Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

Managing the Game: An Ass Out of You and Me

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I once had a superhero I had created called El Coyote. His arch-nemesis was a wizard who turned people into donkeys. His name was The Assumption because he made asses out of you and me. I always found that phrase funny but it really is true. Assuming things can be one of our greatest weaknesses.

Something I always try to get across with any team I work with is not to assume anything. If there is a decision to be made and you don’t have all of the facts it can be very dangerous and costly to assume you know the right answer. When working with a team I always stress that if they have a question they should stop what they are doing and ask someone what they need to know. It will save you time, money, and face to know the right answer even if your assumption was correct.

Why will it save you time, money and face even if your assumption was correct? Asking someone a question to clarify your assumption creates an even better habit for you which is communication. The reason people assume so much isn’t because they know everything. It is because people dislike communicating, at least not communicating in an effective and professional manner. People don’t like to appear ignorant and asking questions creates a perception that they are. However this is an incorrect assumption. Most people would rather you ask questions for clarification than do something incorrectly in your job. You will look more ignorant by doing it wrong and explaining that you assumed something than getting it right the first time by asking questions.

Asking for clarification is usually a better sign of doing a proper job. It indicates you have read or listened to the information given to you for a given task. It shows a willingness and want on your part to do your job correctly. It helps build communication skills between you and your colleagues and/or clients. These are all good things. Granted asking the same question multiple times or about things that are blatantly in the documentation given or was just recently explained verbally can be viewed badly. It is important to listen and read things that are given to you before asking questions.

The next time you assume you have all of the information or know what the client or colleague is thinking take a moment to stop and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself if the person ever answered the question directly that you are assuming to know the answer to whether in writing or verbally. If there is even a sliver of doubt take the time to clarify.

Managing the Game: Basic Management Skills

November 2, 2010 1 comment

When I first became a manager I was taught these basic management skills. I have literally carried these five basic skills with me at all times over the years. One of my early mentors laminated and gave them to me when I became a manager.  I have seen different variations but at their core they remain the same.

1) Lead by example

2) Focus on the situation or behavior, not the person

3) Treat others with respect

4) Maintain two way conversations that are open & honest

5) Take it upon yourself to better the situation


Managing the Game: Open Door Policy

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Have an open door policy and stand by it. Let your employees come to you about their problems. Listen to them and their concerns. Then do what you can to help them out. We are all busy with what we do but if you don’t take those moments to listen then a small problem can grow into a bigger problem. Showing your team that you care and are willing to go to bat for them is one of the best things that you as a manager can do. I personally work harder and go the extra mile for my superiors who do it for me. Not just out of a personal work ethic but because I know I have value and respect from my boss.

Managing the Game: Play to their strengths

January 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I really believe it is important to play to your team members strengths while giving them a chance to build on their weaknesses. Too often I have seen managers assume that individuals are great at everything. Then these same people are surprised or disappointed when someone fails to accomplish something they aren’t good at. If you set someone up to fail they will. Chances are they will not get better at it and will feel discouraged increasing their tendency to fail at their task. If you give people assignments that they are good at then you are setting them up to succeed. When people are successful they feel accomplished and encouraged. Evaluate your team and know their strengths and weaknesses. Challenge their strengths and grow their weaknesses when you can. If you have a tight deadline and need something accomplished go to the person who can get the job done. If you have time to work on a part of a project that someone isn’t very skilled at give them that opportunity to take that time to get better. Partner them up with someone who is skilled at it. Let them learn from the best. Mentoring is important to growth and building strengths. Never set your team up to fail, instead give them every opportunity to succeed.

Managing the Game: Do what you love and love what you do.

December 23, 2009 1 comment

We are the root of our own happiness. You personally know what you love in life and what you have passion for. If you can wake up everyday and look forward to what you have to do than you are doing it right.  If you wake up and complain before you are out the door than you are doing it wrong.

Make a list of all the things you want to do in life. Then go do them. It really is that simple. If you have drive. If you have passion. Then you can do anything.

Take every moment of everyday to be the best at what you do. Put your heart into everything you do and the results will be greater than anything you do without passion.