Last week I wondered aloud with you why no one had addressed the issues in the prior week’s Reading for Leading, about managing up. Among the huge number of terrifically intriguing responses, came this one from Tony in Kalamazoo: â€œLooking at the number of responses this week vs. last week puts me in mind of Robert Redfordâ€™s line as the Sundance Kid: â€˜Think yaâ€™ used enough dynamite there, Butch?â€™â€ LOL as they say.
Consider this analogy. In some respects, I am in a position of relative authority with respect to the reader. Like a boss, it falls to me to set the tone or agenda, at least in this small virtual space that I occupy. Like â€œrealâ€ authority figures, I know that my work is much more effective when more people weigh in, sharing their views, their thoughts and feelings. And like authority figures at work I proceed in a routine fashion. From time to time, I ask — more or less explicitly — for your feedback. Two weeks ago I received virtually none. But then look what happened when I went out of my way through multiple links to the blog in the text and through repeated requests for your input: it blew up like dynamite!
Which one of us as a boss, parent, teacher, principal, pastor… does not think in their own mind that they are open to, no, seek, no, thrive upon, no need input and feedback? Yet which one of us hasn’t fallen into certain routines that make it almost inevitable that we will receive next to no feedback in the routine of our days and weeks?
Perhaps the greatest truism in sales and in development work is, “you wonâ€™t get the sale unless you ask for the order!” Managingâ€™s the same. So if you feel like you are bearing the load, or just not engaging and involving your teams, you should step outside the routine and quite explicitly, emphatically and repeatedly seek input. If you don’t believe me, spend a few minutes reading some of the comments in last week’s blog, for they make it so abundantly clear that many people find huge obstacles when it comes to managing up. Many find it useless if not downright dangerous. If you want their input, you better systematically remove barriers and plow open routes for input. You’ve got to go out of your way to bring them into your way, and thereby
Lead with your best self!