a few days off at Christmas/End of Year/New Year break. This happened year after year. Do you see the pattern? A wave of high and low. Once I saw this pattern I was mesmerised by it and its affect on the individuals, teams and the whole organisation!
The final quarter of the year can either spur us on to finalise a project, clean up (or out of) the office, prepare for the next year, reflect on the year that was. September to December in Australia is Spring, so it may go hand in hand that many people get the ‘spring clean fever’ at that time of the year.
Some questions for you:
- - Do you get ‘End of Year-itis’? and how do you handle it?
- - As a team leader/group manager what do you do in the lead up to the end of the year?
- - Do you take stock of the year, and if so, do you include your team in that ‘stocktake’?
- - Is taking the time to reflect and then signal a path for the coming year of value to you and your team?
- Share your thoughts.
In a survey I conducted, one of the questions I asked was:
If you had someone to ‘walk beside you’ at work, in your career, as you develop professionally, what is the most important thing that person could either say to you, do with you or for you?
I received some really interesting replies so I thought I’d share some of the responses here:
- - Career planning.
- - Provide recommendations and correct my mistakes.
- - To improve my ability. ü It can be great if someone can tell what mistakes I am making, what I should and shouldn’t do.
- - “I trust you”
- - Help me keep my focus in the right direction, and help revise the plan, as need be.
- - I would enjoy an open discussion on my key development needs.
- - A 360 analysis of my personality and performance.
- - Be honest, share experiences and networks.
- - Insist.
- - Together for work.
- - Listen.
1. Thinking about your own professional development, how could you be – or could have been – best supported? Post a comment.
2. Thinking about your manager’s leadership development, how could they be better supported? Share your thoughts.
The Distinction Between Therapy, Mentoring, Consulting and Coaching:
So what’s the difference between coaching, mentoring, consulting and therapy? Presented here with permission from Choice Magazine, this is one of the best summaries I have found that helps clarify the differences.
Deals mostly with a person’s past and trauma, and seeks healing
Deals mostly with succession training and seeks to help someone do what you do
Deals mostly with problems and seeks to provide information (expertise, strategy, structures, methodologies) to solve them
Deals mostly with a person’s present and seeks to guide them into a more desirable future
Doctor – Patient relationship (Therapist has the answers)
Older/Wiser – Younger/Less Experiences relationship (Mentor has the answers)
Expert-Person with Problem relationship (Consultant has the answers)
Co-creative equal partnership (Coach helps client discover their own answers)
Assumes emotions are a symptom of something wrong
Is limited to emotional response of the mentoring parameters (success, etc.)
Does not normally address or deal with emotions (informational only)
Assumes emotions are natural and normalizes them
The Therapist diagnoses, and then provides professional expertise and guidelines to give you a path to healing
The Mentor allows you to observe his/her behavior, expertise, answers questions, provides guidance and wisdom for the stated purpose of the mentoring
The Consultant stands back, evaluates a situation, and then tells you the problem and how to fix it
The Coach stands with you, and helps YOU identify the challenges, then works with you to turn challenges into victories and hold you accountable to reach your desired goals
Source: Patrick Williams, EdD, MCC, choice Magazine Vol.5 Number 3 – September 2007 Used with permission.
Do these definitions match your own definitions of these roles? Share your thoughts:
With respect to this blog, I have set it up to provide a range of support, tips, learning, insights, ideas, bragging, announcing, complaining, highlighting, recommending (and any other verbs) targeting three distinct groups:
1. First-time and/or inexperienced managers
2. Senior managers & executives who find themselves in the position of leading first-time and/or inexperienced managers
3. HR and Learning & Development Departments who need support and guidance to help their organisation’s first-time and/or inexperienced managers
This blog will help you create the team you deserve!
Visit often, comment, share, suggest – together we can make it a safe place to discuss, converse, question, learn and advance our individual and collective personal and professional best.
How often will I post?: I’m not a fan of making promises when I’m not sure if I can keep them, so all I will say is this, I aim to post weekly! Some weeks I may post more, sometimes it may turn out to be one of those strange ‘long weeks’, if you get my meaning. Let’s put it this way, by the end of December 2011, there *should* be at least 52 posts!
I am sure you’ll agree, the last thing we want is for this to be just another blog so I’d like to know from you, what’s missing on this or other blogs that we can address here? Feel free to suggest below.
(If you would like to guest post, by all means contact me to discuss.)