"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
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics

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Stop Telling... Start Leading!

Dense and Lazy

You have to tell them what to do—and that’s exactly what they do. No more, no less. An imprecise explanation will lead to mistakes. You will find them all over the place, but (not surprisingly) you rarely see them in higher management.

Who in your team is dense and lazy?


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Only Two?

Management always happens between the two extremes of vision and details. The manager has to find the right point of balance between the two. Only those managers able to find the right balance run a striving business; probably one of the darkest definitions you will come across.

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The Bean Counter

The bean counter lives for details, to the point that details are split further into more details. Every single detail then gets painstakingly analyzed, often to find ways to change them. When those details are changed, they lead to more details, which leads to more analysis—and still more details and analysis. They can be relentless in their drive to change details (a never-ending cycle).

    Engineers at a company that manufactures refrigerators found a way to produce the doors faster, thus saving a few minutes per door. In a large operation, of course, those few minutes add up to big gains. They proudly presented their discovery to top management, but the financial director became quite upset with the report. As he saw it, these savings in one area led to a slowdown in another. It was a stoppage of less than a second, but the financial director saw it as a waste of time and money. Thus, instead of thanking the engineers for their cost-saving idea, he instead found fault with a relatively insignificant issue.

    Bean counters are hardly ever able to create a short, quick analysis of a situation. When they rise to the level of management, their need for more and more details becomes increasingly problematic, not to mention demoralizing to employees who are told their performance is never good enough.

Are you detail driven?

Or someone in the team?

Can it be changed?

Should it be changed?


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The Generalist

Generalists can be as stifling to the business as the bean counters, albeit for different reasons. You can easily recognize them by their drive and vision. The trouble is that their drive and vision often comes without any tangible proof of concept. Generalists usually refuse to deal with the theory because they lack the underlying know-how. They don’t want to bother themselves with proving the value of their vision—they just want to force that vision onto others.

    To their credit, generalists are easier to work with than bean counters—but only to a point. They may not want a constant stream of detail and analysis—but because they have no frame of reference they often ask employees to complete unrealistic or even contradictory tasks. Generalists seem more easygoing because they have no concrete strategy; often they seem more like prophets than managers. Many generalists think of themselves as builders. In the end, however, generalists offer little more than castles in the air.

How many air castles have you come across?


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Classics

Maccoby

Michael Maccoby,4 a psychoanalyst who studied under Erich Fromm, came up with some of the most interesting definitions:
  1. Expert
  2. Helper
  3. Defender
  4. Innovator
  5. Self developer 5

    But probably the definition with the broadest impact is “The Gamesman”. 6

    Maccoby distinguishes four different types of managers:
  1. The Craftsman
  2. The Organizational Man
  3. The Jungle Fighter
  4. The Gamesman

    No person will be just solely one type but rather a mix of all with the main type depending on the manager’s personality and the environment. Maccoby goes on to describe each of the types and how they influence a business.

    And then there are the Myers-Briggs Types (based on the psychological studies of Carl Gustav Jung) and Keirsey Temperament (also named Temperament Sorter). Keirsey’s studies are similar to Myers-Briggs (you can get more information about them at www.keirsey.com) and actually gave Myers-Briggs wider publicity. These studies and the results have led to probably the best known management type evaluations in the United States and many other countries.

Do you know your Myer Briggs type?

Your temperament sorter?

    While the results can be useful on a basic level, it’s a good idea to keep them in perspective. Remember that no one fits completely into one category, no matter what the test. Too often, people try to live the results. At best, they become what the results implied they might be instead of being themselves. Personal highs and lows and feelings will always influence the outcomes of tests. As do heritage and education.
  1. E-I: Extrovert vs. Introvert
    Extroverts love to connect and act quickly while introverts are more reflective and intense.
  2. T-F: Thinking vs. Feeling
    The thinker tries to optimize decisions by applying logic and being objective. The feeler is driven by emotions, taking relationships into consideration.
  3. S-N: Sensing vs. Intuition
    The sensing person is detail-oriented and looks at the data at hand. The intuitionist depends on intuitions and tends to be a generalist.
  4. J-P: Judging vs. Perceiving
    The judging personality will make a decision and stick to it even before all the facts are known. The perceiver relies on changing variables and will alter decisions accordingly.


4 Dr. Michael Maccoby is a psychoanalyst and anthropologist who consults to businesses, governments and unions on leadership and strategic development. He is president of the Maccoby Group in Washington, D.C. and has a PhD from Harvard University, where he directed the Program on Technology, Public Policy and Human Development from 1978-90.
5 Michael Maccoby, Why Work? Motivating the New Workforce (Miles River Press, 1995)
6 Michael Maccoby, The Gamesman: The New Corporate Leaders (Simon and Schuster, 1976)


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