EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP | 3 Reasons to Choose the “Hard” Path

by middlemanager Comments Off on EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP | 3 Reasons to Choose the “Hard” Path

Effective Leadership | 3 Reasons to Choose the “Hard” Path


One of the major keys to Effective Leadership is an ability by the leader/manager to choose the hard path.  Hard in this case can be defined as difficult, a struggle, stretching the limits, a challenge to be met.

During my years as a High School Principal, periodically, students would come in to transfer from a “harder” honors class to an “easier” regular class.  Knowing they were selling themselves short, I had a plan in place to help them try to stay in the class and grow.


I would often ask, “If given the choice between hard and easy, which will you choose?”  Of course, the answer would always be, “easy”.  It would be my first choice as well.


It was a 50-50 to 30-70 chance that I would convince them to stay the course in order for them to learn and grow, even if it meant a lower grade in the course.


Just a side note for those supervising up and coming employees:  Many young people moving into the workforce have chosen “easy” in their schooling and their parents have backed their choices.  How to get the most out of these employees is a subject for another day.


Effective Leadership calls us to step into “hard”.  We do not do this just for the sake of “hard” but because we know the results.  It is Transformational.


Notice the leaders you admire.  They just seem to endure the “hard” well.  In fact, it may appear that they thrive on the “hard”.


I would bet, deep down inside every leader who faces the “hard” longs for “easy”.  If given the choice, he/she would choose “easy”.


However, these leaders have trained and conditioned themselves to not see “easy” as a choice.  Here’s 3 reasons why:


Hard Leads to Something


Often, business is compared to athletic contests.  Athletes train through the “hard” and experience “hard” through adversity in the arena in order to gain the “win”.


Effective Leadership is tied to working through the “hard” to create a strong organization, team, outcome, etc.  Through experience, great leaders know “hard” leads to something…something better.


Hard Teaches Lessons


Many times, “hard” leads to undesirable results that many call…“failures”.  Effective Leadership is taking these results and storing them as experiences.


These “hard” results teach us how to (and not to) approach situations in the future.


Hard Creates Growth


Combining the prior two reasons of “hard” leading to something and teaching lessons, creates growth.


Effective Leadership values growth.  Growth of the leader, growth of the employees, growth of the company.


Leaders practicing Effective Leadership know that hard leads to growth.  As you watch a leader navigate “hard” as though it is second nature, remember that he/she knows, like developing muscles, creates growth outcomes.


The leader does not do “hard” for hard’s sake.  It has a purpose.  He/she have seen this in action before.


As you step further into Effective Leadership, what “hard” do you need to face, step into, endure?  Assess yourself with these questions:


Where am I choosing “easy” over “hard”?


               What barrier must I get past to step onto the “hard” path?


               Is “easy” getting me the results I want?


               What can I learn from the “hard” path?


               Who has taken the “hard” path that I could ask to mentor me?


Recognize that choosing the “hard” path does not always produce perfect results.  Effective Leadership still calls us to step onto the “hard” path with the knowledge that the experience, growth, lessons, results…always lead to something.  And that something will not be gained by taking the “easy” path.


I have been training Effective Leadership for many years.  Guiding people along the “hard” path is a specialty.  Set up a time for a FREE call about your path HERE.  I would love to guide you. Click here for a set of topics for coaching sessions.

Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

read more
middlemanagerEFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP | 3 Reasons to Choose the “Hard” Path

Executive Coaching

by middlemanager Comments Off on Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching

“I can’t lead my sales manager…This was a direct quote during an executive coaching session recently with a COO: “I can’t lead my sales manager, because I just can’t out argue him.”

This is the symptom of a common flaw I see frequently in companies and organizations. The flaw? Moving employees into management and leadership positions that either do not belong, or are not appropriately trained for the role.

Let’s use “George” as an example. George is COO and is struggling with a long time Sales Manager “Jim”, George’s direct report. George cannot get past Jim’s influence in the company. Jim has been with the company for years…he is loyal…he get’s results. And, George just cannot move Jim towards directions he needs Jim to go.

Can you relate? Are you in this situation right now? Do you have a fairly new executive in a role where he/she is experiencing this struggle? This is a very common issue.

