Thursday, February 26, 2009

16 Supervisor Competencies of Note

16 Supervisor Competencies* of note that apply, equally, to assistant managers, managers, directors, senior directors, vice presidents, senior vice presidents, executives and all leaders, for that matter, as well:

  1. Influence – Persuading others to accept a desired point of view; gaining support and commitment from others; and effectively change in behavior of others
  2. Facilitation – Leading meetings or group efforts without directing the outcome; creating an environment of openness and trust; and leading groups to decisions where all participants feel a sense of ownership
  3. Planning and Organizing – Developing comprehensive project plans; monitoring progress against goals; assigning clear responsibilities; and breaking work down into manageable portions
  4. Analysis – Gathering relevant information; considering broad range of issues and factors; perceiving relationships among diverse information; and using logic effectively
  5. Decision Making – Making timely and effective decisions
  6. Delegating – Assigning tasks effectively to others while maintaining responsibility for results; considering skill-level of employees and challenge-level of assignments given
  7. Follow-up and Commitment – Following plans through to closure; persisting despite obstacles; keeping their word
  8. Communication – Insuring that the messages that they intend to have received by others are the same as the ones that actually are received
  9. Listening – Demonstrating attention to, and conveying understanding of, others
  10. Managing Conflict – Identifying sources of conflict; using conflict as a constructive process to exchange ideas; keeping energy focused on desired outcomes, rather than on what they feel is happening “to” them
  11. Fostering Teamwork – Clarifying roles and responsibilities with an eye beyond whatever crisis is driving current behaviors
  12. Technical/Functional Expertise - Possesses current knowledge of profession and industry and is regarded as an expert
  13. Time Management – Setting efficient work priorities; working on several tasks simultaneously; effectively balancing important and urgent – and short-term and longer-term – tasks
  14. Motivating Others – Encouraging others to achieve desired results; creating enthusiasm and commitment in others
  15. Coaching and Developing Others – Giving timely, specific, constructive feedback; and providing challenging, developmental assignments
  16. Providing Direction – Providing clear direction and sets clear priorities; fosters a common vision
from "New Supervisor Training" by John E. Jones, and Chris W. Chen

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Put the Big Rocks First

[An oldie, but goodie from Daniel Scocco - in his own words - originally posted at:]
Stephen Covey is one of my favorite authors. In the book “First Things First” he describes a story that one of his associates experienced on a seminar. In the middle of the lecture the presenter pulled out a wide-mouth jar and placed it on the table, aside to some fist-sized rocks.

After filling the jar to the top with rocks he asked, “Is the jar full?”

People could see that no more rocks would fit, so they replied, “Yes!”

“Not so fast,” he cautioned. He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked, “Is the jar full?”

This time the students replied “Probably not.”

The presenter then reached a bucket of sand below the table, and dumped it on the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks and the gravel. Once again he asked “Is the jar full?”

“No!”, the students shouted.

Finally, he grabbed a pitcher of water and filled the jar completely, asking to the public what they could learn from that illustration.

One of the participants answered, “If you work at it, you can always fit more into your life.”

“No,” said the presenter. “The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first. . . would you ever have gotten any of them in?”

Daniel completes the post by asking: What are [your] big rocks? More importantly, are you making sure that they are going first into the jar?

Thanks, Daniel! I was looking on the web for the retelling of this story. Yours is the best one I found.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Super-Serve Your Sphere of Influence

As reported in today's Chicago Tribune, ESPN will, starting in April, "launch its first Web site devoted to local sports fans." While this may be excellent news for sports fans here in the Chicagoland area, that's not what prompted this post. Rather it was how Marc Horine, vice president with ESPN digital media, spoke about it:

"At its core, the mission is simple: to super-serve Chicago sports fans."
To "super-serve" -- that's what appealed to me, particularly how it applies to leadership and being a better leader.

