A person’s greatest strength is almost always their greatest weakness.
As a manager first starting out, I learned an effective, easy method to increase staff productivity: “Managing by Walking Around.” While this is a great method to keep in your leadership utility belt, to evolve from manager to leader, it is necessary to mix in different tactics. First, I will explain “Managing by Walking Around,” and then I will describe its equally important counterpart: “Leading by Disappearing.”
Managing by Walking Around
Most successful managers are either taught this method, or figure it out from common sense and observation, early on. It is extremely simple, effective, and easy to see immediate results by doing this.
The principle is simple:
- You are the boss.
- Employees want the boss to think that they are doing a good job.
- By you merely being present in front of employees, they will work harder.
Simple enough, right? In the rare instance when a person does not want the boss to think that they are doing a good job, you should probably reconsider that individual’s employment status. It’s one issue if an employee does not do well, it’s an entirely different issue if an employee just does not care at all. This is all assuming that this is a decent place to work, has a successful culture, and that you are not a complete asshole…
So, simply being visible to employees will improve productivity. However, the real benefit from this method is when you actually engage with the staff:
- Ask them questions.
- If you see any mistakes, this is a perfect opportunity to immediately correct.
- If you see any positives, this is a perfect opportunity to praise an employee (remember: praise publicly, correct privately).
- Use this time as a chance to reiterate the overall vision or important factors that affect the business.
- Do role-play scenarios that challenge them by seeing how they would react to a variety of obstacles.
- Teach, teach, teach! “This is what to do when x happens. This is why we do it like that.”
By being present, you’ll make your staff more effective, but only for the duration of your presence. You cannot always be everywhere, which is why you engage with the staff during your “visits.” You encourage them, correct any errors, start having them buy-in to the vision, and prepare them for situations when you will not be available.
It is necessary to engage with the staff in this way, in order for your staff to start wanting to do things the right way. Managers improve productivity by staying involved. Leaders improve productivity and develop staff by convincing them that the “right” way is best (regardless of if you are there or not).
See the difference? A manager gets short-term results by successfully getting the team to be more effective, because the staff wants to do a good job. A leader gets long-term results by successfully getting the team to be more effective, because the staff wants to do the right thing. A leader’s role is to prepare the team for independence. A leader will create more leaders among the staff, by setting expectations, encouraging positive behavior, and most importantly making employees believe in what they are doing.
Leading by Disappearing
Now that you are engaging, role-playing the unexpected, and instilling the vision to the staff on a regular basis, you are ready for some “advanced” methods. The “Disappearing Act” is one of my all time favorites. I have found it to be extremely effective in developing new leaders, as well as getting a reality check to just how effective your team really is.
As I said, please do not attempt this until you are already doing those things above. Otherwise, you are only setting up your team for failure.
It’s a bit more than just disappearing:
- Be spontaneous.
- Go out the front door… come back in the back door 15 minutes later.
- Have a minimal schedule and don’t even follow it.
- Call and say that you’ll be there in 45 minutes. Walk in the door 5 minutes later.
- Show up 5 hours late for work.
“That sounds like a terrible boss!” No. Remember that as a leader, you have a different role to play in the big scheme of things. Your “lack of reliability” is irrelevant, because it is not your job to make the staff better when you are there. It is your job to make the staff better all the time, regardless of who is in the building.
By combining these two methods, you will slowly start to develop leaders out of the staff. You will see who takes responsibility and “keeps it going” in your absence. That’s what I would have done, when I was just starting out. That is the sign of a natural leader.
You know that they aren’t just acting perfect when you are around and slacking off the rest of the time. If you do not believe that there are employees exactly like that, you are blinded to reality. What better way to test their credibility than by seeing how they act when you are not there.
FYI: nothing destroys employee morale more than when one of these two-faced, suckups get wrongfully promoted. Plus, do you really want to promote someone like that?
Return to Apple
In February of 1997, after Apple had failed to deliver its operating system, Copland, CEO Gil Amelio turned to NeXT Computer (a company owned by founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs), and the NeXTSTEP platform became the foundation for the Mac OS X.
Steve Jobs returned to Apple as an advisor.
Strategic Manipulation of the Playing Field
Apple’s stock continued to slump and hit a 12-year low in Q2 1997 that was at least partially caused by a single sale of 1.5 million shares of Apple stock on June 26 by an anonymous party (who was later confirmed to be Steve Jobs). Apple lost another $708 million.
On the July 4, 1997 weekend, Jobs convinced the directors to oust Amelio in a boardroom coup; Amelio submitted his resignation less than a week later; and Jobs then became interim CEO on September 16.
Now, Jobs’s strategic selling of 1.5 million shares was a brilliant, albeit sleazy, way to coerce the members of the board to put him in as interim CEO. Even when Jobs was at Apple previously, he was never the actually the CEO.
They did not know at the time that it was Jobs who sold the shares that caused the company to fall into a state of desperation. However, it’s hard not to admit that it was a brilliant move on Jobs’s part, and he more than made up for it once he was given the position.
Rise to Glory
Jobs brought Apple from near bankruptcy to profitability by 1998, with the creation of the iMac. Around that time, he also secretly began development of the iPod, iTunes, and a plan to create Apple retail stores.
With the completion and release of those products, along with appealing designs and powerful branding, in 2000 Jobs dropped the word “interim” from his title, meaning he was there to stay.
