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Tag Archives: differences between management and leadership

How you admit your mistakes matters

ibdLast month, Morey Stettner from Investor’s Business Daily reached out to me as an expert source for a story he was writing for their “Leaders and Success” page.  He was interested in the best way for leaders to admit their mistakes, whether it was to their peers, their employees, their Board of Directors, or others.  This is the article that was published in their print edition last week on May 28:

Admit mistakes clearly to reassure others, not make matters worse

In addition to yours truly, Morey interviewed three other individuals, all of who provided excellent advice.

What have been your experiences?

But I’d like to know what you think?  Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve either had to admit an error in judgment or report a problem and you handled it appropriately?  What about the opposite, when the outcome wasn’t what you’d hoped?  Or have you observed a senior leader in your organization admit mistakes well or poorly?  Please share by adding your comments below.

P.S. Morey found me as a result of this column I wrote for The Globe & Mail a year ago in May 2018: Why good leaders make grave mistakes − and still thrive.  If you haven’t seen it before, you may find this helpful as well.

When leaders make mistakes …

#$&*&@# happens!  Well-laid plans don’t always turn out exactly the way you’d anticipated.  A sale that was one signature away from being finalized falls apart at the last minute.  One missed detail takes a project down the wrong path and it then costs a significant amount to bring it back on track.  The leadership journey is fraught with unexpected challenges and unknown landmines, and sometimes even the smallest misstep by a leader can result in financial and reputational loss.  The reality is that despite your best efforts, mistakes happen.

It’s how you respond to the mistakes that will matter

Some mistakes will be small, ones that you can simply shrug off as minor bumps in the road.  But others will be large, ones that affect major company objectives, directly impact profitability, or put important relationships in jeopardy.  It’s how you respond to these large slip-ups that will determine whether you’re a leader or a manager.  In my column in today’s The Globe and Mail, I lay out the three essential actions that separate the leaders from the managers, the three steps you have to take in order to successfully move past these blunders.

Why good leaders make grave mistakes – and still thrive

When good leaders make grave mistakes

All decisions carry risk and therefore come with potential obstacles that can sometimes derail progress. But when bad stuff happens, what do you think separates the leaders from the managers?  I’ve given you the three necessary actions from my perspective, but I’d love to hear about your experiences and points of view.  Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

The struggle to be a leader vs a manager (and how it’s easy to slide backwards)

I’ve blogged previously about the differences between management and leadership, most notably the Amazon situation I wrote about a couple of years ago, not just on the blog, but also in a piece for The Globe and Mail.  The reality is that almost all leaders go through stressful periods when they struggle with being a leader vs a manager; when it’s simpler (and perhaps critical) to concentrate on tasks rather than to invest in the building and nurturing of high-performing employees. The irony is that such a situation usually spirals downwards – employees get frustrated and make errors, patience dwindles and tempers fray, team members become less engaged, and the leader feels trapped and exasperated.

a leader vs a manager
What are the clues a leader should watch for?

Unfortunately, the only way out of this deteriorating pattern is for a leader to recognize the signs and act decisively to break the cycle. But how is one to know what to watch for?  Well, that’s exactly what I address in my latest column in The Globe and Mail which published this morning on page B11 of their print edition.  In it, I offer five things to watch for, each one a clue that you are sliding backwards from people-oriented leadership to task-oriented management.  You can read the online version here:

Five tell-tale signs leadership is slipping

So … are you guilty? In times of crisis, it’s easy to focus on getting things done (management) and lose sight of getting remarkable things done through people (leadership).  What do you do to avoid falling into this trap?  I would love to hear about your experiences.  The Globe has temporarily turned off commenting on articles on their website while they resolve some technology issues, so you can’t comment directly there.  But share your thoughts right here on the blog.  Please add your perspectives below.

Sometimes, The Globe puts my columns behind their paywall. If that happens and you are unable to access the article directly through the link above, we have archived a pdf version at this link:

What vs how – Amazon’s leadership lost their balance

Last month, The Globe & Mail asked me to write a piece for their Weekend Commentary & Analysis section about Amazon’s controversial and (some say) “toxic” corporate culture. I blogged about the article soon after it was published in What vs how – Amazon lost sight of the difference. But this topic continues to dominate the news, and is of such great importance and relevance to leaders everywhere that I felt that it deserved to be brought up one more time today.

NYT_Amazon_081515First some background. The tumult started on August 15 when the New York Times published a lengthy story about Amazon’s “bruising” work culture where only the fittest survive, and the rest are discarded as collateral damage along the way. Continue reading

What vs how – Amazon lost sight of the difference

web-rb-co-gupta-sunderji-08Amazon’s leadership forgot that ‘how’ is as important as ‘what’

The Globe & Mail asked me to write a piece for their Weekend Commentary & Analysis section, a regular feature in the weekend paper where subject matter experts are asked to provide insights into the top news stories of the past week.  Here is a link to this story that ran in Saturday’s print and online editions.  For me the fundamental issue in the case of Amazon’s toxic work environment came down to what vs how.

Interested in your thoughts as well.  What went wrong at Amazon?  Or is there anything wrong?  Please share your thoughts directly on The Globe‘s site or add your comments to our blog right here by adding your response below.

Ironically, I wrote a piece for The Globe back in October last year that addressed this very same issue from a slightly different perspective.  Why are so many managers useless as leaders? had over 30,000 views and 24,000 direct shares in just the first three days online so this topic clearly struck a chord with many back then as well.