It is not uncommon for a person like George to be placed into the role of COO and struggle with his direct reports who have been a part of the company for years. John C. Maxwell, in his book; The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, references this type of leader. You know who the leader is when you walk into the room. And in George’s case, he is not the leader, Jim is.

The common flaw of moving people into leadership roles shows up in several ways.

Competence in prior positions

– Simply said, these people move up because they are good at what they do. At each level prior to and executive position, these people have been some of the best in their roles. It makes sense to make the next move…into management or executive roles.


– These people have all the certifications, degrees, trainings, etc. This type of person has met all the prerequisites of the positions. I have witnessed 2 examples of this in my years of leading: 1) I have done executive coaching with leaders who hold MBAs and are very weak at supervision, leading, and communicating. 2) When I was a High School Principal, I experienced “certified” teachers who had the college credentials but really had no business being a teacher.

Tenure and Loyalty

– Many companies make a heart decision to move up the person who has been with the company for years as a reward. However, this many times sets up an epic fail. No matter how loyal this person has been, many times he/she is not management material. Even if he is a “Jim”. This does not translate into leading others at the executive level.

The overall philosophy and intent behind each of these flaws is logical and understandable. You saw something in your top employee.. The mistake is the preparation of the individual moving up.

Far too many promotions are performed based off of the assumption that this person is fully ready for the role. And far too many organizations do not spend time or money preparing the individual for his/her position. Furthermore, the above three reasons to promote should not be the only aspects reviewed when advancing someone.

It is difficult in our fast-paced world to be conscious of the need to intentionally prepare and train these potential executives for their roles.

The Value of Executive Coaching

This is where executive coaching can be of value. Two people need coaching in this scenario. The first is/are the executive(s) making the decision to advance or hire an individual for a key position. Coaching will help you look at all the angles and give you an outside perspective with no emotional ties.

Second, even with intentional preparation by the hiring executive, coaching is valuable to help the new leader in his/her role. Here are three initial ways I would approach help the individual in his/her new role:

    1. Listen and get to know.

Who are the influential people you will be supervising? Sit down and listen to them. Ask their opinion of the company. Ask their opinion of you. Find out what they think might be “broken”. Who are they connected to in the company? Pay attention to his/her influence. Begin to model the traits he/she exhibits. Don’t fake this modeling. Find a way to incorporate it into your personality.

    1. Make the influencer your ally…

Learn why he/she pushes agendas. Agree with them where you can. Befriend them as a mentor. Eventually, without manipulating, you will be able to plant suggestions this person will accept and advocate for you.

    1. Go beyond the “books and seminars” to learn…

Find a mentor. Go observe other experienced leaders in action. Join a leadership mastermind group. Bring your real-time scenarios to your coach. Let’s work on steps into your influence beyond just your title.

Who has time to pour into this new executive? Very few companies and organizations have the resources to create a training program for advancement. So, many new executives are sent to training seminars. I have gained some valuable information attending seminars. However, I typically apply about 2% to (if lucky) 10% of what I learned in a day-long seminar.

I enjoy conducting executive coaching seminars. But I realize that little of what I covered will be implemented.

Executive Coaching Opportunity

Executive coaching will allow your new leader an opportunity to experience frequent experiential contact with an individual who has an outside perspective. This executive coach can challenge, encourage, teach, mentor, guide, etc. this new leader drawing upon real-time experiences in the new role.

Furthermore, this coach would be in close contact with you reviewing the experience and progress. This frees up your time and resources. Ultimately, executive coaching costs far less than a program that your business may not be able to afford. Yet, the coaching gives your company a boost in leadership skills.

Which pain do you want to feel? The same pain of doing the same thing over and over with the same results? Or the pain of something new – like executive coaching – but a pain of change that lasts far less in duration and produces better results?

Take that leap. Set up a call today and let’s visit your executive coaching plan. Set up a FREE call now:

read more
middlemanagerExecutive Coaching

Types of Management Styles

by middlemanager Comments Off on Types of Management Styles

Types of Management Styles

In our western way of thinking, we typically categorize and define things, items, concepts, and/or entities in order to understand them.  This helps us to then analyze said categories and see if there is a path to growth around how we approach our world.

Management has been categorized in so many different ways with many opinions of the types of management styles.  Below is such a list.  Bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive list.  Furthermore, rarely does any one leader fall into only one of these short descriptions.  Likely, you could see yourself identifying with several of the these.

