Making the Most of a Coach

Young man coaching young women.Wise business leaders (and leaders-in-the-making) have learned what Olympic athletes and opera singers have long understood: you get better at your job faster with the help of someone experienced who holds you accountable.  What is often less understood is how to optimize that help.

Whether your help comes from an outside coach, or an internal coach developed by your company, how you establish your goals and expectations are crucial to the success of the relationship.  Here are some key points to consider in a highly beneficial coaching relationship. Continue reading

The Perils of Decision-Making: A Checklist for Making Good Decisions

DecisionOf all the things we do as leaders, the one that is most front-and-center in our day-to-day lives is making decisions.  We make dozens of them every day, sometimes intuitively with little thought, and sometimes with gut-wrenching uncertainty and procrastination.  You’d think that a skill so essential to our work would be the first thing taught in our MBA classes, but was it for you?  Bet not. Continue reading

Is Inclusion Always Ideal in Decision-Making?

justice - vote à mains levéesInvolving employees in decisions has become the holy grail of consulting wisdom.  Consider these quotes from consulting firms’ sites:

“There is a direct correlation between how involved employees are in the decision making in their department or team and their overall morale, motivation, and satisfaction with their jobs.” Continue reading

How Damaging is a Micro-Managing Boss?

Employee being controlled by bossThe board of a medium-sized nonprofit was starting to get very concerned.  There had been turnover in key positions in fund development and programming over the past two years, and it was starting to show up in financial results.  Both fundraising and earned income were down, and the agency’s strategic efforts to expand their reach geographically were severely compromised by the staff disruptions. Continue reading

How Damaging is a Conflict-Avoidant Boss?

Hear no evil. Senior man covers his ears, on white backgroundHere’s a roughly verbatim description of a boss – a very high-level boss – from one of his direct reports:

“My boss is conflict-avoidant … and it’s killing morale in the organization.  There are two senior people who don’t get along; they refuse to work with each other, gossip and back-stab each other with their teams, and are creating two opposing silos within the organization. Continue reading