You've just had an urgent problem dumped on your desk, posed to you in a meeting, or presented to you by a client. The situation is tense. Emotions are starting to flare, and all eyes are looking to you to act. What do you do? Do you react with a knee-jerk solution? Do you calm the situation with an acceptable solution? Or, do you stop, think, and work to identify a solution that's going to allow you to think, "I'm glad I took the time to think that through"?
You may have rolled your eyes when you read the title to this article. I know I may have too if I hadn't just experienced two senior leaders not 'walk their own talk' just last week. If some of the best-of-the-best leaders I am able to work with don't consistently walk their own talk, the likelihood that most other 'mere' managers and leaders don't either.
We've all heard of helicopter parents. They're those annoying parents that constantly hover and prevent their children from learning to deal with life's challenges for themselves. Then, these children grow into young adults who are woefully ill-prepared to cope with the realities of an adult working environment.
However annoying, though real, helicopter parents are, helicopter managers are equally, if not more annoying. Helicopter managers hover and prevent their employees from thinking and making decisions, solving problems, and consistently increasing their marketable skills.
In the April 21, 2015, Gallup® Business Journal, Amy Adkins wrote an article entitled: Only One in 10 People Possess the Talent to Manage. In her article she states that Gallup found,
"One of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name the manager...Companies fail to choose the candidate with the talent for the job 82% of the time."
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When my company works with organizations on succession and workforce planning, the discussions on departments, positions, talent, and managers needed going forward get emotional. They get emotional because we're discussing people. Good people. Hard working people. But, we are discussing people who may not be a right-fit for a management position, or for the company going forward. And those are difficult discussions to have.
Though that title may strike you as a bit abrasive, there's nothing new with the idea: Change is inevitable. Either you adapt and change, develop new skills or technologies, or you'll die as a business or you'll lose your job as an employee. There are no other options.