Archive for the ‘Expectations’ Category

Are you a good leader?

March 19th, 2018 No comments

I’ll never forget when a mentor asked me:

Are you a good leader?

Duh, all of the reasons why people wanted to be in my org went through my mind. She knew that my organizations had exceeded expectations the last three years……then a nagging feeling took hold of me. I asked why she was asking this question? She asked another question:

How many of the people reporting to me today, could deliver the results in two years?

Again that avoidance thing rushed forward to protect my fragile ego…I tried to avoid answering the question by debating the number years. She wouldn’t have it! I tried to protect myself knowing full well that she was about to crush my ego and educate me! Here is what she had to say:

Good for me that the teams were delivering above expectations but I was still a key ingredient of the recipe. Because I wasn’t growing leaders to replace me, or grow leaders to export; this all all about me and my ego. I making sure that I was an integral ingredient of the recipe, thereby making sure that I was needed.

Ouch!! Since then, I now operate in a manner to try to put myself out of a job. It is waaaayyyy more difficult than it sounds and I continue to struggle with it, to get more interesting posts to read, we recommend to check the new peloton compatible shoes review. All of this being said, I can now say that I have managed to help a number of people to grow into roles where they are now working on this same challenge.

How many leaders have you helped create?

Higher ethics = less $

May 17th, 2012 No comments

Hmmmmm.  Considering all of the bale outs and the increased diligence on keeping companies honest, it seems that higher ethics are not valued.  At least that is according to this Harvard Business Review email.


Categories: Expectations, Management Tags:

Glass half-full or half-empty?

March 14th, 2010 No comments

Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

Too often we look at the glass being half-empty which leads us to be perceived as negative, a downer or even not being a team player.

Try to look at things from the perspective of the fish.  There is water in the glass and therefore things are good.

Having the self awareness to know that there is still room for more water is good and we can make efforts to add more water to the glass but don’t forget that there is already water in the glass.

Categories: Behavior, Emotions, Expectations Tags:

Meeting Purpose

August 19th, 2009 No comments

I recently had the opportunity to chat with a senior executive of a multi-Billion $ company. He shared his guidelines around meetings, or more specifically his expectations of the meeting organizer.  He expects the meeting organizer to define what they expect from him.  Is the purpose of the meeting to Inform him, for him to provide Input or for him to make a Decision because he will adjust his behavior accordingly.

Meeting Purpose Exec Behavior
Inform Listen and ask clarifying questions
Brainstorming Active participation and provide Input
Decision Listen and make a Decision

He made it clear that if the meeting organizor did not explain what they want to achieve at a meeting, his admin will decline the meeting request.  Since he adopted this behavior, he mentioned that 90% of his meetings tend to end earlier too.

Categories: Behavior, Expectations Tags:

Lesson Learned: Promotions are not about you!

June 7th, 2009 No comments

Way, way back I was promoted to my first management position.  The conversation with my boss went something along the following lines.

Boss: It sounds like you were expecting the promotion?

Me: Yep, I worked my butt for this .  (rather smugly) (Looking back I was an arrogant little sh1t)

Boss: So you see this promotion as a reward?

Me:  Oh yes! (laughing)

Boss: I see it differently.  The promotion is not a reward for your hard work!  That is why I gave you a bonus.  I promoted you because the department needs someone who to lead the team and offload the day-to-day management tasks from me.  This promotion means that I need you to step up into this new role and perform.  It will be a stretch for you and you have a lot to learn but I think that you can do it.

Me: What do I need to learn?

Boss:  You will need to learn management skills, improve your project management skills to handle multiple simultaneous projects and people.  And of course budgeting too.

Me: No problem!  I will prove that I am worth the investment.

Boss:  I am investing in you and you are a high risk investment at that!  You have great technical skills but now you need to learn the additional skills to perform as a manager.  Basically you only have 25% of the skills to needed to perform as a manager!  I am prepared to take the risk for a limited time and you need to demonstrate progress week by week.  I can only give around 6 months to get up to speed and deliver.

Me:  No problem


Wow, boy was that a boatload of work!  I learned a multitude of extremely valuable lessons from that promotion and the ensuing years of work.  Here are the top lessons that I learned in the those six months.

  • People are promoted into positions to meet the needs of the business.

  • The learning phase never ends but there is a limited amount of time that the business can wait for you to learn and gather the skills needed to perform at the level needed.

control what you can control

June 3rd, 2009 No comments

Earlier this week, I was a coach at a function that was targeted at managers.  The event provided a forum for the managers to share experiences on how they overcame the plethora of management challenges encountered in this recession.

During the discussions, it became extremely evident, to me, that some of the managers were worried about any cuts that the company have to make to survive. I provided them the following guidance:

“control what you can, know what you cannot control, and make peace with it”


control what you can (green)

This takes a significant amount of effort because it takes a constant level of vigilant awareness to look for new opportunities.

Here are some examples of what can be controlled:

  • your boss & peers
  • your actions, attitude and demeanor

I put boss & peers down as items that can be controlled because they can be influenced if you have the credibility and trust established.

know what you cannot control, and make peace with it (red)

The key here is know your limitations, the constraints that have been imposed on you and to make peace with it.  It just does not help to beat yourself up about the stuff that you cannot control.  Here are some examples of things that we cannot control:

  • the weather
  • the economy
  • senior management (assuming that they are more than 2 levels of separation)

So if you cannot control things like this, it just does not help to worry or beat yourself about things like this.  So make peace with things and focuss your efforts and energy on the things that you can control.

Categories: Behavior, Expectations Tags:

moving into management

January 13th, 2009 No comments

One of the common questions I get about moving to the next level via the management road.  i.e.  should I move from an individual contributor role into management ?  Or should I move into a 2nd level management position from a 1st level management position?  To help highlight the difference, here is how I see the differences.

Individual Contributor

  • deliver the results
  • role skills – the skills are task related
  • communication skills definitely help
  • realistic work forecasting is a significant benefit

1st level manager

  • care about the people on the team
  • deliver the results as part of the team
  • still have the role skills – not only for IC deliverables but also for coaching employees
  • IC recruiting
  • communication skills
  • start to understand how to grow people
  • need to do work allocation for the team
  • responsible for the well being of the team
  • work forecasting needs to be done for the team
  • soft skills to deal with people (down, peer and up)
  • delegation – most difficult one – how to delegate work to the team

2nd level manager

  • people
  • deliver the results through the work of others
  • people growth
  • manager recruiting
  • succession planning
  • communication, negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • realistic work forecasting needs to be done for the team
  • need to deal across groups, ideally joint objectives
  • soft skills to deal with people
  • budgeting
  • manage team visibility

Please let me know if I missed anything.

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