Wednesday, September 17, 2008

HR - Managing:- Managing Down to Those Who Manage Up

Here's a typical scenario between a subordinate and a boss:

Bill comes up to Sally, the boss, who is running to a meeting, and says, "We have a problem with x." Sally says, "Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Bill. I'm in a rush now but I'll think about it and get back to you."

What's happened? Before this meeting, the problem was Bill's. Now it's Sally's—the problem has been delegated up.

The late management guru Bill Oncken called this "Who's got the monkey?" Whenever two people talk about a problem, one of them leaves with the monkey on his or her back--the one who has to take the next step.

You want to keep the monkey on the employee's back, so instead of saying "I'll think about it," say, "Send me a memo with your recommendation," or "Brainstorm some ideas of how to solve this problem and come back to me with the best three."

Now the monkey stays where it belongs.

HR managers have to have tough conversations every day—monkey talks, sure, but also coaching, disciplining, performance management, and, of course, firing.

These conversations are never going to be fun, but you can learn to handle them calmly and professionally.

Thanks to BLR

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

HR - Decision Making:- Decision Making 8 Traps

Decision Making: The Framing Trap - 1

Before making an important decision, prudent managers evaluate the situations confronting them — and often fall into one of the eight traps of faulty thinking. The Framing Trap

While we cannot entirely rid ourselves of them, we can learn to understand the traps and compensate for them.

The first step in making a decision is to frame the question. It's also one of the most dangerous; how you frame a problem can profoundly influence your choices.

The Antidote

Limit adverse effects by employing the following:

  • Don't automatically accept the initial frame, whether it was formulated by you or someone else. Always try to reframe the problem in various ways.
  • Try posing problems in neutral ways that combine gains and losses or embrace different reference points.
  • When others recommend decisions, examine the way they framed the problem. Challenge them with different frames.

Decision Making: Three Forecasting Traps - 2/3/4

Meteorologists and bookies have opportunities and incentives to maintain records of their forecasting abilities. The rest of us seldom have enough carefully tracked data to adequately calibrate our minds to make reasonable estimates in the face of uncertainty. This sets us up for three estimating and forecasting traps.

1. The Overconfidence Trap

Most of us are overconfident about our judgment abilities and prediction accuracy, as we remember our successes and quickly forget our errors. Our hubris tricks us into considering only a narrow range of possibilities.

Major initiatives and investments often hinge on estimate ranges. Managers who underestimate the high end (or overestimate the low end) of a crucial variable may miss attractive opportunities or expose themselves to far greater risk than ever imagined.

2. The Prudence Trap

When faced with high stakes, we tend to adjust our estimates or forecasts with prudence, "just to be on the safe side." Too much prudence can be as dangerous as too little.

3. The "Recallability" Trap

Memories of dramatic events leave strong impressions on our minds and can skew future decision-making efforts.

The Antidote

Take a disciplined approach to forecasting.

  • Start by considering the extremes: the low and high ends of possible value ranges. Then, challenge your estimates, as well as those of your subordinates and advisers.
  • Always state your estimates honestly, and explain to anyone who will be using them that they have not been adjusted. Emphasize the need for frank input to anyone who will be supplying you with estimates. Test estimates over a reasonable range to assess their impact.
  • Carefully examine all of your assumptions to ensure they're not unduly influenced by your memory. Get actual statistics whenever possible, and avoid being guided by impressions.


Decision Making: The Confirming Evidence Trap - 5

Researchers have identified a series of eight flaws in the way we think when making decisions. They are hardwired into our thinking process, so we often fail to recognize them.

While we cannot entirely rid ourselves of them, we can learn to understand the traps and compensate for them.

The Confirming Evidence Trap

Leaders sometimes seek out information that supports their existing instinct or point of view, while avoiding information that contradicts it. This trap affects where we go to collect evidence, as well as how we interpret it.

The Antidote

Don't necessarily disregard the choice to which you're subconsciously drawn, but make sure it's the smart one.

  • Check whether you're examining all evidence with equal rigor.
  • Ask someone you respect to play devil's advocate.
  • Be honest with yourself about your motives. Are you really gathering information to help you make a smart choice—or are you looking for evidence that confirms what you already think and want to do?
  • When seeking others' advice, don't ask leading questions that invite confirming evidence.


