A Manifesto for my work: three principles

Principle #1: Work should be fun

The world would be a better place if everyone recognized that it’s possible and profitable to have fun at work.

Corporate cultures would improve, stress levels would go down, profits would increase, families would be happier.

Fun at work means engagement, creativity, meaning, flow, steady progress.

It’s not foozball, free food, and Friday beer parties.

Fun leads to productivity, innovation, profitability, engaged employees, successful projects, lower costs, easier and more successful hiring.

Organizations with crappy cultures aren’t fun to work for. They suffer from employee turnover, higher insurance costs, absenteeism, hostile work environments, more accidents.

Work shouldn’t suck – and it doesn’t have to.

When work is more fun, teams are more productive, engaged, and effective.Click To Tweet

Principle #2: First-line managers are your most valuable asset

First-line managers are an incredibly valuable – and vulnerable – asset. They have the most direct impact on  individual employees, and therefore on productivity, engagement, and results.

They’re the ones who can make work fun for everyone.

But they’re thrown in the deep end when they’re promoted from individual contribution into management.

They’ve been tactical for their entire career; they don’t understand strategy or strategic thinking. They need help understanding the bigger context and how to take initiative instead of being told what to do. They’re unsure about how and when to communicate, and they’re generally clumsy at delegation.

If companies supported their first-line managers, especially in the first months after promoting them, they’d have a competitive advantage because they’d no longer have to recover – financially, with recruiting, with failed or delayed projects – from struggling managers who were never given the training and support they needed to succeed.

Instead, they’d reap the rewards of better decisions, better solutions, more innovation, and high-performing teams completing projects on time and within budget.

Supporting first-line managers to develop and grow makes financial and human sense. Better leaders make better teams, better projects, better quality, better culture, BETTER.

First-line managers are an incredibly valuable – and vulnerable – asset. Supporting their growth and development makes financial *and* human sense.Click To Tweet

Principle #3: Leadership is individual

Self-knowledge is a crucial leadership skill. The best managers and leaders understand themselves. They learn what works for them and what doesn’t; they apply leadership skills and practices with their own individual style.

And they get to know their team members as separate individuals as well, recognizing that a team is much more than just a group of employees. They manage according to their understanding of each person, which inspires, engages, and motivates.

If each manager were encouraged to be a manager and leader according to their own uniqueness, instead of according to a playbook or rulebook, they would thrive, grow, and excel. They would develop good management and leadership habits right from the start, instead of having to unlearn bad habits later in their careers.

And if they had the support they needed to adapt essential leadership skills to fit their individuality, they would truly become their company’s most valuable asset.

And work would be a lot more fun.

Leadership is individual, and self-knowledge is a crucial leadership skill. When managers have support to adapt essential leadership skills to fit their individuality, they truly become their company's most valuable asset.Click To Tweet

A few more things

Why I teach tools instead of concepts

We’ve all been there: home from a conference or workshop, excited to try out the ideas and concepts we learned, and … um. Wait. What was that again? How do we do this in real-time, in the real world, at game speed?

Tools, on the other hand, are faster and easier to learn, simpler to implement.

A manager can practice with tools, gain skills, track progress, play with them (fun!), and measure the micro-successes that lead to macro: being able to use the tools when the stakes are high.

“Emerging leader” and “hi-po employee” – who decides?

Managers of managers aren’t necessarily good managers. Why rely on them to select who the next generation of leaders should be? What political ax might they have to grind? Or are they simply overwhelmed?

Shift to an application process. Allow employees to put themselves forward for training and support through a clearly-defined, structured process. Click here to learn what this can look like.

It matters

Problems roll uphill. A manager fails, and their manager is in trouble. Quality issues impact the brand and ultimately impact profitability and growth. Employee turnover slows everything down and increases costs, especially when you become a company known to be difficult to work for.

One bad manager can infect their team, their colleagues and colleagues’ teams, and even their own manager.

Fortunately, there’s a better – and much more fun! – way.

One bad manager can infect their team, their colleagues and colleagues’ teams, and even their own manager. Fortunately, there's a better - and much more fun! - way.Click To Tweet

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