Many people are familiar with these details, as Jobs went on to continue creating amazing products and bringing Apple unparalleled success. He went down as one of the most influential inventors / businessmen in history. Jobs is also known for his ruthless, tyrannical management style, oftentimes belittling employees for mistakes.
What’s My Age Again?
What many people don’t hear about, however, is Jobs’s childish side. During the period of time that Jobs served as interim CEO of the company, it was generally accepted knowledge that Apple was searching for a CEO that would replace Jobs. They put him in that position, against their own fear that Jobs wasn’t really up for the role.
They didn’t know who else to turn to, so they decided to give him a shot, but they made sure he and everyone else knew it was not going to be a permanent gig, by adding “interim” to the title.
Jobs wasn’t concerned. He is a visionary, after all, and he could see years ahead of time how the pieces were going to fall together in his favor. He knew it was only a matter of time before the rest of the team saw what he was capable of and make him the permanent CEO.
Despite Jobs’s confidence that everything would go according to plan, it was still public knowledge that his role was temporary. There was an extremely ambitious man, named Michael Murdock, who was working as a computer consultant, but believed that he would be the best choice as Apple’s new CEO. He had certain unique ideas for what direction to take the company moving forward, and he pursued this role using the most state-of-the-art method of 1997: an email campaign.
He sent roughly four emails to various members of Apple’s board, as well as Jobs, detailing why he would be a great choice for CEO and be “the man who could save Apple.” Personally, I admire his ambition. I’ve tried to send emails to people of significant power before, thinking “there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.” If you manage to spark some intrigue from one of them, than the crazy plan worked.
Jobs, however, did not share my admiration for this man’s ambition and ingenuity. He saw it as an insult, since secretly he wanted to remain at the CEO position. He was not about to consider recommending putting somebody else in the slot in Apple’s best interest, because he believed that himself being in that slot was in Apple’s best interest. So, these emails really annoyed Jobs.
Jobs and Larry Ellison, Jobs’s friend, fellow board member of Apple, and eventual CEO of Oracle) sent out e-mails, two days before Christmas, appointing this man, Michael Murdock, as chief executive of Apple.
“OK. You can have the job. — Larry,” came the first message in the e-mail basket of Michael Murdock, the 36-year-old who had campaigned for Apple’s top spot.
Right behind Ellison’s e-mail came one from Jobs: “Yep, Mike, it’s all yours. When can you start?”
Hilarious, but Too Much
When Murdock, who took the emails seriously, replied that he would start work January 5, he got this email from Jobs:
“Please do not come to Apple. You will be asked to leave, and if you don’t, you will be arrested.”
Good start on ENTP’s!
Originally posted on ENTP Me:
I’d like to start discussing individual types and producing individual descriptions now that I’ve covered the fundamentals. This is going to be quite a long process given the amount of detail I am going to go into as I dissect each personality and their traits, functions, potential enneagram types and more (we’ll have a crash course in enneagram shortly). If you don’t see your type or the type of someone you are interested in understanding better, I can take requests; otherwise, I’ll have to go at my own arbitrary speed. Let’s start with ENTPs! That’s what I am so I might as well start this dissection process by dissecting myself (figuratively speaking).
So what exactly is an ENTP? Besides human, typically, ENTPs are Extroverted iNtuitive Thing Perceivers. For those of you that are late to the MBTI party this means they gather their energy from other people, perceive the world through connections (using Ne), tend to make decisions based on logic (here, they can appear to be “feelers” because they can be rather impulsive, and typically are information gatherers who are indecisive. Let’s clear up a few things before I continue.
Wikipedia is great.
I take everything with a grain of salt, whether it be a wiki page or a well-respected book by a so-called “expert.”
I have learned so much from Wikipedia, that I don’t mind if a couple of the fine details are off. It’s opened up my mind to subject matters that I otherwise never would have touched.
For me, as a polymath / aspiring polymath, it’s all about breadth of knowledge, not depth. My “Cliff Notes knowledge” of a million subjects wins out over a specialist’s extreme details, any day.
Connecting the Dots
This is because my strength is not being super-detailed or specialized, but in being able to make out-of-this world connections between unrelated subjects. This ability allows me to walk into a room of experts and see solutions to problems that they never would have dreamed of. They still get to do the detail work that makes it actually function, but I produce the idea that enables them to get started (or the solution that allows them to get unstuck).
I’ve personally learned psychology, accounting, graphic design, advanced marketing, modern business methods, philosophy, basic pharmacology, and many other things from self-teaching myself online.
I have a double major in marketing and consumer science, as well as a minor in sociology from a legit college. I can honestly say that I’ve learned more about those subjects, too, from self-learning online.
College was a complete waste of time, not to mention that it screwed me over financially, due to student loans. I had to have that “piece of paper” that was supposed to land me jobs: I want to set fire to it.
Your Experience May Vary
Not to brag, but to be fair to readers of this post: I have an IQ of 170, and my personality type is an ENTP (“The Creative Inventor”). This means that not only am I technically a genius (in the 99.9998467663 percentile), but my personality type means I am primarily driven by curiosity. So, not everyone is built to be a generalist. Specialists are needed and serve an important function in society. However, there will continue to be a rise of generalists, due to technological evolution.