It’s all very well starting the New Year with good intentions, but I’m still working my way through the chocolate and cake mountain that mysteriously appeared over Christmas. I have a very strong food ethic: wasting it is just plain wrong, so throwing away perfectly good if distinctly unhealthy food is quite frankly never going to happen. I blame my parents (of course).
There’s a lot (and I mean a lot) written at this time of year about making New Year Resolutions. Most of the time, I avoid the whole resolution fever as I think that if you want to change something, there’s nothing magical about 1st January that makes it any more likely that you’ll transform your life. But then I got to thinking (dangerous), and for me thinking leads to research, which leads to yet more thinking. And before you know it, I’m writing an article about the very subject I was trying to avoid.
There have been a few items in the press recently that have made me think about what diversity means to people. The Supreme Court case about triggering Article 50 prompted comments about the lack of diversity in the legal profession. This was shortly followed by former Football Association chiefs calling for change, as the FA is currently ‘out of balance’. In both cases, the number of middle-aged/elderly white men in positions of influence was the focus of comment.
I’ve long been a fan of Patrick Lencioni’s leadership fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. In this short engaging book, Lencioni reveals five issues that go to the very heart of why teams often struggle. The issues build on each other, starting with the absence of trust.
Making tough decisions is an unavoidable part of being a manager. It takes courage to cut staff, to tackle poor performance or to kill a much loved but no longer viable project. But that doesn’t mean you have to become toughened and uncaring about the people involved. There’s absolutely no reason that courageous decisions cannot be executed with compassion, and several good business reasons why they should.
I’ve seen a lot of managers driven by fear at work. Fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of getting into trouble, fear of being judged and found wanting, fear that one of their team will outperform them, fear of conflict, fear of ending up at an employment tribunal, fear of losing their job. The list goes on and on.
According to Confucius, wisdom, courage and compassion are the three universally recognised moral qualities of men. They’re also regarded as key elements of Buddhahood. But where do they fit into management?
Don’t worry I’m not having an existential crisis – it’s far too early in the day for that.
I recently read a discussion on an HR forum about the problems of retaining staff in a small business where promotion prospects are slim. My initial reaction was ‘well tough, you can’t’. Let’s face it, if an organisation’s managers are a permanent fixture, clinging on until they finally drop/retire, what’s left for anyone who’s the slightest bit ambitious or (let’s not be squeamish about it) wants to earn more? Continue reading “Why am I here?”
One of the things I love about this time of year is gathering conkers. Yes, I may be middle-aged, but there’s something about them that gives me a sense of joy. So much so that I always have a pile of them somewhere in my office.
But is hasn’t always been that way. Continue reading “That old chestnut”
I love music. Quite a wide range of music. Listening to and performing music helped me through some pretty miserable teenage years and at one point I toyed with the idea of being a professional. Somewhere along the line however, I realised I just wasn’t good enough and eventually I established a career in developing people instead.
Recently, I heard a story about a professional saxophone player that brought these two worlds together. Continue reading “Sweet (and not so sweet) music”