Management Tips From A Boss Who Actually Gives A Damn
Listening to your people–and following up on what you hear with empathy–could be the key to leadership success.
Kim Scott had one thing to do that day. She was going to price her product. It was the year 2000, she was the founder and CEO of Juice Software, and she had blocked off her whole morning to make this decision.
The moment she stepped off the elevator, she was met by co-worker after co-worker who needed and wanted to talk to her–one about a health concern, another about his kid excelling at school, another about a disintegrating marriage. She comforted, celebrated with, and listened to each one in turn. She didnt, however, price the product.
The most surprising thing about becoming a manager is all the pressure to stop caring, says Scott–and she doesnt mean caring about the work, she means caring about the people. I was excited about the product and the opportunity [at Juice], but also I was excited to build a team of people who really cared about each other and loved to work together.
The morning she got distracted from the pricing decision was not an exception. Finding the time to focus on the work without being interrupted was a constant struggle. She even called her CEO coach at the time and asked, Is my job to build a great product or am I really just an armchair psychiatrist? She got her answer when her coach literally yelled at her: Its called management and it is your job! These words have always rung in my ears, every time Ive been tempted to stop caring, Scott says.
WHAT IT MEANS TO GIVE A DAMN
Just say it.
Dont be loose with praise.
Reserve a special one-on-one every quarter with each of your reports.
Embrace the discomfort.
Reward the truth.
TAILOR YOUR LEADERSHIP
Give excellent ratings to everyone who is performing exceptionally.
Put the gradual growth achievers in positions where they can train others.
Dont ignore the middle.
Evaluate skilled underperformers.
Make the tough calls.