Read over these and see where you might land.  What do you identify with in these types?  What have you seen modeled?  Where do you want to improve?

The Autocrat

Also known as the authoritarian.  This type of manager has individual control without much input from subordinates.  This person typically makes decisions based on judgments and his/her own ideas.  Depending on what area this person manages, this could be a good type if the person is highly competent, oversees very few subordinates, and the task is low in relational need.  This type can stifle growth if he/she is managing many subordinates.

The Communicator

Of all the types of management styles, this one is good at conveying information and supplying subordinates with clear instructions.  This type is effective when it comes to a position that requires information above task completion.  However, the pure communicator may often use a lot of speech without depth.  He/she may also leave tasks unfinished.

Types of management styles – The Micro-manager

This type of manager closely supervises subordinates.  This person is highly competent and usually gained the position by working his/her way up.  The hands-on approach usually keeps a department running well.  The downfalls would be burn out, overload…leading to missed tasks, and a lack of freedom for the subordinates.

The Diplomat/Politician

This type of manager considers both the interests of others and the policies of the company.  This type is efficient when it comes to collaboration in relation to company values.  Two issues of this type of management are first, taking action may be slow.  Secondly, following company policy may become more important than relations and subordinate ideas about better policies.

The Servant

Of types of management styles, this one leads by example through working alongside the subordinates.  The attitude is that of, “I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”  And, this person puts that into practice.  The upside of this type is others feel the first time and mid-level manager is “in this” with them.  A downside would be there are no true boundaries or distinctions as to who is in charge.

The Example

Similar to “The Servant”, this manager points to the direction by doing.  The difference is this person doesn’t always get “in the trenches” with the subordinates.  However, he/she does listen and respect the team.  The upside is team members feel a part of the process and feel good about themselves.  The downside is that one might be able to tell who the leader is in given situations.

The Point Person (Follow me)

This type of manager is high in visionary leadership and energy.  The upside of this style is people will ride the wave of excitement and emotion to accomplish tasks.  A couple of downsides are 1) either the manager or the group will run out of energy at this pace and 2) this type or person can very easily get distracted by a new wave of energy and leave it up to the team to finish the tasks.

The Rules Follower

This style of management makes sure that the company standards, policies, mission, expectations, and rules are followed.  The strength of this manager is following established company practices and policies that are usually successful.  He/she can be the go-to person when making decisions based on the knowledge of those policies.  The downfall of this type of manager is relational and communication awareness may fall to the wayside.

Types of Management Styles -The Detached

This style of manager takes a detached, compartmentalizing approach to leading the team.  The task and work come before small talk and relationship.  The strength of this type is task orientation and the ability to cut through relational issues to finish.  The downfall of this type is unapproachability.

The General

This management type keeps the objective front and center.  Not only is the objective important, all training and focus is pointed to finishing said objective.  The advantage of this type of style is company goals are met more often than not.  The shortcomings of this style are:  1) This manager is always looking for a “fight to win” and is hard to deal with when there is no fight.  2) This style can lean too deep into dictatorial leadership.

The Dreamer

This type of manager calls on intuition, is innovative, and casts vision.  This person knows the direction the team or organization should be heading and can manage change well.  A strength of this type is the ability to be steady and calm in chaos.   A downfall of this type could be twofold: 1) This person can become tyrannical and not open to other’s visions and thoughts.  2) This person casts vision, but does not clearly instruct those carrying out the vision, leading to frustration.

Types of Management Styles – The Coach

This type of manager involves the subordinate in goal-setting, gives regular feedback, sets up clear accountability expectations, and is focused on individualized development.  Two upsides to this style:  1) Today’s subordinate is responding well to this style.  2) Subordinates feel a part of the process and therefore trend toward positive productivity.  There are two main downsides to this style:  1) Working this style with “old school” subordinates alongside the younger generation may prove to be difficult.  2)  If not aware, the manager can create a loose environment and thus subordinates empower themselves in unhealthy ways.

The Collaborator

In this type, the manager does not lead alone.  He/she involves other in decisions, projects, objectives, and goals.  An advantage of this type is subordinates feel empowered, take ownership, and should be more productive.   A common set-back of this style can be decisions bogging down as it usually takes time to come to consensus.