Decision Making: The Sunk-Cost Trap - 6

Before making an important decision, prudent managers evaluate the situations confronting them — and often fall into one of the eight traps of faulty thinking.

Researchers have identified a series of flaws in the way we think when making decisions. They are hardwired into our thinking process, so we often fail to recognize them.

While we cannot entirely rid ourselves of them, we can learn to understand the traps and compensate for them.

The Sunk-Cost Trap

We tend to make choices in ways that justify past decisions, even when the latter no longer seem valid. We know rationally that sunk costs are irrelevant to present decisions, but they nevertheless lead to inappropriate choices. This frequently occurs when we're unwilling, consciously or not, to admit a mistake.

The Antidote

  • Seek feedback from those who were uninvolved in the earlier decision.
  • Examine why admitting a past mistake distresses you. Even the best and most experienced managers are not immune to errors in judgment.
  • Be on the lookout for the influence of sunk-cost biases in subordinates' decisions and recommendations.
  • Don't cultivate a failure-fearing culture that leads employees to perpetuate and cover up mistakes.


Decision Making: The Status-Quo Trap - 7

Before making an important decision, prudent managers evaluate the situations confronting them — and often fall into one of the eight traps of faulty thinking.

Researchers have identified a series of flaws in the way we think when making decisions. They are hardwired into our thinking process, so we often fail to recognize them.

While we cannot entirely rid ourselves of them, we can learn to understand the traps and compensate for them.

The Status-Quo Trap

We are predisposed to perpetuating the status quo. Deep within our psyches, we are self-protective and risk-aversive.

The Antidote

Don't maintain the status quo just because it's comfortable. Do so only when it turns out to be the best choice.

  • Remind yourself of your objectives. Examine how they would be served by the status quo.
  • Never think of the status quo as your only alternative. Identify other options.
  • Ask yourself: Would I choose the status quo if it weren't so?


Decision Making: The Anchoring Trap - 8

From sexuality to religion, we seek balance between the unchosen realities that anchor us (race, geography, history) and choices that liberate us.

Making important choices is never simple, but it can be a lot easier and more fulfilling when we pay attention to where the choice is coming from. From business to personal choices, we don't have to make choices from circumstances---like the selection process of choosing from a smorgasbord. Our life choices are best when they come from a deep understanding of who we are and what our life's work is.

Becoming aware of our unique identity (our assumptions/beliefs, values, vision, guiding principles and signature talents) helps us to make conscious choices.

When considering a decision, the mind gives disproportionate weight to the first information it receives. Initial impressions, estimates or data anchor subsequent thoughts and judgments.

In business, a common anchor is a past event or trend. While relying on such may lead to a reasonably accurate estimate of future numbers, it also tends to give too much weight to past events and not enough to other factors.

The Antidote

Anchors affect how virtually all professionals make decisions. No one can avoid their influence. But becoming aware of their dangers can reduce their impact:

· Always view a problem from different perspectives. Try using alternative starting points and approaches rather than sticking with your first line of thought.

· Think about the problem on your own before consulting others.

· Be open-minded. Seek opinions from a variety of people to widen your frame of reference.

· Avoid anchoring your advisers, consultants and others from whom you solicit information. Tell them as little as possible about your ideas and estimates. If you reveal too much, your preconceptions may simply come back to you.

By John G. Agno

Motivational:- The Three Skills of "Ordinary" Genius

I'm convinced that a great life is rarely built on a brilliant flash of inspiration or one profound insight. More often great lives are built by ordinary people, doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well.

Do you remember the old cliché that even the rich and famous "put their pants on one leg at a time?" I've always loved that insight. It gives me a sense of power and freedom and boosts my self-esteem. It gives me a chance to be "just like" my heroes.

This week I read Stephen Ambrose' biography of President Eisenhower. Obviously, "Ike," was one of the great heroes of World War II and arguably one of our better presidents. But he wasn't "brilliant" in terms of IQ. He was in the middle of his class ("average") at West Point, and no one saw him as a unique talent. Ambrose makes the comment that if one fortuitous promotion that sent him to work in Washington had gone differently, "the world would never have heard of Col. Eisenhower." How true! And, in a wonderful way, how inspiring!

Eisenhower did have three great gifts, but they were "ordinary" gifts that you and I can learn and apply in our lives.

