Three Lessons For The New Manager


You can read books and books and even more books on successful Management behaviors and techniques. You can use your Emotional Quotient (EQ) to learn by observation while licking-your-wounds as you attempt those black & blue learning experiences (misguided hands-on leadership efforts). You can learn in a variety of ways; sometimes even when you don’t recognize teachable-moments as learning-moments.


So, here are three “A” grades from one of my “real world MBA” educational pop quizzes that had only one question. “Identify three skills of a successful executive.” Here is what my response was:


Talk Second, Listen First – A boss and two of his subordinates are taking that “exercise over lunch” walk and come across a genie’s lantern. All get one wish. One of the subordinates blurts out they want to go to a vacation island and be in a beach lounger, enjoying the sun. The second subordinate follows-on saying they want the same thing; but with a tall drink with an umbrella in the glass. The boss says “I want those two back at their desk in an hour.”


Moral: It’s sometimes good to let the boss go first.


  1. Solve The ”Right” Problem – A long-time salesman was coaching a new, inexperienced sales trainee. After talking long and hard, the trainee did not get a sale. After they drove away, the new trainee said, “Well, I brought them to the water; but I couldn’t make them drink.” The experienced salesman smiled and said. “That wasn’t your objective.”

Moral: As a good salesman (or leader), your job isn’t to “make” them drink. Your job is to make them thirsty.


2. Communication is Hard. Don’t Make It Harder Than It Has To Be – In an attempt

to be more organized, the leader of a pack of monkeys announced that each monkey would get 3 bananas in the morning and 4 bananas in the afternoon. One group of monkeys got angry and upset. They screeched their complaints and gripes. The Leader, wanting everybody to be content said, “Ok, you get 4 bananas in the morning and 3 bananas in the afternoon.” All the complaining monkeys became content.


Moral: Sometimes the complainers in a group are more interested in hearing themselves than they are in listening for the facts. (Think about it. Reread it.)


So what’s my point? Is it look for genie lanterns? Is it Leaders want dehydrated workers? Is it that monkeys can’t count?


Nope, my point is: Talk Second, Listen First, Solve The Right Problem, Communication is Hard. Don’t Make It Harder Than It Has To Be.


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