The Buddy

This type of manager is highly relational and allows subordinates to feel he/she is approachable at any time, wants to be a regular in the group, and creates an atmosphere of low stress.  An advantage of this type is the openness of the relationship.  This allows for innovation and ideas from talented subordinates.  A downfall would be a loose atmosphere and a feeling of “who is in charge here?”

So…where do you land.  Did you identify with 2-3 types?  What characteristics of some of these are within your style?  What do you want to pull form another style to improve your own?

Something I have found true both for myself and for those managers I have coached:  No one book, mentor, guide, seminar, etc. will help you develop your style and effectiveness.  It takes a combination of some of the above characteristics, emotional maturity, experience, and a willingness to try new methods to help shape you.

Connect with me, I would love to know how your lead and manage.  I would love to help you shape your types of management styles.  Set up a FREE call now:

read more
middlemanagerTypes of Management Styles

My Direct report is Commonly on the Defensive…

by middlemanager Comments Off on My Direct report is Commonly on the Defensive…

My Direct Report is Commonly on the Defensive

Have you experienced that one direct report that seems to take it personally when you direct, correct, or instruct?  He/she seems to be on the defensive when you are leading.  You may have even tried a different approach.  Nothing works.  Instead of trying on a different behavior, maybe it is time for a shift in mindset and approach.  Take a mindset of, “How am I contributing to this?”

First of all, let me re-assure you of your authority and position.  You are boss.  At any time, you can chalk this up to insubordination and terminate the contract.  However, knowing you are reading this, I suspect you want to adjust your approach to move this direct report in a direction that helps you and the organization.

To move forward and improve the relationship and the direct report’s motivation requires a shift in mindset.  Before addressing the employee, ask yourself these three questions:

                What assumptions am I voicing or about to voice?

                Does my approach feel like an attack on his/her character?

                How would I like to be approached on this issue?

 So, let’s more closely look at each of these:

  • My Assumptions: This is a difficult communication shift.  Often, we mix unarguable facts with assumptions and judgments.  Example: “It looks like your time management bit you and the pressure to get this report finished led to mistakes.”  The assumption is poor time management.  The fact is “mistakes”.  Address only the facts.  “Hey.  We need to discuss this report.  I found a few errors.”  Nothing puts a person on the defensive faster than our spoken assumptions, judgments, and perceptions.  Leave them out of your initial communication and speak to the facts.  You may follow up later by asking if they are open to an opinion of what might have led to the facts.


  • Separating Their Character from the Behavior: As much as we hate to dance around it, the ego is always involved.  There are very few front-line direct reports who have polished emotional intelligence therefore have trouble separating their ego from their work.  Constructive criticism, correction, direction, instruction all touch the character button.  Our task as a leader is to help them separate these.  This can be accomplished by…
    • First honor the effort and intent by the direct report, then point out the correction needed. Follow up with a positive about who they are and how it shows up in their work.
    • Regularly point out positives in their work. Catch them doing something good and voice it.
    • Sometimes…we just have address it directly. “Hey, I need to redirect you on something.  I need you to know that I am not attacking you personally.  I just want to address the work itself.”


  • The Golden Rule: If my boss were approaching me on an issue like this…how would I want to be addressed?  Keep in mind that you are in your leadership role partially because you have been able to handle correction, etc.  You may have to reach into a different arena in your life to find where you would be triggered by criticism.  From that place, ask yourself, “How would I like him to address me differently?”  Then, apply this to your direct report.

All in all, this approach takes little effort and possibly 30 seconds of extra time and communication.  The key is a shift in mindset and approach.  This shift can pay huge dividends in moving your direct report forward without as much resistance as before.

If you found this topic helpful, look our Coaching Sessions topic page here and see if any others may be your need waiting to be coached.

If you are interested in diving deeper into this sort of shift and communication style, then contact me here.  Let’s set up a time to talk.


*Photo credit Creative Commons

read more
middlemanagerMy Direct report is Commonly on the Defensive…

The Top 5 Essential Strategies to Slowing Down the Game

by middlemanager Comments Off on The Top 5 Essential Strategies to Slowing Down the Game

Slowing Down The Game

I coached high school varsity athletics for 20 years. One of the lessons I learned early on is the adjustment first-time varsity athletes have to make to this level of play. 

