Showing posts from October, 2019

Share the Focus

There is a concept in improv (which is my side passion and hobby; more on this some other time) that when there are more than two scenes on stage at the same time, you have to share focus. Basically, you have to take turns speaking and being the center of attention. Another wonderful concept of improv is that there really are no leaders and followers. It doesn't matter who initiates the scene or comes on second: to make the scene work, you both have to "yes, and" (ie, support each other) and contribute, since the success of the team and show are everyone's goal. Businesses and leaders could stand to learn from this (and other improv "skills"). Here are some ways this can translate:  Regardless of who you are, share credit and acknowledge contribution.  Give everyone a chance to contribute, regardless of their title or function, since you never know where the next great idea or breakthrough will come from. Encourage everyone to speak up and contribute

The Perils of Micromanagement

The difference between leadership and management is often debated, but I once read a very simple distinction that I think says it all: you lead people and manage their work. There's a reason you lead (and not manage) people to success yet micromanage (not microlead) them. When a good leader is not also a good manager, people may be motivated but nothing gets done. And when a good manager is not also a good leader, things may get done, but there is no employee engagement. Both are necessary for a successful business and team. A micromanager is neither a good leader nor manager: no one is motivated to do their best if someone is watching or questioning their every move, nor will things get done efficiently in such a scenario. Plus, a micromanager is either not getting his/her own work done or has to work overtime to do so, given all the time spent micromanaging. And being micromanaged demoralizes everyone eventually, even overachievers, as I can attest to. All of this gets wo

What is Right-Sized Leadership?

If you enjoy reading business or productivity books, you may have noticed the new hot topics: focus and attention management. These books proclaim that it isn't enough to be efficient and effective, but you also need the discipline to filter out all the distractions that come with our always-on digital culture.  I absolutely agree with these books (and may mention some of them by name in the future), but there's another type of wrong-sized thinking that occurs in companies of all sizes: leadership sabotaging their company culture and success by not knowing where to focus their time and energy—and by not empowering their employees to succeed. Right-size leadership is when the CEO (or any executive leader) understands when to be hands-on and when not to; when to support and when to criticize; when they are needed to troubleshoot and get into the weeds, and when they should give their team a chance to do their jobs. And a right-size leader also knows how to set a unified g