Category Archives: leadership

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Engagement is job one for any manager

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As we saw in the closing paragraph from last time, Captain Abrashoff’s engagement of his ship’s crew led to truly superior combat-readiness ratings. In the end, the Benfold would become regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, winning the Navy’s prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness.   In addition, the rate of military promotions tripled on the Benfold during Abrashoff’s watch. Personnel turnover, which had been at unacceptable levels under the previous leadership, decreased to an unprecedented one percent.  When engagement levels rise, everything improves: The Benfold is an outstanding example, one that demonstrates why I think engagement is job one for any manager. The ship’s all-important combat readiness ratings rose not due to stricter management controls … Continue reading

Relationships with individuals are the key to leading groups

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After last week’s post, I received a number of requests—from both readers and clients—asking my advice about how managers should go about cultivating deep relationships with their individual team members.   As such, I began thinking that it would be a good idea to discuss some other examples in the coming weeks, illustrations of how leaders and managers in a variety of fields—the arts, sports, and business, and perhaps even others—rely on deep connections with individuals to elicit extraordinary group performance.  In addition, I went back to my notes on Abrashoff’s book, It’s Your Ship, and re-read some of the passages I found particularly pertinent to this question. And, the more I reflected on … Continue reading

How to build cultures of engagement

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Returning to a theme from our last post, the most effective leaders engage others in a group culture by creating a space where people want to come, to participate, to express themselves, to contribute their energy and passion, and to feel part of something meaningful.  Stories of people who are able to create these types of cultures within large organizations have special appeal for me, no matter what the field. Some of my best leadership examples come from the world of sports, the military, or the arts, as well as from business or politics. Leaders who build extraordinary group cultures understand this simple truth: If they focus on their possibilities rather than on the limitations of their context, they … Continue reading

The greatest responsibility of managers

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In the last entry, I focused in part on what I see as the responsibility of every leader, at any level of an organization. To me, we all have a responsibility to create a space where people willingly participate and express themselves, where they contribute their talent, energy and passion. Unfortunately, my experience has shown that managers who truly take this undertaking seriously are the exception rather than the rule.  Of course, we have seen that engagement of the managers themselves is a significant issue. Even a casual observer of today’s business press cannot help but notice an abundance of evidence that middle managers in large organizations often perceive their jobs in less than positive terms. In describing their daily … Continue reading

An artistic view from the twenties on management

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There is a delightful scene in Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris, where the legendary Gertrude Stein—played by actress Kathy Bates—lays out her philosophy of life, art and literature. “We all fear death and question our place in the universe,” she explains. “The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence.”  Miss Stein, as her followers called her, had enormous social and creative influence in the first three decades of the 20th century, as a muse to many of the great painters, novelists and poets of her time. The informal “salon” she ran from her home in Paris was frequented by artists such as Braque, Picasso, Joan Miró, … Continue reading

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Page 2 of 27123...Last »