At each level of athletic play, the game gets “faster”.  Athletes grow, get stronger, get faster, and gain experience. 

One of the high water marks is high school Varsity.  In most cases, the jump from junior high or middle school to high school is large.  The speed of the game weeds out many athletes.   

The levels of college and pro narrows this number even further.  The success of the athlete moving up depends on the adjustment to the speed of the game. 

For the successful athlete, the game seems to slow down, thus, slowing down the game.

An interesting example of slowing down the game from the fictional movie The Matrix. In the movie, Neo, the main character, goes through the adjustment of how the matrix works. 

In the end, the bullets slow down and he is able to handle dangers at a quick pace.

Moving out of the everyday job and into supervisory roles such as managers and the like is a very similar adjustment.

When first promoted, many times, a manager is overwhelmed by the speed of the position. 

This happens at every level as one moves up.  The “speed of the game” is too fast at first.  This is a true pivotal point in a person’s carrier. 

Unfortunately, many managers fail for lack of guidance or remain in their positions until they are fired or they burn out.  However, many become quite successful. 

Below are five essential strategies to help in slowing down the game:

Do not give up!

Perseverance is key. You may be closer to your goal than you think.

A line from Edgar A. Guest’s poem You Musn’t Quit gives us a powerful reminder. “…you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems afar…”

Get help.

Find a mentor who is or has been in your position. Hire a coach to guide you.

Many companies have a training budget to help you grow in your position.

Increase your level of competence.

Admit to yourself that you are not where you want to be. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Do what you need to strengthen the weaknesses.

Below will be a helpful assessment on knowing your competence level.

Gain experience by learning from experiences.

Whether or not you believe in Jesus, he had some great words of wisdom. In Matthew 7:24-27, he describes the difference between the wise and the foolish. The wise hear his words and put them into practice.

To slow the game down, one must learn from experiences and apply the learning.

Work extra.

This is tricky. This can create a “workaholic” pattern. However, early on in the position, extra time is essential.

Much like a player staying after practice for extra work on a shot, catches, groundballs, swings, etc.

Putting these five strategies into practice will help you begin to find some comfort in your position.

There is no magic pill or perfect formula to reach the point of when the game actually slows down. 

However, with practice, you will look up and notice a sense of slowing down the game and the feeling of “I’ve got this!”

A great place to start is to know your level of competence. Below are the Four Stages of Competence

This a commonly used measurement and applies well to a promoted person’s self-assessment. 

Look over each stage and determine where you fall as far as your personal supervisory and management skills are concerned.  What will it take to create a sense of slowing down the game? Where do you need to improve?  What will it take to get there?

Unconscious incompetence

– You don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t realize you don’t know it. What you are experiencing is foreign and you just have no experience in this area.

Conscious incompetence

– You now realize that you do not know. Now you can begin to learn what you need to become competent. Learning form mistakes is key.

Conscious competence

– You are now beginning to get the hang of your tasks. You are successful but it still takes effort and concentration.

Unconscious competence

– No the game has slowed down. Accomplishing tasks is natural. You have integrated yourself into your role. You are now able to think and apply outside the parameters set by the position.

I would love to help guide you and coach you to reach your highest level of competence in all areas.

Looking for guidance to slowing down the game? Click here and set up a FREE CALL with me to see how coaching can work for you.

read more
middlemanagerThe Top 5 Essential Strategies to Slowing Down the Game

4 Essential Building Blocks of a Leader

by middlemanager Comments Off on 4 Essential Building Blocks of a Leader


4 Essential Building Blocks of a Leader

“What are some essential building blocks of a leader?” 

“What are the building blocks of a leader?” 

“How do I know I am a leader?” 

“Nobody asks me to be a leader for them.” 

“Someone told me I’d be a great leader one day, but no one has shown me how.”   