First, he worked very, very hard. He was up early, stayed late, immersed himself in each task until it was done right and on time. His "genius" was the "ordinary genius" of dedication, duty and discipline. I may not be able to copy that exactly, but I can certainly learn from it. I can do my best and appreciate the results of "out working the competition."

The second of Eisenhower's great skills was his ability to focus on things that mattered! Many of us work hard. In fact, I often argue that many of us work too hard because our time, our energy and our focus is on things that don't really matter. We "sweat the small stuff." Ike never did that. Even his critics acknowledged his gift for calmly assessing a situation and spotting the "leverage point" that would make all the difference.

Here's an example. For six months before D-Day, June 6th 1944, he made a point to meet with his chief meteorologist every single day. He knew that guns and ships and strategy were all important, but ultimately the invasion would depend on the weather and he wanted to assess the skills of his chief forecaster. In the end, on a stormy night with rain pelting against the windows, he made the decision to "go" because he trusted his weatherman. He knew he would get a 6-hour window of clearing weather and that was all he needed. The course of the war changed over-night because Ike focused on the weather and knew his meteorologists could be trusted.

Finally, Eisenhower insisted on choosing the right people and relying on them. He frequently refused to work with people if they were unreliable or ineffective. He wanted the best people around him. Notably, after giving the order to "go" on June 5th, Ike went to bed. There was literally nothing more for him to do! All the orders, all the staff work, all the plans were in capable hands and his work (for the moment) was done. He didn't try to do it all himself. He chose good people, delegated responsibility and trusted that the right things would be done, in the right way, at the right time.

For me, there is great hope in this! Eisenhower wasn't some unique genius beyond my ability to comprehend. To the contrary, much of his achievement came from knowing three basic skills that I (or anyone) can learn. He worked hard. He could identify the key leverage points. He chose to work and associate with the best people he could find, and he trusted them. I can do this, and so can you.
By Philip Humbert

HR - Inventory:- Taking Inventory

Most states require that every business shut down periodically to take inventory. It's essential to physically count the products on the shelves, to re-calculate the value of equipment, supplies and other physical items that make the company run. The law requires this for equipment and products for sale, right down to the smallest items on the shelves.

Smart companies also do it with regard to their people and their skills.

Jack Welch is famous for saying that at General Electric he wanted a 10% turn-over in personnel every year. The bottom ten percent were encouraged to find other employment because he wanted only the very best, the most highly motivated and the most creative people working for him.

That may sound harsh, even heartless, but he made two vital points. (1) Do you really want unproductive people in your organization? And (2) no one benefits from having people in positions that don't suit them. We actually do people a favor when we gently but firmly encourage them to go where their talents and abilities will be better utilized, and the company is definitely better off. Under Welch's leadership, GE grew to be one of the world's great companies.

Too often, in small businesses and professional offices, owners fail in this vital obligation.

From time to time, step back. Get some outside advice and perspective. Have the courage to judge yourself and your people in terms of productivity, in terms of ability, and in terms of "best fit." If your company isn't producing the results you expect, it may be time to take a careful inventory not just of the products on the shelves, but of the people on your team.

This is where an outside coach can be particularly helpful. Every week, get on the phone with an objective person who can tell you what they see, and help you with the difficult decisions. Take inventory! You'll be glad you did.
By Philip Humbert

Monday, September 15, 2008

HR - Hiring:- 10 Great Ways to Make Bad Hiring Decisions

The underlying purpose was to demonstrate the point that many important decisions, especially hiring decisions, are based on invalid assumptions, false impressions, personal beliefs, and lack of objective data.

With this article as a starting point, let me offer some expert advice on how to make really bad hiring decisions:

HR Training:- Training the Talented, the Ritz-Carlton Way

While training at Ritz-Carlton is a rigorous process of identifying committed service professionals, individuals come to the company with varying levels of technical skill and backgrounds both inside and outside the hospitality industry. New staff members are assigned learning coaches who train and certify them on the core competencies of their jobs.