Recall a prior GottaGettaBLOG! post about an executive's sphere of influence and ...
  • Consider how you, as a leader, might "super-serve" Up the Chain (your boss, Board, and key stakeholders).
  • Consider how you, as a leader, might "super-serve" Employees (your direct reports, their direct reports, and other personnel).
  • Consider how you, as a leader, might "super-serve" External Contacts (customers, vendors, and other outside partners).
  • Consider how you, as a leader, might "super-serve" Co-Workers (peers, team members, other internal contacts).

Consider what you might do differently -- read: better -- if you approached your leadership responsibilities from the "super-serve" perspective ... not just as a servant leader, but as a SUPER-servant leader.

What might it look like if you tried that on today?

  • What might you say differently?
  • What might you ask differently?
  • What might you do differently?
  • How might you listen differently?
  • Who else might you talk with?
  • Where else would you spend your time?
  • What else would you think about?
  • What else would you likely learn or be interested about?

Similarly, what might it look like if others in your sphere of influence tried that on today?

  • What might they say differently?
  • What might they ask differently?
  • What might they do differently?
  • How might they listen differently?
  • Who else might they talk with?
  • Where else would they spend their time?
  • What else would they think about?
  • What else would they likely learn or be interested about?

Super-serving doesn't really take all that much extra time or effort. It's more about where you're "coming from" with the things you already think, feel, say, and do. If you "come from" a respectful place, it's easier to be all-the-more respectful. If you "come from" an inquisitive place, it's easier to be all-the-more inquisitive, etc.

So, too, if you "come from" a judgmental place, it's easier to be all-the-more judgmental. But that's not really super-serving anyone, now, is it?!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is This You?!

Cat: Bah.
Dog: Do you know the only thing you're good at is complaining?
Cat: Yes.
Cat: Practice makes perfect.
courtesy of Mutts, 2/17/2009

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Friday, February 13, 2009

The Heart of Effective Personal Management

Inspired by meeting with a team of managers yesterday, I reopened my old, worn, highlighted, dog-eared, Post-It Note-filled copy of Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to the section about the Time Management Matrix:

Some definitions:

  • Urgent activities requires immediate attention. "Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us; they insist on action." We REACT to urgent. They seek our attention. Addressing a crisis is urgent, even if it isn't always always important.
  • Important activities, on the other hand, have more to do with opportunities. "If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals. Important matters that are not urgent require our initiative to get going."

Identifying and addressing the Root Cause of a crisis is important, as example, but urgency often "trumps" important. Too, if we don't know, or aren't quite sure about, what IS important, we'll almost certainly automatically default to working on only what's urgent, whether it's important or not.

The Four Categories or Quadrants of Activities:

  1. Activities that are both urgent and important (Quadrant I)
  2. Activities that are not as urgent as other things, but nevertheless important (Quadrant II)
  3. Activities that may be urgent, but are not particularly important (Quadrant III)
  4. Activities that are neither urgent, nor important (Quadrant IV)

What happens when you over-focus on the Urgent/Important (Quadrant I) -- intentionally or not?

"As long as you focus on Quadrant I," says Covey, "it keeps getting bigger and bigger until it dominates you. It's like the pounding surf. A huge problem comes in and knocks you down and you're wiped out. You struggle back up only to face another one that knocks you down and slams you to the ground.

"Some people are literally beaten up by problems all day every day. The only relief they have is in escaping to the Not Important/Not Urgent activities of Quadrant IV. So when you look at their total matrix, 90 percent of their time is in Quadrant I and most of the remaining 10% is in Quadrant IV, with only negligible attention paid to Quadrants II and III. That's how people who manage their lives by crisis live."

What happens when you over-focus on the Urgent/Not Important (Quadrant III) -- intentionally or not?

This quadrant is particularly important to understand as, per Covey, there are many people who spend a great deal of time in Quadrant III, thinking they're actually in Quadrant I.

