I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Ed Catmull called Creativity Inc. Now, you may not be familiar with the name Ed Catmull, but if I tell you that he was one of the three original founders of Pixar, then you’ll probably have an idea of who I’m talking about.
In the book is a chapter where Catmull describes the process behind making a successful animation movie. Catmull writes, "Early on, all our movies suck!" This makes sense when you think about it. But when you see their fabulous animation film, you often forget how that represents three years of hard work from an awful lot of people. Of course, that rough idea was not born a box office hit. It was worked, reworked, and polished endlessly until it became that work of art.
It's one thing being a lone genius—a Picasso or a Rodin—tirelessly and self-critically continuing something until you get it right. But how does that work when you have 60, 70 or even more than 200 people?
Continuing a series of blog posts on how to best support first-time managers, you now need to look at one of the huge challenges—lack of time.
For most new managers, landing that first managerial job is exciting and challenging, filled with so much to do!
Then, the realization hits—so little time to do it in.
The natural reaction for first-time managers as team leaders is to just put in more hours. Crank up the work volume. Often it works for a while but you then run out of steam. Then, in your pursuit to squeeze more productivity out of the hours available, you start researching time management tricks and tips—maybe even invest in a super to-do app for your phone or fancy leather-bound paper organizer.
Regardless, chasing more time quickly becomes exhausting.
There has got to be a better way.
But it is not about managing your time, but about managing your energy instead. When you're energized, you fly through the day. Stuff seems to...
Before you plunge into this, take a moment, and think about leaders that you have admired in your life. This could be a teacher, scout leader, sports coach or boss. Go on. Do it now.
When you think of a leader in your life that you've admired, does a specific conversation come to mind?
I think most people can remember at least one—maybe even several—conversations that they have had with a great boss. A conversation that somehow shifted something in their thinking, understanding or behavior.
But great conversations are also time-consuming. For exactly that reason, they're also often the most neglected part of your leadership toolkit. Most people don’t seem to find the time.
That's a shame because when you neglect your conversations, you miss out on one of the most effective leadership instruments at your disposal.
Now, conversations are not just conversations; they come in many forms. Some are...
In the previous blog post, you looked at the first of three essential tools that are at your disposal as a first-time manager (FTM). You looked at how action or non-action ends up defining you as either powerful—in the positive constructive sense—or powerless.
Now, it’s time to look at the next key instrument—your behavior.
When I work with young managers who are in their first leadership position, I always give them a brief talk about being on stage.
It goes something like this:
The moment you become a leader of any kind, you're on stage 24/7. What I mean by that is that everything you say and do is registered, compared and interpreted by your followers.
The way you get out of your car on the car park in the morning, how you walk across the parking lot, what you say as you come in through the door, who you talk to first and who you don’t talk to—on and on it goes throughout the day.
It’s as if you have a GoPro camera mounted on a...