Mandy Holloway, senior director of global learning at Ritz-Carlton, observes, "We take training and learning very seriously. We focus on the design of learning, measured competency, and whether the skills learned are truly being delivered to the customer. We are on a journey right now where we're evolving from a training organization into a learning environment. We understand very clearly that 70 percent of learning realistically is on the job. This feeds through to operational certification, making sure that within the employees' first 21 days, they are certified within their jobs, in alignment with the Gold Standards for the hotel. We have great tools like online training modules and detailed operational manuals that help facilitate that certification process. Those tools also are in alignment so that we can analyze operational skills acquisition against the results of mystery shopper and customer engagement surveys. In essence, secret shoppers are looking for the exact criteria that staff members are certified to meet. As such, we're not doing training for the sake of training."

By way of example, Holloway adds, "Let's assume that all members of the front desk staff have worked with a learning coach and have achieved certification from that coach on the core competencies of their jobs by the twenty-first day of their employment. Let's also assume that problems are being detected either by mystery shoppers or from guest surveys that the front desk staff is not consistently confirming the guests' length of stay during the check-in process. Even though the employees were at one time proficient and certified at that skill, the customer feedback affords the opportunity for what we call 'just-in-time learning' to take place to quickly refresh that service delivery standard."

Mark DeCocinis, regional vice president of Asia Pacific, believes that the company's commitment to training and skills certification gives them a competitive advantage in international markets. "For example, Asia Pacific is in a unique position as having won best employer in the region (in all employment categories) in multiple destinations. As such, we are able to attract the very best of talent available in the market. With our sound human resources practices, where every employee joining Ritz-Carlton receives more than 250 hours of training in the first year of operation, we develop and nurture a well-trained and loyal team of Ladies and Gentlemen who are at the very heart of our operation. Therefore, in emerging nations such as China, where there is a chronic shortage of qualified hospitality staff, we are able to appeal to and employ the very best local talent available and fully certify them in our Ritz-Carlton philosophy. This training and being part of the Ritz-Carlton culture engenders a great sense of commitment from all of our Ladies and Gentlemen, and they feel empowered and engaged in their own decision making and in their own career development."

While the new 21-day certification process is constantly occurring as new hires are brought into an existing hotel, the task of initially training staff for a new hotel opening is rather daunting. Senior leadership at Ritz-Carlton works together to source the coaching needs of the new hotel by drawing some of the most talented coaches and trainers from throughout the Ritz-Carlton system. Roberto Van Geenen, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, says, "Our process starts about 52 weeks before we open our doors, and every single week we have to meet certain milestones. When I arrived in Dallas a year before the opening, there were only three of us here—the director of sales and marketing, one assistant, and me. But the most intense action occurs in the hotel 10 days before launch, a period we call 'countdown.' During that countdown, we run the hotel like a full-blown operation to make sure everything is ready for our guests."

Roberto adds, "To train a predominantly new group of Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen to prepare a hotel for opening, we choose our service champions from around the world. For example, I think we had four or five executive chefs here for our opening. So it's all of our leaders, and they have to be certified; they have to have the global reputation with their technical skills and, most importantly, with embracing the philosophy. General managers support one another by accommodating the request to have their best people travel and work hard through the 10-day countdown. We start at 6:00 in the morning with the trainers' lineup, and we finish business about 8:00 in the evening. At night, we have what we call 'fun and games.' Those evenings involve all the trainers, my staff, and me putting things in their right place, stocking minibars, making beds, and doing whatever it takes to make the hotel ready for the next day's staff training and ready for the upcoming needs of guests."

The training and launch efforts at the Dallas hotel earned Roberto and his team official recognition as the best employer in Dallas before the hotel even opened.

Ritz-Carlton has effectively developed structured approaches to help staff members understand and embrace the company's culture during both new hotel openings and the new-hire onboarding process. In each case, the transfer of corporate knowledge is highly valued both in terms of certifiable operational standards and cultural identity and history.

Bob Kharazmi, senior vice president of international operations, notes that cultural imprinting is essential to the success of Ritz-Carlton hotels internationally. "Our president of international operations, Herve Humler, and I go to every international hotel opening. We spend 7 to 10 days with our managers. Herve and I lead the team. No matter what we have going on at our corporate headquarters, we drop everything to make sure the hotel is launched from a solid cultural and operational foundation. We work with both the front line and leadership, helping them understand our Gold Standards and our approach to business. At our leadership sessions, we define our expectations in regard to our business model, treatment of staff, care of guests, and community involvement. Before we leave the property, we get departments together and say, 'You know our expectations. You know our culture. What do you want to be? This is your hotel; this is your department. What do you want to be?' We take all their ideas and before we leave, every single department writes their mission statement. This ensures that the Ritz-Carlton leadership approach is easily adopted and is customized to each international property." 

