People are incredibly, and frustratingly unique and complex. As a good leader, we are not to to to stamp out that weirdness – that uniqueness – but to maximize it to make strong teams.
“Well-roundedness is a misguided and futile objective when it comes to individual people; but when it comes to teams it’s an absolute necessity. The more diverse the team members, the more weird, spiky, and idiosyncratic they are, the more well-rounded the team.”
Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall in “Nine Lies About Work”.
Embrace the weirdness of your team members to build a well-rounded team.
“Nine Lies About Work” is an excellent book by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall that address nine common misconceptions that are a bit faddish in the organizational world right now and they quickly get to the heart of the matter in this book.
This is a book I would recommend adding to your library.
There is an old adage that goes something like this – “People join organizations but leave managers”. I am not sure of the originator of this statement, but most of us realize just how true it is at work.
People are attracted to your organization by your purpose, your mission, and your vision. They hopefully resonate with your organization’s values.
However, what keeps them there at your organization, happy and productive, are good team leaders, good managers. What really matters is what happens day-to-day in the trenches. A bad manager quickly negates the best of mission and vision statements. A bad manager who undermines or contradicts the stated core values of the organization begets cynicism in those they lead.
It is great to have powerful purposes, meaningful missions, and inspiring visions, but what really matters is how good are your team leaders, your managers?
The day-to-day work life in an organization overshadows any grand organizational mission / vision statements.
One of my new favorite books is Hal Gregerson’sQuestions Are The Answer. In his book he recounts many conversations he has had with some fascinating people who have learned to ask the big questions; the important questions.
One of my favorites is his conversation with Joan LaRovere a pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. In his interview with Dr. LaRovere, she talks about a couple of very powerful questions that guide her:
“Is this good for my soul, or is it bad for my soul? Is this getting me closer to the human being that I want to become?”
Joan LaRovere in Hal Gregersen’s book “Questions Are The Answer”.
Powerful questions in my opinion and important in making good decisions about both the the small things and the large things in your life.
An article on the Forbes website from January 2012 used the following quote from Jennifer Chatman, management professor at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business,
“Jargon masks real meaning.”
I hope that you will allow me some small liberties with
this phrase. Jargon relates to words or phrases that are used within certain
professions or groups that are often difficult to understand outside of those
contexts. Ms. Chatman’s argument was that “People use it as a substitute for
thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to
Here is where I will begin to take liberties with this
phrase. Millennials. I said it out loud, which seems akin to speaking the name
Voldemort aloud. The term millennial has become such a “buzzword” and catchall
for all-the-bad-things over the last decade. This apt-named generation has been
blamed for everything from the housing shortage to cereal sales dropping to the
decline of the sale of beer; all with plenty of research to back the blame.
Full disclosure, I am a millennial, of the older set that
came of age during the recession of 2008. Admittedly, I do resonate with a lot
of what is said about my generation. I would rather my doctor’s office text me
reminders and email me about bills that I owe. For one, I keep my calendar on
my phone and I can add to it automatically from a text, also mail can get lost
and it is a waste of paper product. To me, I am being efficient and thoughtful –
not lazy. Yet, at the same time I have weekly phone calls scheduled with
friends that live in a different state than my own as my relationships are
important to me.
I believe that jargon can be helpful in helping a group
understand their common purpose but too often it shifts to being a substitute
for thinking hard – just as Ms. Chatman said. The term millennial is useful in
giving a framework to other people about a very large swath of the population
yet it has devolved into an excuse for people to not think and to not deal with
the issues at hand but to shift blame. It is often easier to, for example,
blame millennials for the housing shortage yet not take into account that
existing homeowners are rate-locked which has everything to do with the market
and mortgage rates. And the market has all generations participating, not just
Millennials haven’t made the big sweeping changes that the
world is facing, but we are reaping the rewards and the drawbacks of decisions
made years before we came of age or were even alive. The concept of the
internet was first introduced in the early 1960s by J.C.R. Licklider. Yet, as
millennials we are the first generation to begin to fully participate with the
internet -almost 30 years afterwards.
I, for one, would prefer that people would come up with solutions that involve everyone (we now have 5 generations in the workplace-at once!) instead of using inflammatory jargon that is thrown about so carelessly deflecting blame. As a millennial what I am asking, is that you would be willing to come alongside me and help show me the way…understanding that if and when I take your advice it will most likely look very different in my own life. Mostly, because I am a different person but also because much has changed and will continue to change within our world. Yet, I know that sound advice will always be sound and I respect those that have paved the way before me and as well as alongside me.