Not too long ago, I flipped eggs and cleaned toilets for a
living as the manager at a local Waffle House restaurant. When I came home at
night after the evening shift change, my brain would not stop thinking. There
was so much information to digest and I didn’t have a proper outlet for it.
Sometimes I turned on the computer to google for help. I
wanted to connect with people who faced similar challenges. Challenges like being a new young
manager, dealing with employees, finding time for oneself…
The internet disappointed me. The message I generally received was:
If you have any difficulties at work, it’s probably because
you are not a good leader. If you want to become a great leader (like Jesus,
for example), you have to do a, b, c and d.
Sign up for this training program and we’ll help you become the leader you were born to be.
That is bullshit and it’s a shame that the authors of such
pages are misusing their online influence and SEO tactics to spread such
Four reasons those messages are not helpful:
1. As a manager, I don’t give a ___ if I am a great leader
or not. I have a job to do.
2. You can tell frontline managers they lack basic
management/ leadership skills and training, but then what? It’s like telling
someone they are overweight. Thanks for the heads-up.
3. The more a manager
feels bound by expectations and limits, the less he/she will manage with
integrity, authenticity and common sense.
4. Hello, it’s 2011. Why should I pay to find information
I usually feel competent enough to solve my own problems, preferably by talking things over and by exposing myself to new perspectives. Hoping to create a helpful pace for ‘normal’ managers of all industries, I launched this website, WhatDoYouWantFromThem.com.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking with Miki
Saxon. I told her I didn’t want to end up giving the type of leadership advice that had turned me off in the past. I even felt bad about picking the posts for our
Useful Resources for Managers section (after all, who am I to know what other
managers find useful). Miki told me about MAP:
Miki went on to explain that people will receive the advice that fits
with their personal style and discard information that doesn’t fit with
A timely reminder that people can think and choose for themselves. Thanks, Miki!
When I look for useful management tips and get attacked by
leadership fembots, I sometimes stop by Jim Stroup’s Managing Leadership Blog where he so
eloquently summarized the fallacy of individual leadership.
In the end, management is relative. What keeps you grounded?