Kharazmi  adds, "This transfer of knowledge is catching on internationally, as evidenced by the trainers who were involved in opening our second hotel in Beijing. Of the 80 'best of the best' trainers who came all over the world to open that hotel, 7 were from the Beijing Financial Street hotel that had only opened 12 months earlier. One can only imagine the very powerful career message that their success gave to would-be leaders."

Over time Ritz-Carlton leadership has developed a very sophisticated process of making training a person-to-person journey that results in the inculcation of corporate values and mission.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher McGraw-Hill from The New Gold Standard Copyright (c) 2008, by Joseph A. Michelli. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.

By Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D.

HR - Leading:- Leading with Kindness

Kindness is not the first word we associate with business. The image of business still largely includes old scenes from industrial America in the early twentieth century: the age of hard work and tough bosses. As the machines heated, spun, milled, and bore, managerial overlords paced factory floors counting the output and pressing employees to produce more and more. This was not the place for weak-kneed supervisors and executives. Forbearance was not a principle of Taylorism and the new scientific management, which adduced tightly choreographed movements between man and machine. The goal was to keep production lines efficiently moving by any means necessary. The only thing worse than workers who wouldn't work was a soft manager who couldn't make them.

Today, the pressure for unremitting productivity from the forces of fierce competition in the global marketplace continues. New, unforeseen market entrants can suddenly emerge from anywhere in the world with a new technology, better business model, or improved product, to exploit a company's weaknesses and rob it of customers. Meanwhile, traditional competitors are always laying in wait for a missed order, a slip in quality, or a lapse in service. The margin of error is very thin, and befuddled, wishy-washy executives who can't manage to the numbers are expendable. We would agree, but the premises of operational precision, rigorous financial oversight, and market wariness that belie organizational success often lead in an unpromising direction: back to the lords of the shop floor and a falsely constructed ideal of an overly severe leader.

We mistake the need for precision with the need for managerial control, the need for oversight with the need for corporate autocracy, and the need for vigilance with the need for icy objectivity and personal detachment. We conclude that what every business presumably needs is a leader who is calculative, single-minded in the financial purposes of the enterprise, and, perhaps, competitive to a fault: to the point of being overbearingly aggressive and belligerent. In this new age of competitiveness, we assume that managers who are incapable or unwilling to grimly snip away at expenses, to relentlessly push employees, and to be unyieldingly tough are too compromised to succeed in a harsh and unforgiving business world. As our erstwhile leaders did in the industrial age, today's leaders ostensibly, too, must be uncompromisingly and dispassionately focused on the prize of productivity gains and wealth creation for shareholders. Everything else is an investment or expense.

The abiding impression of the modern manager remains haunted by images of past generations of overcontrolling thugs: the new company man or woman who has just the right amount of indifference and interpersonal distance to make the unthinkable possible. He must get people to do their jobs the very best they can—without caring too deeply about their burdens. Whatever semblance of decency that emerges is part of a canned, formulaic concoction designed to get results. Those who are unsuccessful at feigning concern are sent off to communication classes where they are shown how to listen harder and to demonstrate empathic awareness through carefully crafted questions and statements.

Since many employees have had to endure the dismissive and erratic treatment of "shouters" during their tenures, our point is proven by that experience. We have a very long way to go before universal decency prevails within management. Why else would more than twelve states now be contemplating laws that allow workers to sue their bosses for "threatening, intimidating or humiliating" behavior, "repeated infliction of verbal abuse," or "gratuitous sabotage . . . of a person's work performance"? Discriminating against specific groups has been outlawed for some time, but states have now turned their attention to those who have been referred to as "the equal opportunity asshole." These are the managers who indiscriminately abuse everyone. Most disconcerting, however, is that despite living in an era of unprecedented economic progress and scientific enlightenment, management practice remains primitive, with the incidence of bullying in the workplace increasing, not decreasing as one might have surmised.

