Operations Strategy & Implementation

Get Results - Fast

Leadership Optimization

For your Company’s Leaders Today

Tag: business

Are you too “big” to care… as a leader? 3 ways to help you reset… before someone does it for you

Are you too “big” to care… as a leader? 3 ways to help you reset… before someone does it for you

  • Have you been in your position for more than a year? More than 2? 10?
  • Do you have trouble remembering the last time you sat down with someone from your team and talked about something OTHER than the next project or task that is due?
  • Could you share 3 facts about each individual on your team – that is NOT work related?
  • Do you know what your employees want to do next in their job? For their careers?

Take a look… if you answered “yes” to more than one of these, you may have (knowingly or not) become too big to care as a leader. (Picture by Abbey Pansy)

Or… does this classify someone that you know? Someone… that you WORK for (or try to) on a daily basis? In one of the lowest points of my work career, I became “too big to care”. I focused more on what I needed to do to fix the overall problems – then on my team that could actually fix the problems.

It’s 2017. No time for lamenting where you are. Let’s move forward and get it done.

So how do we tackle our situation here? We now have managers that have potentially grown so big in their job that they have become comfortable, complacent, callous, careless, confused, or even just cranky … too big to care as a leader. Leaders have been recognized as those with the responsibility to lead others. Here is a few ways to help you (or a leader you know) get back to what’s important.

  • Have a real conversation. One that doesn’t include work. It can be difficult, and for some, it seems remote to talk about things other than work but don’t forget – they are people too. They aren’t just a number. You hired them because they added value to the company – at some level. What value can they add to you? Your team? What are their interests? Find a few ways to help them open up and the work may open up too.
  • Find out what makes them tick. Really. Pop Quiz. What is the motivation style for each of your employees? Is it the carrot? Stick? Do they do their best work alone? With periodic checkups? Take a few minutes to find out. Ask them to complete the free assessment the Talent Engagement Zone (TEZ) or buy the book Strengths Finder – and talk about the results. How can you give them more of what they already have… and one? How can you build that into the goals and critical needs of your organization and team? Ask.
  • Share about what makes you tick. REALLY. It’s important to know the things that make your employees want to work harder – but your interests, strengths, and motivations are just as important.  Where do your interests and theirs align? Where do they want to go… that’s similar (or even parallel) to where you want to go? How can you go there together?

 It’s understandable that not everything will align. You may want to run the company, and an individual may just want to do a good job (and securely KEEP the good job). What doesn’t go together? How do you break the two up and resolve those differences? Sharing stories about yourself makes you a little vulnerable, but it also opens your employees to the REAL you… which will help them better understand and better relate to you. No one’s perfect, right? It’s ok to let them see it, too.

The year is young and the snow is still cold. Focus on your 10% and show you’re not too big to care.


You’re a leader, you just don’t know it.

You’re a leader, you just don’t know it.

Last week, I had the chance to present to a large group of front line and new managers. In addition, a number of HR leaders and managers of those groups attended my presentation called “How not to Suck as a Manager”. Besides the catchy title that some said they signed up for the title alone (no joke! I mean, wouldn’t you?) , we spent an hour talking about several topics on improving as a manager.

The best part? I didn’t teach them anything they didn’t already know.

Well… ok. That’s not true. If it were, then why was I there yapping, and why were they there, paying me to yap?  But the baseline is true. What I say is not rocket science…but guess what? Leading isn’t rocket science either. The secret?

You have what it takes to be a leader.

…. You just don’t know it.  Have you experienced the benefits of a great or amazing manager? How did that make you feel? How much more engaged or productive were you? Have you ever had the unfortunate chance to work for someone who was less than stellar… or, better put – sucked as a manager? Didn’t even try? What did they do? Or not do? Did they even know you had a dog and that you love project work, even though you’re in accounting? Or that you’d love the opportunity to cross train – you’d even work extra hours – if only they’d ask?

Last week, Chloe Andrews from CCS Construction Staffing, commented on the session, “I learned things I knew, but I didn’t act upon”. We talked about some of the things that front line managers really want (communication, feedback and training, not necessarily in that order) – again NOT rocket science.

Why the heck is it so hard?

1- Because we don’t realize what we have

You’ve got at least 20 years of experience right now. No? How many times have you interacted with someone? Gotten someone to do something else? Followed up on a promise? Even by the time you graduate from high school (with about 15 years of experience, let’s say) – you’ve done a lot of it. What worked? What didn’t? Use your knowledge. Leading is getting folks to do what you want them to do – and have THEM want to do it.

2- Because we don’t know what’s important

Another attendee mentioned at the session we “touched base on topics that we [managers] sometimes assume is known but [realizing] there is a definite positive impact by stating it aloud”. You are inundated with information all day long. And those frickin’ Smartphones aren’t helping. What’s good information? How can you use it to benefit yourself and your team?

When you find yourself in a “new” leadership situation, start by asking yourself these simple question, “What does this look like? How is it similar to what I’ve experienced in the past?”. You may realize you have the answer, you just need a different perspective… your own.

3- Because we think we’re alone in our problems


Bet you can answer this one now. You are most definitely NOT alone. In fact, you are surrounded. There are many people like you. One participant noted with a bit of relief (and potentially joyful glee) – “I’m not alone [in the way I’m] feeling that I’m not prepared for management”. There are others out there that have been there or are going through it now. Asking for advice is not weakness. It’s strength.

Reach out. Do not pass go or collect $200. Do it now. You could be shocked (or just a little gleeful!) for the results.


Bottom line. You have the experiences. You’re not alone. You just haven’t put all the pieces together – yet. Confidence is a big factor, and we’ll talk about that too… But just realizing that by trying to be a better leader…. you already are.