Monday, February 25, 2013

World’s Simplest Leadership Secret

By Virgil Carter

There’s an endless supply of existing books on leadership and management, filled with how to be a better, more successful leader or manager.  And new books come out almost every day on the same subject.  According to a recent Inc. article, however, “the management books have it all wrong.  They all try to tell you how to manage ‘people’”.   According to author Geoffrey James, it’s impossible to manage “people”; it’s only possible to manage individuals!  And because individuals differ from one another, what works with one individual may not work with someone else.
For example, some individuals thrive on public praise; others feel uncomfortable when singled out.  Some individuals are all about money; others thrive on challenging assignments.  Some individuals need mentoring; others find advice to be grating.
So what is a successful leader to do?  “The trick”, according to James, “is to manage individuals the way THEY want to be managed, rather than the way YOU’d prefer to be managed.
“The only way to do this is to ASK”, James writes.  In your first (or next) meeting with each direct report ask:

·        How do you prefer to be managed?

·        What can I do to help you excel?

·        What types of management annoy you?
James goes on to say, “Listen (really listen) to the response and then, as far as you are able, adapt your coaching, motivation, compensation, and so forth to match that individual's needs.  By the way, a savvy employee won't wait for you to ask; he or she will tell you outright what works. When this happens, you're crazy not to take that employee's advice!”
“Unfortunately, most individuals aren't that bold, which is why it's up to you to find out how to get the best out of them.  There is no one-size-fits-all in a world where everyone is unique.”
“And you'll never get that out of a management book.”  For the full article, go to:

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