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8 Signs You May Be a Meddling Manager


8 Signs you may be a meddling manager (or person, for that matter):

1. It’s not enough that people answer you one time.

You have this need to know everything, even if you tell yourself and others you don’t.

2. They have to answer you multiple times. About the same topic and/or question.

This is often tied to a control issue, and can be misunderstood as a trust issue by the recipient of the questioning.

The-best-executive-is-one-who-has-sense-enough-to-pick-good-people-to-do-what-he-wants-done,-and-self-restraint-enough-to-keep-from-meddling-with-them-while-they-do-it.3. It’s not enough that they have to answer you multiple times about the same topic or question. They have to do that on multiple days and occasions. It becomes a lifestyle.

This becomes frustrating to them, which in turn frustrates you to see that they’re frustrated with you.

4. It’s not enough that people answer your questions. They also have to justify their answers to you. You need their rationale. All. The. Time.

Eventually their answers alone aren’t enough. You need to know why. Every time.

5. It’s not enough that people justify their answers to you. They have to justify their answers to you repeatedly. Remember that lifestyle thing? Yeah.

It becomes a vicious and exhausting cycle.

6. It’s not enough that people justify themselves to you repeatedly. They have to justify themselves repeatedly to you until they provide a justification you deem valid.

At this point, though you wouldn’t say it like this, you really are, for all practical purposes, wanting this person to think exactly like you. It begins to seem like you might just secretly feel that you always know better than others.

7. You unwittingly and often unintentionally anoint yourself the ultimate arbiter of what they should or should not do, when they should or should not do it, and with whom they should or should not do it.

Refer to the above.

8. Soon, you may even find yourself doing this with their personal lives as well as their professional lives. You’ve accidentally gone from micromanaging them at work, to meddling in the entirety of their lives.

Yikes. If that’s you, be self-aware enough to realize it, and humble enough to admit it and quit it. That way, everyone wins.

6 Non-Creative Thoughts on Creativity

creativityisintelligencefuneinsteinAs cliché a topic as it may be, creativity, and especially creativity within organizational settings, fascinates me. In some ways, I think it fascinates a lot of people though. We spend oodles of time reading about it, blogging about it, wondering if we have it, wondering how we get our teams to display more of it, or at least how not to discourage them from being creative.

One of the cool things about creativity is that every leader, every employee, and indeed every organization has the potential to be creative and likely already is to at least some degree.

But if all this is true, why haven’t “we” — and by “we” I mean the biz world at large and our respective workplaces specifically — got this thing down yet? Here are at least a few reasons that come to mind off the top of my head, as well as considerations for helping us think through what creativity is and isn’t.

I’m sure you can think of more. Feel free to add those in the comments section below!

1. People misunderstand what creativity actually is.

It’s not always going to be some big, shiny, new, amazing thing. Sometimes we think and/or talk ourselves right out of believing we can be creative by defining it incorrectly. In our heads occasionally, anything less than recreating the wheel (what exactly would that be, anyway?) isn’t creativity.

Well, as many of my fellow Mojo mates have heard me say a time or twelve, words mean things. And here’s what creativity actually means:

  • the state or quality of being creative.
  • the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.
  • the process by which one utilizes creative ability: Extensive reading stimulated his creativity.

2. Bureaucracy gets in the way of creativity.

Leaders need to find ways to be more idea-friendly. Here are 6 ways they can do that.

3. Sometimes creativity is simplicity.

In a lot of instances, creativity is actually finding ways to make things simpler for people. It’s not about finding new, complex products and services. It’s about making others’ lives simpler.

4. The good idea usually starts as a bad idea.

Great, creative ideas rarely, if ever, come out fully formed and ready to implement. That’s why collaboration and connection are so important.

5. Companies are more often built to maintain than create.

Take a look around you. Is your team built and structured to create or simply maintain? Do you hire people with a propensity to create? Or are you more interested in folks who’ve demonstrated an ability to consistently maintain?

6. Understand that organizations are always trending one way or another.

There’s always some sort of trajectory. Creating increases the likelihood that that’s a forward trajectory. That means sometimes you just have the sand to say “to hell with the data” and create something.

What else ya got? Any other comments? Suggestions? Things you find especially helpful as you think about creativity?

3 Reasons Leaders Should Laugh More



Believe it or not, workplace levity can be quite the lightning-rod topic in many organizations.

There are a few moments in my career I won’t soon, if ever, forget.

One took place at a former employer during a meeting when an executive looked at me — with a straight, if not disgusted, face mind you — and asked why having happy employees was really “that big a deal.” I laughed, out loud, in the middle of that meeting. I was the only one. To this day that remains one of the funniest moments of my life.

As more folks connect through social media, at conferences, and however else, some get all worked up about “creating a professional image,” or some similarly expressed notion, which simply means making something look or feel or sound like what’s expected. Or at least what is perceived to be expected by a particular group of people in a particular setting. Or what they wish was what was expected.

Sadly, this often results in sucky presentations, boring social media, run-of-the-mill advertising, dreadful workplaces, robotic interactions, etc. It may be “professional,” but when’s the last time you couldn’t get something out of your mind because of how “professional” it was? When’s the last time you couldn’t wait to do something because it was just so….”professional”?

There are any number of things you could be that many would argue run contrary to being “professional,” if we confine the word to that meaning, which I don’t, by the way.

One of those is humor, and while many places enjoy humor, but I’ve heard enough horror stories to know that’s not necessarily the norm.

I, on the other hand, think humor isn’t only OK, but a good thing. A helpful, human thing, even. Why do I think that? I’m so glad you asked.

1. It connects you with the other humans.

Almost everybody likes laughing to at least some degree. Non-offensive jokes (and sometimes even borderline offensive ones) can establish humanness, likeability, and even trust. It lets folks know that you’re a person just like them; not just some corporate schmo looking to make a point or a sale. A joke related to a difficult situation can disarm a group. Combined with knowledge, humor can be a great tool.

2. Laughter sets that moment apart. 

That’s kind of how a punch line works. You’re thinking one way, but then a story takes a turn and it’s funny. It sticks out to us because of that humor. We laugh.

3. Humor creates alignment.

Think about jokes. Often, we find jokes funny because they’re based on these universally understood things. We’ve all walked around half the day with our zipper down. We’ve all returned someone’s wave only to realize we were actually returning a wave that was meant for someone behind us. Inside jokes make us chuckle because they means something to us, together.

Am I saying leaders have to blithering fools? No. Do they have to be hopped up on whatever it is that Robin Williams is obviously hopped up on? Nope.

I just think it’s a good idea for us not to view laughter and fun so much as the enemy, or even as a necessary evil; but rather look at it as an ally in our struggle to make our workplaces more appropriately human.