Neither of the authors prefers external regulation and law for influencing behavior. We prefer a positive approach, with voluntary acceptance as a first course of action, that is, a method that convinces managers that there are far more dignified and effective ways to get results than by inculcating scream-and-holler cultures. Winning Super Bowl coach Tony Dungy, for example, doesn't curse, sarcastically chew out players, or rant on the sidelines. He believes he can get his team to compete by calmly providing direction and treating players with respect. Interestingly, this demeanor prevented him from getting a head coaching job for many years. We need more Tony Dungys, who, in the process of trying to perfect their own lives, set examples for others.

The real disgrace behind the new state laws under consideration is that too many executives who are in a position to do something about mismanagement within their ranks either don't know what is going on or refuse to do anything about it. Organizational leaders who fail to step in when people need them most are culpable. It may be time, as both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal recently announced, for a new type of leader who has cast aside the largesse of ego and exercises power in more humane ways. This is tantamount to removing the crook from the hands of royalty, where it once symbolized authority and dominion, and passing it to the shepherd, where it became a symbol of protection and a humbler, more subtle form of power. The less invasive leadership style symbolized by the shepherd's staff reminds us of a quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher: "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

No, kindness is not a word that spontaneously comes to mind when we think of business, and its acceptance as a workplace virtue is made more quaint by highly salient experiences we have all had with loathsome, capricious bosses who somehow manage to escape detection and, inexplicably, ascend the corporate ladder. The quality we have singled out for study, then, is not an obvious one. Before proceeding further, however, let us briefly say what kindness is not, in order to clear up some common misconceptions. As a Latin proverb suggests, giving an account of what something isn't helps to clarify what it is.

There Is More to Personality Than Kindness
Leaders exhibit many qualities besides kindness. It is, for example, possible to be hard-nosed and kind, to be cantankerous and kind, to be analytical and kind, or to be gregarious and kind. Kindness comes packaged with many other traits. Thus, leaders'own unique qualities give them a distinctive style. We assert that kindness is part of a good leader's constitution and that others are able to brush aside some of the other qualities that leaders possess in order to see their compassionate centers. Therefore, many different types of people are kind.

We believe that the endless, and tiresome, search for the perfect leadership personality is terribly misguided and ultimately fails to explain what leaders really do and what makes them effective. It is best to think of kindness as a key ingredient in a robust stew. The character of the stew is defined by all of the ingredients in combination but omit just this one and the fine flavor is lost.

Kind Leaders Aren't Sissies
Part of the problem is that often when we think of people who are kind, they are sometimes overly so—and too much of a good thing is harmful. These individuals are indulgent and naïve; their benevolence is often the target of calculating, homoeconomicus looking for a free ride or easy gain. By kind, we do not mean sucker or pushover. Nor do we imply a warmly permissive leader whose underlings run wild.

Kindness, like many other traits, has an optimal level that makes it a virtue as opposed to a vice. Too little or too much transforms it into something ugly or suspect. Too much courage can make one foolhardy, too much pride can make one haughty, too much politeness can make one officious, too much love can make one covetous, and too much kindness can make one a dupe.

Kindness Is Not the Same as Likability
Kindness doesn't preclude a full range of expression, including, at times, displeasure, nor should it be interpreted as excessive amicability. Compare it to the relationship between a parent and child: kindness implies an interpersonal closeness and fondness, but it comes with other baggage. It requires mutual responsibilities that a day at the beach with a buddy does not. This is because parenting goes well beyond common courtesy, the sharing of intimacies, and companionship.

At any given time, a parent can plummet in the likability ratings faster than a discredited televangelist. Parents are supervisors who manage their children with some of the same modus operandi as businesses. There are daily responsibilities and performance expectations that are to be executed and met by people with different capabilities, motives, and temperaments. Every day, like it or not, parents are called upon to get the job done. Whereas evaluations of likability may ebb and flow, it is hard to imagine succeeding in this or any interpersonal endeavor without the presumption of kindness to motivate our best intentions and to temper our worst impulses.

As in business, it often is possible for parents to get results without much skill. It is always possible to make people do things through threats of punishment and brute force. But those parents who repeatedly rely upon such measures would hardly be described as "good." Even if such tactics never quite reached the level of abuse, the one-dimensional style is the stuff of satire. Getting results in its various forms is not the sole criterion for parental (or managerial) success. Even so, results fed on a strict diet of fear are fleeting. Children, like employees, are discriminating and know when they are beyond the vigilance and control of others, free to do their own thing (or, in extreme cases, get even)—sometimes in spite of themselves. The goal of leadership is never really to just get results, but to increase the value of the company over time using agreeable means.

