“What Great Bosses Know”: Practical advice for managers & leaders from Jill Geisler.

Business collection - Street quiz

How will you score on the ‘Great Bosses Quiz’?

I know there are many managers who aspire to be great bosses. So, I’ve developed a little quiz to see if you’re well on your way. Read the 10 questions, then select from the multiple choice answers. I hope the correct ones will be obvious to you and the others might bring a smile. You’ll find the correct answers at the end of the quiz.

The Great Bosses Quiz:

1. The most effective feedback from managers to employees is:

a. Serious and scary

b. Specific and sincere

c. Sweet and sour

2. Emotional Intelligence is:

a. Essential to effective leadership

b. A touchy-feely waste of time

c. An unreleased single by Hall & Oates

3. Micromanagers are:

a. Shorter than average managers

b. Rarely appreciated by staff and likely to impede employee growth

c. Beloved by all

4. Managers who are good coaches for staff know their most important tool is:

a. Read more

Tools:
4 Comments

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013

When managers fumble, they need to work at repairing their reputations. (Depositphotos)

When managers fumble: 5 tips for repairing your reputation

We customarily think of managers as the men and women who pass judgment on the performance of others.

But managers are evaluated, too. It may come in the form of annual reviews, employee surveys or union grievances. They may get feedback from conversations with colleagues and staff. 

And from those interactions, even good managers learn that they have performance gaps. That’s a nice way of saying the boss has some flaws.

Because the managers in our Poynter programs get 360-degree feedback from colleagues, I get to see a lot of compliments, along with solid, constructive critiques of bosses. Among the more common concerns:

  • Delegate more, micromanage less
  • Listen more, interrupt less
  • Keep people better informed
  • Cool that temper
  • Disconnect from digital devices during conversations and meetings
  • Distribute work equitably
  • Set clear priorities
  • Follow up on conversations and emails
  • Provide better feedback
  • Post work schedules on time
  • Don’t let underperformers cause extra work for others

The real test of a manager’s character is how he or she responds to such feedback. Read more

Tools:
2 Comments

Monday, June 24, 2013

background template07

How managers can improve the quality of feedback they offer

I know the answer even before I ask a group this question:

“Does anyone here get too much feedback at work?”

The reply, amid snickers and eye rolls, is “No.”

No matter who is in my audience, from employees to supervisors, there’s a shared belief that feedback is in short supply.

Gallup’s recent “State of the American Workplace” report confirms that sentiment. In its surveys on workplace engagement, Gallup asked employees if they’ve received positive feedback for good work in the last seven days or had a conversation about their progress in the last six months. Again, the answer often comes up as “No.”

Gallup found that 70 percent of U.S. employees are disengaged. Many simply go through the motions, while others actively undermine the operation. That’s a huge problem.

Some workplace problems are expensive to fix — technology upgrades, understaffing, massive retraining. But providing feedback is FREE! Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Words - Ideas

Don’t be an ‘idea killer’: 10 tips for cultivating creativity

Some of our best ideas come when we’re taking a break from concentration. At least, that’s what recent research says. Since the concept for this column coalesced while I was sweating my way through a Zumba class, I’m prepared to believe it.

I’d been doing a lot of reading about the cultivation of ideas — especially the leader’s role in brainstorming, creativity and innovation. I collected insights and advice from all sorts of experts to use in my teaching. I wanted to craft a column, too, but kept debating with myself about the framing.

Not surprisingly, my breakthrough came when I stopped fretting and shifted my focus to enjoying some music and keeping pace with the class leader.

Then, mid-merengue, I flashed on a memory from my newsroom. It was the term “story killer.” It was our description for a naysayer at planning meetings (“We covered that before.” “That’s so boring.”) or a journalist who gave up too soon when checking out a tip. Read more

Tools:
6 Comments

Friday, Mar. 15, 2013

WhatGreatBossesKnow

How veteran leaders can adopt a ‘new manager mindset’

As I led a workshop this week for a group of experienced editors, I began with a wish for them: “May you think like a new manager.”

The concept was fresh in my mind, having spent the previous week leading a seminar for newbies. Make no mistake, the new managers had plenty of the time-honored anxieties: how to manage the shift from co-worker/buddy to boss, how to lead employees of all ages, personalities, experience levels and talent, and how to build credibility, trust and authority.

But here’s something that didn’t show up on their list of worries: the past.

Unlike tenured supervisors who wistfully recall leading in fatter times with richer resources, new managers think about the teams and tools they have today. They’ve always known some kind of technological disruption that requires new learning. Their souls aren’t scarred by the pain of presiding over past downsizings.

