Quick! Who’s the best manager you’ve ever worked for? Picture him or her in your mind. Now think: what made you pick this person?
So who was the worst manager you’ve ever had? Do the same thing: visualize working for this person while thinking about what made them so horrible.
I can’t guarantee it, but if I had to guess, one of the key differences between these two was that the good manager actually listened to you, while the bad one didn’t.
Am I right?
When the good manager listened to you, how did it make you feel? Valued? Validated? Respected? Trusted? Confident? Engaged? Empowered?
How did the bad manager make you feel most of the time? Probably the exact opposite. So if you’re a manager — or even if you’re not — look at yourself in the mirror and ask: Am I a good listener? More importantly, if you asked other people that question, what would they say? If you’re interested in becoming a better manager, it’s time to refresh your approach to listening. Read More →
We got tons of stories, ranging from amusing to worrisome to alarmingly criminal. We laughed (schadenfreude is a great afternoon pick-me-up). We cried. We thought about alerting the authorities. But without further ado, the winning horrible boss story comes from reader Pasko1. Here’s a snippet:
How about my boss of 8-1/2 years? It wasn’t that he was a paranoid maniac who used to watch the dozens of security cameras remotely at his house — closed-circuit video of our office where no cash was stored and which had nothing more than beat up, second-hand furniture, off-brand computers, and about 100 of his disgusting deer heads and other things that he shot while on international hunting trips paid through the company checking account as, you guessed it, “business conferences.” … What really got to me was when he made me spend an entire day monitoring his wife’s phone usage on the Verizon Wireless website while he was going through his divorce. I then had to investigate each phone number that called her or that she called. I then had to do an ANALYSIS of each number, total minutes, total calls, and CHART THE BUSY PERIODS DURING THE DAY. Read More →
It starts when you land your first management position. Suddenly, you’re splitting your time between telling other people what to do and actually doing stuff yourself. And as you climb further up the chain, the balance shifts and you spend more and more time managing people, projects, budgets, and bosses. Then, one day, you realize that the unthinkable has happened: you’ve been so busy managing a team that you’ve let your hands-on skills deteriorate.
As you advance in your career, you will frequently hear that it’s not your hands-on skills, but rather your ability to lead your team to success that matters. I would never suggest that leadership ability is not critical to your advancement. It certainly is. But I would also suggest a supplement: pick a skill and keep it sharp. Keep it razor sharp. Having a relevant, current, hands-on skill is one of the best things you can do as you advance your career. Read More →
The Hired Guns recently brought you the first installment of 5 Skills I Use Every Day, featuring strategic UX consultant Tammy Sachs. In our second installment, Todd Cherches, the co-founder and CEO of consulting firm BigBlueGumball, adjunct lecturer at NYU, and long-time Hired Guns blogger shares his 5 best tips to enhance your productivity.
Creative people are the heart and soul of every good agency. They create art in service to commerce. The rest of us just sell it. That doesn’t, of course, mean that savvy account and strategy people can’t make significant — or even crucial — contributions to the creative process. We certainly can. We just have to do it right.
Ideally, account and planning types support the creative team by finding relevant insights, mining customer data, understanding the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase, and by projecting client business goals and communications sensibilities. Ideally, the support team packages all this up as a springboard for the creative, who then internalize the brief and make the magic.
Real life, however, is messier. The dynamic between your accounts and creative teams might be genial. It might also be tense or even hostile. It all depends on how you manage it. A long career in ad land has taught me a lot about bridging that gap and helping your creatives deliver great work, time after time. Here are four strategies I always come back to. Read More →
For those of us in Adland, Mad Men is a persistent reminder that not much has changed in our business over the past sixty years (with the exception of all the illegal and non-PC stuff, of course). Believe it or not, agencies are still run pretty much the way they are depicted on TV. Evidently, the great management and technology revolutions sidestepped Madison Avenue. Read More →
This article originally appeared on HBR.org and The Energy Project. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.
For more than a decade now, I’ve struggled to define what fuels the most sustainably productive work environment — not just on behalf of the large corporate clients we serve, but also for my own employees at The Energy Project. Perhaps nothing I’ve uncovered is as important as trust.
Much as employers understandably hunger for one-size-fits-all policies and practices, what motivates human beings remains stubbornly complex, opaque, and difficult to unravel. Perhaps that’s why I felt so viscerally the shortsightedness and futility of Marissa Mayer’s decision to order Yahoo employees who had been working from home to move back to the office, and Hubert Joly’s to do the same at Best Buy. Read More →
Every year it’s the same thing. We start out the New Year filled with good intentions, high hopes, and a formidable list of life-changing resolutions. And for an indomitable few, those resolutions result in positive changes and personal growth. But for the rest of us, life tends to get in the way.
Before we know it, January is over and February flies by (it’s such a short month!). Then the spring holidays come along. Then it’s summer, and… well, you know the rest. That pledge to “start tomorrow” just leads to the eventual realization that today is yesterday’s tomorrow. So, what can we do about it?
We can start today. For real. Right now.
What we need to do is go from “resolutions” to “real solutions.” And one real-life solution that really works, is easy to do, and can kick-start us into action, is to start reading. And my recommendation is to start your New Year’s reading with any one of the 13 inspirational and motivational books on this list. Read More →
Managing creative people is both the best and the scariest job I’ve ever had. On some days I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. On other days, I feel like I’ve gone nine rounds with Sybil. To become a decent manager, I read management books, watched what my bosses did (and didn’t do), and tried to figure out how I’d like to be managed.
The common thread here is that people want to know what’s going on and where they stand. Most people want to contribute to a team and feel like they’re doing something useful, if not important. Usually people want to like their bosses and be liked by them in return, even though it doesn’t always work out that way.
This led me to write down my learnings as an operating guide for me. I share it with all my team members because it has more lasting value as a document than as a conversation. Most of those I’ve worked with will tell you that I’m about the straightest shooter they’ve ever met. I mean what I say and I’m consistent over time. I hope this can help you get in touch with your inner manager and make your working life easier and happier. Read More →
When it comes to “rules,” which of the following statements do you most agree with?
(a) Rules are rules…period.
(b) Rules are meant to be broken.
(c) It depends.
(d) All of the above.
(e) None of the above.
While there is no one “right” answer to the above question, the way you respond says a lot about you. The way you think and feel about rules in general will influence the decisions you make and the actions you take in different situations.
Let me tell you about two controversial, thought-provoking, and emotional incidents that occurred in the past week – both of which involved “following the rules” – and see what you think: Read More →
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