Thanks to William F. Baker, Ph.D., & Michael O'Malley, Ph.D.

HR - Styles at Work:- How the Four Styles Use Influence In Groups

The different styles try to sway, or influence, the group in different ways. This can become critical because, every group at an early stage wrestles with the issue of who's going to wield power.

Indirect and Open

RELATERS -- whether they're anointed leaders or not -- often take on the role of keeping the process moving along. They'll elaborate on what others say and encourage everyone to have their say. They seek to exert influence indirectly by keeping things mellow and moving.    

Direct and Open

SOCIALIZERS are more inclined to use flattery or compliments to win over the group and get its members to feel good as a team. They'll often use humor to defuse tension or conflict. They try to avoid a hard line that'll lose them acceptance or recognition by the group.


Indirect and Guarded

Information and logic are the tools of the THINKERS. They like to furnish information that, directly or indirectly, suggests their expertise and experience. ("Remember, I was one of those who came up with the original plan. The rationale at that time was clear, and I think what we want to do here is....") They're the most likely to focus on the "rightness," or logic, of a solution, rather than spend a lot of time debating who's personally helped or hindered by it.    

Direct and Guarded

DIRECTORS like to influence others by structuring agendas, tasks, and assignments and, if relevant, use their formal position as leverage ("As general manager for the past 18 years, I've seen these situations develop, and I think....")


By Tony Alessandra

HR - Management:- Managing Up--Get the Boss to Have Your Ideas

If you don't get bosses to have your ideas, heaven forfend, they'll come up with their own. And that spells disaster for both of you.

Bill Oncken, late management training guru of Managing Management Time, used to say that managers need to get the boss to have the managers' ideas. Face it, he said — you know your job better than the boss does, so the boss's ideas are never going to be as good as yours.

So, for both to succeed, the boss has to have your ideas. Then everyone's happy.

Susan M. Heathfield calls this "managing up." Heathfield, an HR expert blogging for, says no one will ever have as much concern for the quality of the relationship with your boss as you. Like it or not, she says, you're in charge of that relationship.

Here's a distillation of some tips she recently shared for managing up:

1. Work to Develop a Positive Relationship.

Relationships are based on trust, and that's fairly simple to develop:

--Do what you say you'll do.
--Meet deadlines.
--Don't let the boss be blindsided.
--Keep the boss informed about what you are doing.
--Admit to problems and mistakes.

2. Work from the Boss's Viewpoint.

It's not all about you, says Heathfield. Think about the following:

--What are the boss's goals and how can you help to further them?
--What are the boss's weaknesses and how can you support him or her so those weaknesses don't show?
--What are the boss's biggest worries and how can you help to allay them?

3. Look for the Best in Your Boss.

Most bosses have a mix of good and bad, says Heathfield, and the tendency is to focus on the bad.

Stop trying to change the boss, she says. Most bosses, for better or worse, have gotten where they are by behaving the way they do. They are not likely to change, even though perhaps they should. It's the subordinate's job to figure out what the boss values and how he or she likes to work.

4. Learn from the Boss.

People are usually promoted because they have made valuable contributions to their organizations. There's probably a lot that you can learn from your boss.

5. Ask for Feedback.

Let your boss play the role of coach and mentor. Most will enjoy that role and, again, you'll learn something.

6. Value Your Boss's Time.

Schedule regular meetings so you don't have to interrupt frequently. Be prepared with your key questions and backup materials.

7. Accept that Sometimes You Will Disagree.

Sometimes you will disagree with your boss and there may be an emotional response. Get over it, says Heathfield. Accept the fact that your boss has more authority and power than you do.

Thanks to BLR

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Motivational:- You Get What You Tolerate

In medicine you look at how "well tolerated" a drug will be related to its side effects.  At work and at home, many people evaluate new opportunities related to what can be well tolerated. Yet after life, most people don't want their tombstone to read, "He tolerated stuff for other people because they paid him."  Especially, when we realize that we can make more money and have more fun doing work that engages our passions.  Life is too short for doing work you don't enjoy for people you don't respect.
"No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him." James Russell Lowell

The message is: Life is not a dress rehearsal. You can solve your problems using the mind you know you have. You can stop seeking answers outside yourself. You can look within.