Team building

Managing and Keeping Friends

In theory, hiring a friend onto your team should be a great idea. You know them. You already trust them. You have mutual respect. Why wouldn’t it work?

The reality is that transitioning a peer-to-peer friendship to a manager-subordinate relationship rarely goes smoothly. Why? Because people don’t create new contracts upfront.
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BCB Commuinicator: Inspiring Action with Emotion

Chris Obst’ article Inspiring Action with Emotion, published by BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how effective management comes from both the head and the heart.

BCB Communicator: Go Team!

Chris Obst’s article Go Team, published by the BCB Communicator magazine is posted here with the permission of the publisher.

In the article Chris explains how to position and empower teams to deliver their best performance.


Are you an invisible leader?

I’ve said before that part of being a great leader is that you let people do their jobs.

But some managers of managers and CEOs become so hands off they become invisible. Manage your people well and let them manage their people. But don’t step so far back that their people (or their people’s people) don’t know who you are or what you look like. Continue reading…

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The title for this article is also the new tag line for my company. It came out of an “ah ha” moment that a lot of managers have.

In management, you are always moving, stretching, balancing and rebalancing – it is pretty rare that anyone feels totally comfortable because nothing stays still for very long.

3 reasons you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

  1. Change is constant. And change makes everyone of us more or less uncomfortable.I’m coaching a new VP who confided in me, “This is a really hard job! I feel like I never have things under control.” In her pre-management role, she was able to get things set up and let them operate on cruise control. That just doesn’t happen in management. Continue reading…

Management and energy insights from the slopes

I spent last week skiing with my family at Whistler, and the holiday inspired me to write something a little different this month!

1. Try an idea out. Push it a few times, if it still isn’t working try another idea.

chris-and-kidsOur trip started with a plan. My wife and I wanted to take the kids on a spring break ski week at one of the family-friendly resorts in the Okanagan. Our friends had raved about them.

But when I started calling around to make reservations (a few months ago) every place I called had problems. They were booked, or they didn’t get back to us. Continue reading…

V is for victory and vulnerability

How does an athlete like Maelle Ricker go from coming in 4rth in Turin in 2006, Ricker to grabbing the gold in women’s snowboard cross in 2010?

She didn’t achieve her ultimate career high by pretending she was perfect.

Any athlete, or leader, who wants to push themselves to the next level has to be willing to be honest about their weaknesses.

3 mind blowing facts about weakness in leaders: Continue reading…

Give your people what they want: one-on-one’s

Give your people what they want.

Following on from my last article about one-on-ones, there is a really easy way for you to give your people what they want this holiday, and throughout the year. Ask them.

Now is a great time to connect with your team and talk to them about their futures and where they see themselves headed.

People want to be empowered to good work, and they want to be seen and respected for who they are and the talents they offer. We aren’t that mysterious. Continue reading…

Get past mistakes

We’ve just about made it through 2009. So…? How did you do?

If you are like most people I know, you got tossed around a bit, lost some business, made some cuts and learned a few lessons.

We knew going into this year that we would need to buckle up and hold on.

Now, here we are at the end of it, the roller-coaster is slowing down (for a little while), and we have an opportunity to open our eyes see where we are and where we’ve been. Continue reading…

Brand yourself as a great leader

When I coach, I have a number tools that I use to assess clients. I use different tools for different reasons. But I’m excited about a new Personal Brand Assessment that I’m using to help people:

1) see what impression you leave with people

2) look at what you are doing in your career to consciously cultivate your brand or unconsciously sabotage it Continue reading…

The biggest mistake managers make

The biggest mistake I see managers make is that they repeatedly bail on one-on-ones with direct reports. They set up the meetings, then a big clients comes in from out of town, or someone from head office calls, or the project is behind schedule and… I’ve heard all the excuses. They don’t fly.

It’s a mistake to ditch one-on-ones because:

1. When you bail on one-on-ones you send a message.You inadvertently tell people that they are unimportant, unseen, and unappreciated. 

Don’t think it’s all that bad? Think about how you feel when your boss sets up a meeting with you to talk about your progress and then pushes it because something else came up. That feeling right there is the same feeling that your team members feel every time you bail on them. 

And if you repeat the mistakes of your managers, your employees will repeat them too. Now we are talking about more than one disappointed employee, we are talking about a corporate culture that disrespects employees and stifles potential. It’s serious. Continue reading…

Workshop: Overcome the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

A lot of people have read Patrick Lencioni’s classic, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.

You know the model. But the power to change requires people taking action.

5 dysfunctions of a teamIn this program, Chris teaches the foundational 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model. He then applies it to the real dynamics of the of the people in the room. You aren’t learning theory here. You jump some very real hurdles and everyone stretches themselves to take the team to the next level.

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No More Workarounds

Recently, a very good client asked me “does everyone know about workarounds?”

Workarounds are the extra steps you, or your staff, take because something, or more likely someone, is getting in the way of the ideal work flow in your department.

Here are some examples:

The report should go to Ned for review, but he holds everything up. Everybody knows the report will sit on his desk forever and when he Workaroundsfinally gets to it, he’ll miss things. You give it to your superstar to check over, even though it isn’t her job. WORKAROUND

Be the Change!

Truth: We are all the victims and benefactors of our environments.

You, as a manager, have the power to be the change that you want to see in your corporate culture. You, as an enlightened leader, have the responsibility to be that change.

The last time you had a meeting with your boss, how did it go? Did you leave the meeting feeling empowered to do great work? Was it rushed, or all over the place? Did your boss give you anything meaty to chew on? Or was it micro-management mania?

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Face Conflict Head On

Conflict is a constant in management, so get used to it.

Last month we started to look at Patrick Lenconi’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model. My article Build From Trust tackled the first dysfunction that comes up in the model – absence of trust.

The second dysfunction is fear of conflict.

According to Lenconi, fear of conflict inhibits teams from engaging in “unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues.” Continue reading…

Build from trust

I’m a big fan of Patrick Lencioni’s book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. Its dysfuctions model is very strong. At the base level, team dysfunction comes  down to trust. “And when it comes to teams,” says Lencioni, “trust is all about vulnerability.”

It’s kind of obvious right? Logic says:

Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Your team needs to have a good working relationship to work effectively. They can’t do that if they can’t trust each other. Simple. Continue reading…

Stop being a hero!

How often do employees come into your office for help with a problem? How often do you solve the problem for them? And how often do you prompt them to solve their own problems.

There is something very seductive about rescuing other people. And Managers often find it difficult to draw the line between helping someone solve their own problem, and taking the problem on themselves.
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The hero, the great manager and the open door

Having an open door policy with your staff is fine, but you need to take responsibility for the effect that your implementation of that policy has on your staff.

The Life of the Hero

Your door is always open: Your people know that you will always come to their rescue. Continue reading…

Elicit Feedback

You know that feeling you get in your gut just before you ask for feedback? Everybody gets it.

It is a battle of the wills between the little part of you that’s proud of being “big” enough to ask, and the part that’s scared to death of how you’ll feel after. Who’s winning the battle in your world? Continue reading…