"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
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Stop Telling... Start Leading!


    In the fifth century B.C. the Greek philosopher Socrates perfected a method of teaching in which he would ask disarmingly simple questions that actually forced people to admit what they didn’t know. As you read this book, you’ll find a number of questions that follow the Socratic tradition. The reason? Today’s managers need more than the predefined answers we might think are correct, but which seldom fit the problem at hand.

    Stop Telling… Start Leading is a work book and should be used as such. It offers many open-ended questions to the manager, offering ways to determine why something has gone off-center. Because every manager is different—the result of education, cultural background, ethnicity, etc.—offering predefined “one size fits all” answers can’t do it any longer. Managers need to answer tough, pointed questions that will force them to come to terms with their goals. Once they do that, they can manage more effectively and more positively—which helps them and their team.

    Many management books are written with the manager as the sole reader in mind. This book will also help interested team members to better understand how and why their team works the way it does.

    It will be a useful tool for all managers who see the need to implement changes in their business. Don’t expect solutions or well-defined answers to every question here. Sometimes managers need to be able to refine their own solutions to find their way. Many of these questions will serve to guide managers toward that goal.

    Misplaced fear. Some managers fear that implementing any new management strategy will result in a team of matching personalities—all alike, with no dynamism. There’s no need to worry about that. To begin with, it shouldn’t be your goal to change the people you work with; rather, you want to help them implement changes that will motivate and encourage them.

    Remember that managers need to know not only that there are more tools than just one or two, but also where to find and how to use them. More than that, they need to understand that learning and teaching is always a two-way street. If you teach without learning you do not teach. If you learn without teaching you do not learn. Managers and employees have a responsibility to each other as well as to themselves.

“The people who get on in this world are the ones who get up and look for the circumstances they want and, if they can’t find them, make them.”
George Bernard Shaw


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This book is divided into seven steps:

Step 1: What Is Management?

Without the proper foundation, any building will be unable to stand solidly. Different existing definitions are introduced, including the classics from Maccoby, Myers Briggs and Keirsey, as well as some lesser-known ones.

Step 2: Know the Sins

As a manager you must be well aware of the shortfalls that can break your business: starting with the 13 most deadly sins like “Demand and Encourage,” “Ignore Standards,” “Tolerate Negligence” or “Let Everything Go Uncontrolled.” You’ll learn about a manager who punished underperforming employees with a whip.

Step 3: Take Responsibility

Managers need to understand that taking responsibility means standing up for their employees. But employees need to take responsibility as well. Responsibility is more than just focusing on making money. Companies that understand the importance of customers and employees and treat them accordingly, easily outperform those that don’t.1

Step 4: What Do You Pay?

A bonus is worth more than a thousand words. Bonuses don’t have to be cash, but they do have to be meaningful and appropriate to the job being rewarded. Think how the right bonuses could make employees more motivated and loyal.

Step 5: Make Your Team Work

Designing teams seems to be turning into a lost art. Most teams are thrown together too quickly. Just throw in a few folks with a “reputation” and the rest will work itself out-or will it? Can the underdogs outperform the stars? Shotgun teams-just like shotgun weddings, just as unhappy. Managers are proud of their accomplishments, but when things go awry do they take responsibility or blame the team?

Step 6: Change, Growth and Trust

During a speech at a Rotary Club a formerly silent member felt comfortable enough to speak up. What made him feel confident enough? Skilled managers can get the best out of their employees. Through good manners, understanding cultural differences and respecting personal space and keeping things organized (or not).

Step 7: Bring the Fun to Work

Having fun can’t be a requirement, but it’s a desired side effect. The fun has to be added to the work expertly or else the employees will see the fun as just more work. When managers can loosen up the staff, the workplace is more relaxed and productive. The more fun, the better employees work.

1 As described from John Cotter and James Heskett, Corporate Culture and Performance, Free Press 1992, in their research of more then two hundred big companies over an 11-year period.


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Step 1


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A Single Definition?

“What you think of yourself is much more important than what others think of you.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Does it make any sense to classify managers into different categories? It would certainly make life easier—but the truth of course is that most managers are a mix of several classifications, several qualities. Some of these qualities are valuable and useful; many of those qualities complement each other and make for a strong leader. Other qualities are less desirable—or sometimes what should be a desirable quality gets misused. And to be honest, there are some qualities that can best be described as out of this world.

    Something else to keep in mind about classifications: definitions vary depending on the particular management culture, not to mention economic considerations. (The better the economy, the more effusive the definitions.)

Management and Management Functions

Which developments led in practice to the irreversible separating of management functions and to the development of an own management style?

    First, let’s start off by defining both terms:


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Because no individual can effectively lead a large-scale enterprise single-handedly, the duties and tasks of management get split into several sub-tasks. Those sub-tasks will then be planned and executed within clearly defined borders from (and for) several individuals. The result is a system determined to carry out individual, social, political, economical, environmental and ethical goals. That may sound lofty, but when you think about it, this really is the core of a successful, responsible, forward-thinking business. To reach these goals, the key resources have to be found, secured, procured, processed and used in the most effective way possible.

    Let’s take a look at a dictionary definition of management:

    “Management”—(from Latin manus agere “to lead by the hand”, guidance) characterizes either the group leading an organization or the associated activities and tasks to run an organization (planning, execution, control and adjustment of measures to ensure the well being of the organization).


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