Their eyes are on focused on the future. Read more

Tools:
1 Comment

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

10 ways we limit our success & how to overcome those artificial barriers

I believe there’s a bounty of buried treasure in organizations: ideas, solutions and talent that lie untapped. Among the reasons: management fails to recognize the potential in employees or even discourages their aspirations.

But let’s not pick on bosses today. Instead, let’s look at how good employees can actually get in the way of their own success. Remember, I’m talking about already valuable contributors who could be offering more.

I was inspired to write about this challenge by a participant in a recent workshop. She’s not a manager, but she has impressed her supervisors with her talent and positive influence on her team. So they nominated her for additional leadership learning. They’re investing in the future.

At the end of our workshop, when participants talked about things they’d do in the future (in leadership areas like innovation, collaboration, coaching, conflict resolution and communication), she made a statement that grabbed my attention. Read more

Tools:
1 Comment

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012

Don’t wait to thank someone great

At this time in 2011, I was eagerly awaiting the New Year. My dream of publishing a book for managers would be realized in June. In that book, amid the advice and research, would be stories from my personal experience. Two of those stories involved bosses I worked for. They were two men who could not have been more different in their leadership styles, but both made an indelible impact on my life.

One of them, Andy Potos, knew he would be in the book. In fact, my editor insisted that I run the copy past him; she thought it might offend him that I revealed I almost quit rather than work for Andy when he became my boss. I described him in the book as a “brash and bottom-line fixated sales guy, and he saw me as a holier-than thou newsperson, bunkered in a silo with my team.” There was more:

He came from the Vince Lombardi school of leadership.

Read more
Tools:
4 Comments

Friday, Dec. 21, 2012

officedoor

Take the ‘Threshold Test’ as you cross into the new year at work

As we cross the threshold from off-duty to on-the-clock when entering our workplaces, we ask ourselves, “How much do I matter here? Is my work respected? Am I growing and learning? Do my ideas make a difference?”

I call those questions the “Threshold Test.”

Even the most highly qualified contributors in an organization ask themselves those questions. It’s human nature to want to know where we stand.

Too often, the very people who could answer these unasked questions and enlighten us, don’t. Managers miss opportunities to engage because they fail to deliver feedback that is sincere, specific and ongoing. Many are more focused on products than people. They are quick to point out flaws because they know their job is to protect the organization and those it serves from mistakes and missteps. But they’re less adept at positive reinforcement for people who truly deserve it.

Here are some reasons.

Some bosses say, “If you don’t hear from me, assume you are doing a good job.”

While they may think they’ve put people at ease, I believe it really means,“Consider my neglect a compliment.” (And shudder when you see me coming your way!)

Some managers announce, “I don’t praise people for doing what they’re supposed to do. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Thursday, Dec. 06, 2012

handshake

10 key skills today’s leaders need to succeed in 2013

What sets the most successful managers apart from others? You might be an expert in your field, even the smartest person in the room — but that’s no guarantee of success. You need an array of skills that are particularly well-suited to times of change and challenge. Here are 10 I recommend.

1. Strategic Thinking
Don’t just immerse yourself in today’s tasks. Think big picture. Step back from the dance floor from time to time and take the balcony view (Hat tip for that great metaphor to the book, Leadership on the Line.”) Review systems. Set priorities aligned with major goals. Learn new and scary things. Encourage innovation by backing good people who take smart risks.

2. Collaboration
Overcome the four barriers to collaboration I’ve written about before.

  • Distance: Stay on the radar with people you don’t see regularly.
  • Dominance: Change assumptions about the importance/subservience of certain roles in your organization.
Read more
Tools:
0 Comments

Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

topsecret

10 secrets your Great Boss never told you

I have to confess. Were it not for a desk calendar that highlights various holidays,  I’d never know that Tuesday, October 16 is “Boss’s Day” in the United States. It’s an occasion that’s never been on my radar.

I also suspect that many employees think: Wait, What? Bosses get their say, their way, their pay — do they really need a day?

Frankly, the best bosses out there would probably agree. They didn’t sign on to management for the accolades — or to put it more bluntly, so that people might suck up to them on a daily or even once-a-year basis. As I write in my book “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” true leaders do what they do for the joy of helping other people succeed, while making products and services better at the same time.

But here’s something many employees don’t know. The best managers also keep  secrets from their employees — certain things they’ve strategically and wisely chosen NOT to share. Read more

Tools:
4 Comments