Tag Archive for organizational culture

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 Mazumans and 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?

4 Hints to Help Your Team Pick More Fights

9897dd2434c0fde2233e677c2dc74ba9The whole idea of conflict is just weird. None of us really likes having to engage in it, yet most of us probably begrudgingly admit the necessity for it in business and team environments. Whether you’re the leader of a team or you’re a leader that’s a member of a leadership team, the importance of engaging in healthy conflict around ideas remains the same.

There’s a lot that could be said here, and I’d love to get into the psychology — both individual and organizational — at play here, but here are three practical tips to get you started as you look for ways to better “pick fights,” as we Mazumans sometimes say.

1. Look for disagreements.

Be proactive. Be on the lookout for those moments you can tell folks are hedging or dancing. And when you find them, point them out and help each other into the fray. Sometimes groups  are so used to overlooking them that they forget what a disagreement actually looks like. And if you don’t see any disagreements — like ever — you can be assured that your team hasn’t yet learned how to be vulnerable with each other. More on this below.

2. Coach in the moment. When you’re in a meeting, and you see team members retreat from an appropriate and necessary discussion, coach them in real-time. It’s almost like you’re giving them permission to enter the aforementioned fray. Help them understand that not only is it OK for them to engage in the discussion, it’s actually really important to the team that they do.

sumo3. Engage in role play. No, weirdo. Not that kind.

Just like anything else, this takes practice. So set up some  training sessions during which team members can role play. Give them topics, and even assign them “sides” of a discussion if necessary. Then coach them through the  discussion. This is a great opportunity for a group to participate, as well. Have the group observe two individuals engage in the role play, and then have a group discussion  following the role play during which the others can point out what went well and what could have gone better.

4. If nothing’s working, you can almost be sure there’s a vulnerability issue.

Trust is so cliché, but being human and vulnerable as teammates is a prerequisite to being able to engage in real-deal, healthy conflict around ideas together.

Then What?

As that culture begins to take hold, you’ll notice that you’ll start getting more ideas out of your team, and that your own ideas will be sharpened and enhanced (and perhaps occasionally discarded!) through honest and passionate discussion with your team. You’ll be able to move forward more confidently, knowing your ideas have been thoroughly dissected and discussed. You’ll be exposed to more creative ideas, allowing you to think outside the box regularly. All in all, the benefits of embracing this kind of passionate, creative, team culture can be substantial. Your teams will be more efficient, more engaged, more passionate, more creative, and more unified.