Above are some of the statements and questions I have heard through the years related to stepping into leadership.  At various times in my life, I have made similar statements.  While growing in my leadership and watching others lead, I have noticed four key characteristics that all leaders possess. These are essential building blocks of a leader

One of the building blocks of a leader:


To lead…a leader has to make a move.  A leader must have a certain level of decisiveness.  This initiative and decisiveness shows up in several ways:

    • To become a leader, a person must take and show initiative by asking. I notice people who want to be leaders yet sit in the woods and voice a faint cry of, “Pick me…notice me.”  Furthermore, a person may begin to manipulate his/her way into leadership by making multiple suggestions or asking many questions all in an effort to push an agenda.  This person does this because he/she does not feel the power of authority.  Regardless of the approach, this person never asks to be a leader. Personally, how did I move to each of my leadership roles?  I asked.
    • The leader must do more than want and dream. Dreams are great.  They become visions, plans, and outcomes when the leader takes action.
    • A leader must step into his power. Step through barriers of fear and complacency.  Step in, not on.  Be assertive yet sensitive.  Use the God-given power, not power up.
    • Avoid being the victim and take responsibility. Avoid blaming people or circumstances and own choices and decisions.

Another of the building blocks of a leader:


Both becoming a leader and leading others requires patience.  Once one has asked to lead, a good balance of patience and initiative is required.  Stepping into leadership requires skills to learned, training, apprenticing, etc. before moving forward.  Leading people requires trust in you…and trust takes time.  Here are some other points about patience:

  • Some things just take time. If a leader rushes a process, he could actually create setbacks.
  • A leader must know how to submit to the leadership over him. Patience allows for that submission to bear fruit.
  • Learning methods, people, terms, protocols; takes time. Let it unfold.
  • Pay attention. A leader has his thumb on the pulse of the group he is leading.  Patience creates room for growth and movement.
  • Watch for opportunities. As one aspires to be a leader, he must watch for leadership opportunities.  Once in the role, a leader is attuned to new opportunities.

Furthering the buildings block of a leader:


All leaders possess a certain amount of knowledge in their area.  Most leaders have a vast amount of knowledge, that’s partially how they moved into leadership.  A leader is a “sponge”.  He is constantly soaking up knowledge.  Here are some other important effects of knowledge on leadership:

  • Leaders tap into previous knowledge. What a leader carries experience-wise is quite helpful.
  • Leaders continue to learn about leadership. They stay in contact with other leaders and soak in all they can.  It’s been said, “The day we stop learning is the day we die.”
  • Leaders are continually learning about themselves. They continue to learn, look at and work on their gifts, their triggers, their wants, their dark places, their stretches, their weaknesses, and their strengths.

The final building block of a leader:


In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus compares the difference between the wise and the foolish builders.  What is the difference?  The wise man “…hears these words of mine and puts them into practice…”  This is what I call the “get busy” characteristic.  A leader must apply his skill and knowledge.

  • A leader uses what he knows. Knowledge is no good unused.  Application of that knowledge is powerful.
  • The application must fit the leader’s personality, be authentic, and natural. A true leader’s personal touch and style becomes apparent.
  • A leader applies his knowledge and skill everywhere; not just where he leads. To be authentic as a leader, one must live what he believes.

By far, this is not an exhaustive list of building blocks of a leader.  However, when assessing leaders, one would find all four of these characteristics at work in a leader’s everyday guidance.  Not all leaders begin with these characteristics.  For some, the skills have to be taught, noticed, developed, and/or awakened.  For some leaders, these are natural gifts.  But for all leaders, these four are both basic building blocks and essential.

If you want to develop your leadership to the point of moving into a leader’s role, then contact me here.  Employers, if you see leadership potential in an employee and want to develop him/her, then contact me to help here.

read more
middlemanager4 Essential Building Blocks of a Leader

Efficient Leadership | Measure Twice, Cut Once

by middlemanager Comments Off on Efficient Leadership | Measure Twice, Cut Once

Efficient Leadership | Measure twice, cut once

A basic key to efficient leadership is clear communication.  Those who build things learn to live by the phrase, “Measure twice, cut once”. If one miss measures and the piece is too short, then another piece has to be cut at the cost of time and materials.  If one miss measures and the piece is too long, then time is wasted making another cut.  Practicing efficient leadership and to measure twice, is to be clear and certain the piece will fit the first time.

