Tag Archives: Professional Development

Advanced Leadership – The Disappearing Act

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.”

leadership

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.

Invisible_Man

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?

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The ENTP Writing Personality: Energetic Innovation

“Obedience hardly ever begets
innovation.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Can learning about personality type help you make the most of your natural writing / leadership style?

ENTP writers enjoy the pre-writing stage. They may come up with many good ideas quickly.

Often skilled at detecting patterns and envisioning outcomes, they trust their insight and resist prescribed methods. The writing process itself may prove tedious to them, but if they persevere, their work is often thorough and multifaceted.

The ENTP personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ENTP indicate the following:

E: Extraversion preferred to introversion

ENTPs get their energy from people and activity in their external world. Spending time alone can leave them listless and bored. They enjoy interacting with a large group of friends and acquaintances. They generally act before reflecting.

N: iNtuition preferred to sensation

ENTPs are abstract thinkers, placing more trust in flashes of insight than in experience. They’re less interested in sensory data than in the patterns perceived by the unconscious mind. ENTPs tend to be intellectually restless—they want to change the world.

T: Thinking preferred to feeling

ENTPs prefer to use their thinking function when making decisions. They place more emphasis on the rule of logic than on the effect that actions have on people. They tend to be skeptical in evaluating ideas, whether their own or someone else’s.

P: Perception preferred to judgment

ENTPs like to keep their options open. They enjoy beginning new projects and exploring opportunities as they arise. ENTPs think in terms of possibilities rather than likelihoods.

Are you an ENTP writer or content creator? If so, the following information may give you some insight into how temperament influences your writing style. Use these insights to help you play to your strengths and compensate for your natural blind spots.

Of course these strategies would apply to non-writers as well… really any position that requires you to get a message across, which could include Marketing / Advertising, Leadership / Management in general, and other types of professions. (Such as being a Teacher, Lawyer, or an Entrepreneur).

Writing Process of the ENTP

If you’re an ENTP, you may approach a writing project in the following ways:

– You’re rarely at a loss for ideas. While many people struggle to find a topic, you may have difficulty limiting yourself to just one.

– You may enjoy exploring controversial subjects or devising clever solutions to problems. Have fun playing with different possibilities, and see where they lead you.

– You can benefit from collaborative writing projects. Chances are, you prefer an active, high-energy environment. You may enjoy discussing and debating your ideas with others.

– You will probably assert your individuality even within the group. If someone else is leading the project, be careful that your natural tendency to ignore authority doesn’t undermine the team. If you maintain goodwill, you’ll stand a better chance of convincing someone else to do the actual writing.

– You may do well to compose an article, essay, or story by speaking into a voice recorder. If the thought of transcribing the recording sounds unbearably tedious to you, consider paying (or persuading) someone else to do it.

– To sustain your enthusiasm, gather visual elements to use in the piece. Devise your own strategies to make the writing process more interesting.

– You are motivated by a desire to innovate.

– You tend to seek a unique approach even to ordinary topics. Conversely, you tend to be good at making complex subjects clear and interesting. Stay focused, and let your desire to prove your competence and ingenuity drive you forward until the project is complete.

Potential Blind Spots of the ENTP

As an ENTP, you may experience the following pitfalls:

– You generally enjoy brainstorming but may not feel motivated to write until you feel the pressure of a deadline. To avoid a time crunch at the end of the project, set milestones along the way. Make your best guess of how long each step should take, then double it. Schedule enough time to take breaks so you can consider new possibilities.

– To stay energized, try working in a variety of settings.

– You may excel at satire, and humor can liven up your work. Make sure your tone is appropriate for the piece and for the audience.

– You may find it helpful to include a personal story or two, rather than relying on cold logic alone to make your point.

– You tend to grasp the big picture and to focus on the future. Ensure that your work contains enough background material and concrete detail. To avoid tangents or a cursory treatment of the subject, keep the central thesis or purpose of the project in mind while writing. Solicit feedback from someone whose competence you trust.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach to writing. Each individual is unique, so don’t let generalities limit you. Do what works best for you.

Vision Comes to Reality

Vision

I had finished my work for the day. I developed the department they needed. I figured it out by going through the numbers, and through daily watching of the operations. The department shouldn’t exist…

It should be combined with two others.

A Plan

Accounting for all the weaknesses of the departments, cut expenses, increased efficiency… pretty much everything.

Above that, in my opinion, was the dramatic change in workplace culture. Due to its radical nature, it took a year to carry out. After those changes, there wasn’t much I could do with the power I held. The changes implemented reshaped their entire operation, resulting in 12 consecutive months of increased profits.

Due to a conflict of interest, I couldn’t take credit for any of the improvements…

I saved the department manager his job, and I eliminated the need for another. This past bit of time I’ve worked mostly online, at home, to figure this career thing out. I go in sometimes for appearances, and today I saw the vision come to life.

It was rewarding and of course frustrating.

The way I knew how certain changes would shift dynamics in the long term business, and then seeing the realization of that. The way that things happened made sense only to one person. Someone I won’t take credit from. Really, I don’t want credit (or only want credit to use as a means to get to where I need to be).

The positive being that I saw once again, under different circumstances, I made a significant impact. Even my dad finally admitted, thanking me for teaching him things, and changing his perspective to him. Bringing vigor back to his career.

But I have to make a living of my core abilities and talents, which will never be full used where I’m at.

I’ve done what I can do.