Leadership through Eyes of a Coach...Alan Booth

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Paradox of Asking Your Boss for Help

I am not sure who actually creates this dilemma.

Robert is a direct, quick acting and intense senior manager but is perceived as a most helpful manager who takes pride in helping his people through their challenges. So when his people are up against a stone wall they tend to rush to him and then he intervenes based on the power of his position.

I say "rush" because they could work harder on better communicating and developing relationships to get greater cooperation, especially from peers. They lack motivation because Robert is always the rescuer.

On the other hand, Robert would benefit from understanding that when he rushes in to help, he is neutering his people by sending the message, "you are unable to deal effectively with Anne". And Anne clearly gets that message which empowers her to not step up to help until Robert gets involved.

Whew! The hands-off executive gets hands-on at the wrong time for the wrong reason.

Stay with me. During the last year Rick promoted Mary to his team when Mary's job was reinvented and taken over by a seasoned manager, Mike. Mary is bogged down by tasks from her old job because Mike does not feel this is within his priorities. Mary, the kind person she is keeps helping Mike. Rick talks to Mike but nothing happens. So Rick goes to Robert.

Does Robert solve the problem? No, because he is a hands-off manager who spends 95% of his time with the top of his company, developing strategy and other corporate matters. So he is heard but does not create effective accountability.

If you are still with me, here's the lesson. Using the power of your manager, or even other more powerful people in your organization, carries the risk that you may reduce your own ability to influence others. Step up and learn how to effectively gain cooperation from peers and stakeholders. Your job will be much easier!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Loneliness in the Digital World

When I was a young kid I was a card carrying intovert, loving the time alone. But through some strange but loving parenting I became an "extreme extravert" craving conversation, meeting new people and challenging others to think outside the box.

I really need help here in the middle of 2010.

As I wait in the lobby of a client for authorization to enter, I finish reading the Journal and realize he is 20 minutes late - realize that when one of his reports comes down to greet me. "Alan, we don't understand why you are waiting; didn't you get Rick's email that he is held up in a meeting?"

Two weeks ago I interviewed a prospective client who wants help in an exit strategy prior to retirement. "We know your credentials and just need to feel comfortable with you...the fit thing, you know." By the end of the meeting after talking about a deceased family member and the pride in taking over the business, she says she is close to tears. I thought that meant the fit was a perfect match, especially after meeting every one of her staff. "I'll call you on Monday to determine when we should start". It has been over two weeks and five attempts to reconnect.

Loneliness in the lobby and loneliness staring at a phone that won't ring back.


I purchased an IPhone 4 for immediate email connecting (if only I could fix that darn antenna problem).

But that does not help my need to have live dialogue. In my business of coaching and management consulting, it is the nuances, tone and body language that communicates louder than words.

Where can I go for help?