Posted by: penobscot | January 18, 2011

Avoid your animal tendencies and be a great manager

Richard Maun who wrote the book “My Boss is a B@$T@*D” has some great insight below in a post from Management-Issues on how to be attentive to your style of management and avoid the nasty behavior associated with being a disliked boss. His book and more survival tips are available here: http://www.richardmaunbooks.co.uk/bastards_downloads.php

Most managers come to work to do a good job, but when we’re stressed we can forget our learned behaviours, carefully honed on training days and outdoor survival courses. Instead we drop back into an archaic behaviour, developed during our formative years and deployed to protect us when the pressure is on.

We don’t mean to bark at people, or stomp around the office like a two-year old having a tantrum. We don’t mean to do these things, but most managers in my experience have done them at some point. Most of these people were not aware of their behaviour because they were not alert to the fact that their management style had shifted down from ‘great’ to ‘rubbish’.

The easy way to remain as a poised, thoughtful manager is to be aware of what a nightmare boss looks like and to adopt the opposite approach. We need to catch ourselves in the moment, think about what we’ve just said and decide to do something different instead of carrying on.

Rule one in the big book of management states that managers and staff are all people. Thinking, feeling, complex organisms who bruise easily and bear grudges for longer than they might care to admit.

Forget rule one and as a manager you are incompetent and should immediately turn in your badge and your gun and resign from the corporate police force.

People who forget rule one can turn into a wild animal, like the ones that roam freely on the dusty Serengeti. They can become one of four basic animal types: a crocodile, a lion, an elephant or a meerkat.

Croc-bosses are tough to work for because they like to out-think you at every turn, which can result in your own brain fossilizing with under use. Crocodiles always have a cunning plan and they love messing with office politics.

If you play mind games with people, show sudden naked aggression and tend to bite first and ask questions later then you have croc tendencies. Avoid intrigue by talking openly about plans and encourage thinking in others by inviting them to offer suggestions and to consider options.

Lions love to strut around and show people their nasty sharp claws and their nasty sharp teeth. Their handshakes are bone crushing, they let you know who is in charge and they hate competition.

Misery loves company and if you work for a lion you will have plenty of it. If you’re a lion boss, then stop telling people how great you are, stop scaring them with your aggressive attitude and stop pouncing on their work to find fault. You’re a bully and you’ll pay for it.

Crocodiles and lions are fairly common in a busy office, because aggression is a handy shortcut to get the task done. It avoids having to use real skill and thoughtfulness and so saves time.

Elephants are slab sided lumps who flap their ears and munch leaves and grass. If you’re an elephant under pressure it means that you turn from being a large herbivore to a wild charging beast. People get squashed as you lash out to allocate tasks, or stomp round the office to find your latest scapegoat.

Elephants can run surprisingly fast and if you tend to leave a debris trail of flattened staff when responding to a crisis then that’s your preferred style. Ponder the situation, ask for opinions and if you feel your emotions running high, take some time out and cool down.

At the opposite end of the size-scale to elephants are meerkats: bosses who bugger off at the first sign of trouble and scurry away to hide in the boardroom, where they cower beyond reach of mere mortal staff, leaving them to take key decisions, run their business and earn their pay.

Meerkat bosses are nervous people, living on a hair trigger, waiting to duck responsibility at the first whiff of danger. If you just love to delegate all problems away from you, or find that you disappear in a crisis then you probably have meerkat tendencies.

Instead of leaving your staff to cope alone, be honest about your fears and concerns and work collaboratively to build quick and effective solutions.

Be alert to the general nastiness of taking on an animal type and use this perspective to keep yourself grounded, rounded and professional. Then practice humility, which is the least used of all management styles.

All four animal types are developed out of a sense of grandiosity. Instead, be humble. Admit your weak spots, your worries and most importantly your mistakes. That’s the real secret to success. People respect humility because it means that you respect them and their human frailties. Doing this will keep you human, will keep you off the Serengeti and will keep you performing as a professional manager. Be humble, stay alert and avoid acting like a wild animal. Then you know you’re a great manager.

Posted by: penobscot | September 14, 2010

Your Fundraising Letter

Recently came across this great article by Sandy Rees on what it takes to make a successful fundraising letter. It sure caught my attention in its thought provoking conclusions so I thought I’d share it in its entirety here.
It’s just about fundraising season! And that means it’s time to get a fundraising letter in the mail.

Before you get started, I wanted to share with you how to make your fundraising letter successful. I’ve seen folks spend hours and hours carefully editing their fundraising letter then get frustrated when it doesn’t give them the results they want. To help you avoid that same fate, consider these factors of your appeal’s success.

The List (40%) – The list you use to mail to will make or break your appeal. After all, if you don’t mail to the right people, it doesn’t matter how good your letter is. And don’t just buy a zip code list from the affluent section of town. People must care about your cause and be willing to respond through the mail in order to be good candidates for your direct mail appeal.

The Offer (20%) – The Ask that you make in your appeal, or your offer, will play a large part in the overall success of your appeal. Make it easy to understand, tangible, and realistic. A good offer is something like “Your gift of $23 will help us provide hot meals for a home-bound senior for a month.”

