The Coach's Corner

Archive for July, 2015

Another Boss Story (Sorry!)

July 20th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Marcus Buckingham told us in First Break All the Rules that the manager — not pay, benefits, perks, or a charismatic corporate leader — was the critical player in building a strong workplace. The manager, he said, was the key.

I recently read a story (maybe you could call it a confession) written by a leader I have closely studied for more than 25 years. By any measure, his organization would be considered successful, and many leaders ask for advice from this leader.

So what did he confess? Based on some feedback, he decided to retain a consulting firm to determine his staff’s job satisfaction. He was shocked, almost derailed, and spent many sleepless nights as he read the responses from his team — more than one team member said things like, “My supervisor is crazy.” By crazy, they meant controlling, inattentive, uninspiring, uncaring or, worse yet, mean-spirited.

One of his conclusions was, “People join organizations, but they leave managers.”

Do you really know how you’re viewed by your team members? Do you really know how they feel about your company? How do you know? As you have experienced significant growth, have your team members suffered?

p.s. Over several years, this leader took the input from his team seriously and made changes, including removing some of the supervisors/bosses. After reviewing the results of the company’s most recent independently administered satisfaction survey, their consulting firm labeled the company “elite” — they have made dramatic improvements since the first survey, and the environment is much more positive than it used to be.

Leading Up

July 6th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

One of the most common topics I’ve covered with my clients has been what I call “Leading Up.” Consider these examples:

  1. A CEO/president needs to help her board of directors advise her, especially if they don’t agree. It’s tricky, but absolutely necessary for survival.
  2. A non-owner CEO/president gives the entrepreneurial owner a positive method/approach for providing and getting input.
  3. A COO enables a narcissistic CEO to be successful while still building a great team.
  4. The CEO of a North American subsidiary facilitates an appropriate information exchange with their foreign parent to provide a degree of comfort.

You can probably come up with your own scenario, but the point is that the subordinate needs to help their supervisor lead them.

Why, you ask? Because I’ve seen too many disasters occur when there’s no communication or poor communication from the supervisor — which almost always leads to the subordinate finding another job.

My advice to those of you who are in this situation is to very surgically offer a structure to help you and your supervisor be successful.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Set up regular, periodic meetings to update your supervisor.
  2. Provide summarized updates of your activities/goals.
  3. If they don’t ask for goals, create some — and get their buy-in.
  4. Utilize every interaction with your supervisor as a chance to enhance your relationship.
  5. This may sound weird, but treat your supervisor like your best customer/client.
  6. Never upstage your supervisor; rather, provide them opportunities to shine in front of customers/clients and the team.
  7. Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing how much we can do if we don’t care who gets the credit.” Don’t be insincere or unnecessarily flattering, but give your supervisor credit for new ideas if they were involved in any way.

Hopefully, you’re getting the point. I’ve observed some very strong, successful subordinates (i.e. CEOs, presidents, COOs) do this really well.

If I can help you with your specific situation, please let me know.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

Sign up for Our Blog Posts

Sign up to receive our blog posts in your email.