This phrase came to mind recently as I was working with a management team for a company I had been consulting with. We were talking about how to hold employees accountable to instructions and job expectations.  One overlooked area in efficient leadership, when it comes to holding people in account, is the clarity of the initial instruction.  The question is, “Does the employee have clear instruction, or is it assumed he/she does?”  We then talked about strategies for communicating clear instructions.  That’s when the phrase above really came to mind.

What was discussed in that meeting is true for our everyday life.   Between parent and child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend, clear expectations and communication is one key to avoiding wasted time and effort fixing what should have been clear all along.  There really are some simple steps to communicating clearly that admittedly, most of us do not practice.  These steps only take a few seconds to a few moments longer and could save us hours of extra work in the long run.  Measure twice, cut once.  Below are three steps that can allow us to avoid the results of what I sometimes call “assumicide”.  These are the first steps into efficient leadership.

First, repeat what was said and/or expected.

When I have an expectation, I should take an extra 30 seconds and repeat that expectation.

Second, have the expectation mirrored back to you.

“What did you hear me say?” This allows us to hear how we are perceived. All of us have perception filters we process messages through. Hearing back allows me to make sure my intent was communicated correctly. This allows for clarity if needed.

Third, summarize.

“To be clear, we agree to…” “If I am hearing all this right, we will…” The summary is one last verification that all parties are on the same page. This allows for any new wrinkles to the expectation to be added or taken away.

These all seem very simple…and they are. However, putting them into practice takes time.  I know that for myself, I tend to assume too much and take for granted the relationship I am in.  The result is I become disappointed when my expectation is not met.  Sometimes, I try to hold the other party accountable when there really was no clear agreement.  This only causes an undue emotional reaction on my part.  At this point, I am out of balance and cause a conflict where there should not be one.  When I practice three steps above, holding someone accountable now points to the agreement and not something I assumed. This aids in efficient leadership.

Where can you apply some or all of these steps to your everyday communications? How will you benefit?  How will those around you benefit?  Begin by taking baby steps by practicing some of these with those closest to you.  Add this short method into your workplace communication.  The results may surprise you.

Want to grow more into your efficient leadership?  Click here for a set of topics for coaching sessions.  Set up a call today and let’s visit:

Photo Credit: Sean McEntee via Creative Commons

read more
middlemanagerEfficient Leadership | Measure Twice, Cut Once

4 Reasons Why “Clean Talk Communication” is Important

by middlemanager Comments Off on 4 Reasons Why “Clean Talk Communication” is Important

4 Reasons Why “Clean Talk Communication” is Important

During some of my recent coaching sessions, I have both noticed my clients leaning toward wordiness and/or my clients would have to address wordiness in others.

Furthermore, part of our work in The Crucible Project is the encouraging of each person to practice clean talk communication. In other words, avoid story and speak to the point. I had always heard that “less is more”.

Now as I coach others in their jobs, and everyday life, I am beginning to understand “clean talk communication” in a deeper way.

read more
middlemanager4 Reasons Why “Clean Talk Communication” is Important

10 Essentials for the First Time Manager

by middlemanager Comments Off on 10 Essentials for the First Time Manager

The First Time Manager | Middle Manager Coach

The first time manager and mid-level manager has a special place in my heart for various reasons. I’d like to explain one of the top reasons. I see a phenomenon that occurs when someone is moved into management for the first time. He/she has been highly competent and dedicated in performing job tasks of a particular area.

He/she is loyal to the company. It makes sense that there is a natural progression upward into a management position. In most cases, the employee knows the department well. He/she could probably work any position in that department. However, working in the department and managing the department are two different things.

Furthermore, employers, upper management, CEOs, and owners do not have the time to mentor the new manager.

read more
middlemanager10 Essentials for the First Time Manager

3 Practices of the First-Time Manager: Possessing, Modeling, and Empowering

by middlemanager Comments Off on 3 Practices of the First-Time Manager: Possessing, Modeling, and Empowering

3 Practices of the First-Time Manager

One summer, I drove and staffed our youth mission trip at Camp Barnabas in Missouri. This is a camp ministry for children and adults with special needs and some disabilities (many spectrums of Autism and Down’s Syndrome). This is a wonderful ministry and for the sake of this article, a great place for young leaders to begin practicing their call as leaders. My observations reminded me of the leadership of the first-time manager.

read more
middlemanager3 Practices of the First-Time Manager: Possessing, Modeling, and Empowering