But the reality of the situation is that the urgency they feel for these matters is often based on the certainly pressing, but possibly unimportant, requests and wishes of others.

What happens when you over-focus on the Not Urgent/Not Important (Quadrants III and IV) -- intentionally or not?

Simply said, "People who spend time almost exclusively in Quadrants III and IV basically lead irresponsible lives."

Quadrant II -- The Heart of Effective Personal Management
Quadrant II deals with things that are not urgent, but ARE important. "All the things we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren't urgent," live in Quadrant II.

The most effective people have figured out how to spend most of their time in Quadrant II. In this regard, "Effective people are not problem-minded; they opportunity minded."

That's because Quadrant II activities can have a tremendously positive impact -- on how things go ... on what happens next ... on how you and others think ... on what you and others think about ... on what becomes doable ... on what is improved ... on what can be accomplished.

So given that,

  • What can you start doing (or start doing more of) to get more into Quadrant II-type stuff?
  • What can you stop doing (or start doing less of ) to get more into Quadrant II-type stuff?

Hey, I know that these questions may not be all that easy for you to answer. But consider:

If you find yourself saying that you're too busy to even try and answer them, trust me -- while they may not be the most urgent questions for you to answer, they just might be two of the more important ones that have come your way in quite some time!

That's what's at the heart of effective personal management.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What Makes Good Employees "Quit" Helps Better Employees "Stay"

According to a February 10, 2009, USA TODAY Snapshot survey*, here are the top 5 reasons why good employees quit:

  • 35% -- Unhappiness with management
  • 33% -- Limited opportunities for advancement
  • 13% -- Lack of recognition
  • 13% -- Inadequate salary and benefits
  • 1% -- Being bored

Okay, fine. But how many of those "good employees" found the same or similar issues recurring in their next job? My guess: Most of them. Why?

Because life likes to repeat its tests until its lessons are learned!

Now contrary to what you may be thinking, the Lessons-to-be-Learned here are NOT about what CAUSES a boss to fall out of favor with a direct report (35% of the "problem") or HOW COME opportunities for job advancement are so limited (33%), or WHY there's a lack of recognition (13%), or inadequate salary and benefits (13%), etc.

Nay, the Lessons-to-be-Learned are actually quite different. They are:

  1. How can you PREVENT such things from happening in the first place? and
  2. What steps can you take to better RECOGNIZE, ADDRESS, AND RESOLVE these issues once they start up again?

(To get you thinking in the right direction, let me suggest that it has a LOT to do with knowing what's important -- as in really and truly important -- to you and engaging your boss to work with you in making them more of a reality in your current job.)

That said, what's something you totally know about what's really and truly important to you that your boss seemingly doesn't realize? How might you establish an ongoing dialogue between the two of you on exactly that?


* based on a Robert Half International survey of 150 senior executives

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Fast-Track the Possibilities

Quick -- Name one thing you can do, one person you can call, or one thought you can complete, in the next 10 minutes, that could make a difference.

Then fast-track the possibilities before you get distracted by something else.

Name one step you can take, one question you can ask, or one idea you can share, in the next 15 minutes, that could increase your impact.

Fast-track those possibilities before you talk yourself out of them.

Name one step you can build on, one conclusion you can re-validate, or one recommendation you can support, in the next 30 minutes, that could truly help make things better.

Fast-track the possibilities before you forget what you were even thinking about.

Use the next hour to get that much more interested what possibilities are readily available to you, to become that much more aware of the possibilities around you, and to commit that much more fully to furthering these possibilities, sooner, rather than later ... rather than not at all.

Quick -- fast-track the possibilities before the moment is gone.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Should New Coaches Niche or Not?

Had the opportunity to be interviewed by Don Morris of the New Coach Connection for a podcast on the pros and cons of less experienced coaches choosing niches.

(direct download)

Click on the arrow to the listen to the podcast -- running time: About 50 minutes -- or use this link to download the interview to your local computer.

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