Timing (20%) – When your letter goes into the mail also plays a large part in the success of your appeal. Some months are proven to be better for mailing than others. Also think about what else you have going in the mail, like special event invitations or newsletters, and what else is happening in your community (don’t mail the same time as the United Way kickoff or some other large nonprofit activity).

The Package (10%) – The package is the envelope and all its contents as it arrives in the recipient’s mailbox. You have about 2 seconds to get the envel ope opened, and how the pieces look at first glance can determine whether they get a closer look or go straight to the trash.

The Letter (10%) – The actual letter of your appeal accounts for a small part of the overall success of your appeal. No doubt it’s important to have a well-crafted letter, but don’t spend ALL your time on this one piece.

Sandy Rees, CFRE, is a coach, consultant, and trainer who shows small nonprofit organizations how to raise more money and grow their Boards. For free tips on how to raise all the money your organization needs, visit http://www.getfullyfunded.com.

Posted by: penobscot | August 16, 2010

Turning the Management Pyramid Upside Down

Recently the Bank of New Zealand has experimented with a new open management model that holds great promise. They took the traditionally management hierarchy pyramid and inverted, literally turning it on its head. What they did was empower all their branch managers to think and act as if their branch was a small stand alone business.

Branch mangers were now empowered to deliver superior customer service, to provide inspiration and leadership to their staff, understand all the fundamentals of the business model and basically run the profit center as if it was their own.

The new way of manging certainly had its hurdles to overcome not the least of which was changing long held mindsets, but by all reasonable accounts the change seems to be working for the better.

Read more here … http://bit.ly/bC7Ybj

Posted by: penobscot | August 12, 2010

Beware of Mission Drift

An interesting article here that suggest many nonprofits are not properly functioning because they lack the vision/planning to ensure that all their activities are being properly tied into ensuring mission effectiveness. The author argues that “just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.” The article points out that mission drift is a huge area of trouble for non profits in achieving their goals.

Don’t assume too that because it has always been done this way that is an acceptable answer. Who knows, what is to say that those who went before were not in error in their judgement and had not taken a critical wrong turn on their path to mission effectiveness … dare to think outside of the box!!

Check out the article here: http://bit.ly/9s7M1t

Posted by: penobscot | August 12, 2010

You Need a Sound Marketing Strategy

Many will tell you that in today’s fast paced Internet environment social media is where you have to be. Yet the old adage “Look Before You Leap,” has never held more true. Signing up for Twitter or Facebook may make business sense but be prepared before you do so to be able to articulate what exactly the return on investment is that you are willing to accept. That means you must think ahead and you must plan both strategically and tactically to reach your goals.

What better way to begin the planning process than by putting pen to paper and writing? It will help clarify your thoughts and give you something to refer back to as a sort of game plan. A little bit of planning when it comes to social media will allow you to devise a strategy to further your efforts at content creation, customer acquisition and product placement. a little bit of marketing strategy up front will keep you focused and prevent you from going helter skelter in your approach.

This is a great life lesson too … always have a business plan that you are readily able to communicate. Whatever you want to accomplish in life it all starts with the first step in the planning process. To be prepared for the future plan for the future.

Posted by: penobscot | August 10, 2010

Human Toxicity as it Relates to the Workplace

In an interesting analysis Dr. Ellen Weber recently found 75% of employees routinely state they are dissatisfied with their job experience and has tracked down the top 10 negative emotions they exhibit. She has gone on, using brain mapping to reveal positive and useful suggestions for overcoming this toxicity and moving the atmosphere to a brain driven one from a toxic one.

Among the notable toxins she prescribes ways to overcome are those related to being tone-deaf, to being sleep-deprived, to just being downright cynical. Check it out here ….

http://bit.ly/avwP20

Posted by: penobscot | August 10, 2010

Wikipedia for Non Profits

Most Non Profits by now have successfully taken the step of creating a presence for themselves on Facebook and started attracting “fans.” Now Lisabeth Cort argues it is time to take the next step and build/maintain a presence on Wikipedia. Her sound argument extends the linkage from Facebook to Wikipedia and provides yet another tool for building a Non Profit’s on line social presence.

Take a look at the full article here ….

http://bit.ly/9exHbB

Posted by: penobscot | August 10, 2010

On the value Of Humor as a Leadership Technique

An interesting look at a new managerial model that models the value of humor as it affects organizational outcomes and employee happiness. This article shows that adding humor and virtues to a company’s corporate culture can vastly improve the desired behaviors and outcomes.

http://bit.ly/9qfm7D

Posted by: penobscot | August 2, 2010

On Leadership

Joe Raelin at Northeastern University just had an interesting idea on Leadership for these times. He suggests that leadership involves working together as a team and working on responding to daily problems as they arise as a collective entity. Joe concludes that leadership development is not motivating others to do what you want, but rather the fostering of a dialog about how everyone can contribute to the overall success of the mission. Read his thoughts here http://bit.ly/dDwerB.

Posted by: penobscot | July 29, 2010

Tracking Your Return on Social Media

As with any investment we always want to know what our return is. Social Media is no different, to gauge its effectiveness you need to track and measure key metrics. Here is an article that will get you started. The Basics of Social Media R.O.I. http://bit.ly/djcaa2

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