Three conversations all managers need to master

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 13th, 2018 by admin

Managers don’t have enough high quality conversations with their direct reports, according to Ann Phillips, a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. This deficiency has a negative effect on both productivity and morale.

“Part of effective communication between manager and direct report is a mindset and part is a skillset. Both are required,” says Phillips. “It’s easy for managers to convince themselves they don’t have time for quality conversations, especially when they aren’t particularly interested in having them and don’t really know how to do it.

“Every manager I’ve worked with has so much of their own work to do all day, every day, that some can’t see their way clear to spending time with the folks who work for them—other than performance reviews, rushed interactions, or crises,” explains Phillips. “Conversations between these managers and their people are mostly manager-led directives of ‘this is what I want you to do; here’s how to do it.’ The manager is focused on getting stuff done and on what needs to happen—not on their direct reports’ career growth or needs.

“Unfortunately, when individual contributors in this scenario become managers, they treat people exactly the way they were treated. Sub-quality conversations become a cultural norm.”

The good news, according to Phillips, is that managers can learn to be more effective in their work conversations.

“If a manager has the right mindset and training, it’ll drive the right behavior,” says Phillips. She recommends focusing on three specific conversations to get started.

The Goal-Setting Conversation
“All good performance begins with clear goals. Effective goal-setting conversations begin with clarity—what to do, by when, and what a good job looks like,” says Phillips. “Be specific—and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s critically important to take the time to make sure both parties are interpreting the same words in the same way to avoid misunderstandings.

“Conversations and relationships can go sideways when people interpret things differently but don’t have a conversation about that interpretation. Never assume!”

This leads to the second important conversation at which managers need to excel—giving feedback.

The Feedback Conversation
“A friend of mine recently told me I tend to hijack conversations,” says Phillips. “The funny thing is, I was just about to tell her she does the same thing! We discovered that what I interpret as hijacking and what she interprets as hijacking are two different things.

“We talked about how, when she’s talking and pauses to think, I rush in to fill the empty space. It goes back to my experience at home. In my family, you talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and there are no pauses. So when my friend goes silent, I fill in the gap and start talking about something.

“Then I explained to her that I feel she hijacks the conversation when I tell her about something happening in my life and she immediately turns it into a discussion about something that’s happening in her life. It’s related, but it still feels to me like she is making it about her.

“Because we are committed to our friendship, we’re willing to discuss things that are uncomfortable and to consider each other’s point of view. That’s important at work, too. Managers and direct reports need to have the type of relationship where they can talk honestly. When a manager cares about a direct report as a human being—and vice versa—they build up an emotional bank account they can draw from. That allows them to have difficult conversations when they need to.”

Sadly, the word feedback has a negative connotation in business today, says Phillips.

“People seldom think of feedback as praise or recognition. When people hear that word, they think at best it’s going to be constructive criticism. But it rarely feels constructive—it just feels like criticism.

“It’s another area where most managers don’t have the skills they need—especially feedback around performance improvement and redirection. Managers are so concerned about how someone might respond to feedback, they tend to avoid it altogether.”

One way managers can be more successful when preparing to give feedback is to make sure they are coming at it from the right place.

“Your feedback can’t be based on your own personal agenda,” says Phillips. “It has to be about helping other people be successful or otherwise improving the team. If you come from a personal agenda, your feedback will come across poorly.

“In my conversation with my friend, she gave me the feedback about the way I hijack conversations because she wanted our conversations to be better. I knew that, and it gave me a chance to think about my behavior and run it over in my mind. That was a good learning for me—to recognize that behavior I picked up from my family might be misinterpreted when I’m dealing with other people.”

The One-on-One Conversation
Listening and focusing on the other person’s agenda is especially important when managers conduct one-on-one conversations with their direct reports, says Phillips.

“It’s easy to fall into the manager’s agenda, where one-on-ones can turn into a review of how the direct report is doing on each of their goals. At The Ken Blanchard Companies, we teach managers to schedule semi-monthly one-on-ones, where the agenda is driven by the individual contributor and what they need.”

The manager’s primary role is to listen and provide support, says Phillips. Senior leaders are generally better at this than are new managers.

“At the senior levels of an organization, a VP typically will have more experience asking a direct report how things are going and finding out what the direct report needs to succeed. As you move down to the frontlines of an organization, managers are less experienced at taking the lead in a conversation like that.”

Especially at the frontlines, Phillips observes, managers and supervisors need training in how to have effective one-on-one conversations. Otherwise, the direct report is likely to default to the manager and ask the manager what they want talk about.

“It’s important to teach managers to ask open-ended questions about what an individual contributor’s needs are. Suppose the direct report comes into the meeting with a blank piece of paper and says, ‘What do you want talk about?’ The manager should take that opening and say, ‘Let’s talk about some things you are working on. Let’s list the three or four tasks, discuss your development level, and talk about how I can help you.’ Eventually, that direct report will become more proactive and learn to take the lead in those conversations.”

It’s a process and a joint responsibility—one where everybody benefits, says Phillips.

Leaders influence through the power of their conversations. Train your managers—and your individual contributors—in the skills they need for more effective conversations at work. It’s one of the best ways to improve performance and satisfaction.”

Source:, 10 July, 2018
Author: David Witt

Leaders: It’s OK to not know everything

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 11th, 2018 by admin

Recently, a CEO confided that the accelerated disruptions occurring in her industry, with the advent of new technologies, new entrants and new business models, were shaking her usual confidence. While an expert in her field, she was doubting her adaptability to the increasingly complex nature of the challenges leaders face today, from work to home life.

She is far from alone. More and more, leaders tell us they feel out of their usual comfort zone and on unstable grounds. They complain they’re “efforting” too much, working harder for weaker results in a 24/7 environment of crammed agendas and information overload.

What’s the solution? We think it’s about building your inner agility.

Disruptive times call for transformational leaders to let go and become more complex themselves to navigate effectively. Little attention has been paid to the cognitive and emotional load that dynamic change creates for leaders. It’s an especially onerous burden, because the very nature of disruption means that leaders must steer their organizations into – and through – a fog of uncertainty.

It’s increasingly clear that to “do” agile, you must “be” agile. How do you do that? By growing more complex ourselves. To do that requires building a bigger inner self so complexity feels simpler and allows us to move with greater purpose, clarity, inner calm and impact. Instead of getting frustrated with all the challenges or with ourselves and our habits, it pays to make the habit your friend.

In our experience, these five personal practices can contribute meaningfully to the mindset required to lead effectively in transformative times. They serve as building blocks of personal inner agility:

Pause to move faster. Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment; original thinking; and speedy, purposeful action.
Embrace your ignorance.
Good, fresh ideas can come from anywhere; competitors can emerge from neighboring industries; and a single technology product can reshape your business. In such a world, listening—and thinking—from a place of not knowing is a critical means of encouraging the discovery of original, unexpected, breakthrough ideas.
Radically reframe the questions.
One way to discern the complex patterns that give rise to both problems and windows of emergent possibilities is to change the nature of the questions we ask ourselves. Asking yourself challenging questions may help unblock your existing mental model.
Set direction, not destination.
In our complex systems and in this complex era, solutions are rarely straightforward. Instead of telling your team to move from point A to point B, join them in a journey toward an image of the future that sparks inspiration. Lead yourself and your team with purposeful vision, not just achievements. Instead of asking “What will we achieve?” ask “How will we know that we are being successful… beyond targets and metrics?”
Test your solutions – and yourself.
Quick, cheap failures can avert major, costly disasters. This fundamental Silicon Valley tenet is as true for you as it is for your company. Thinking of yourself as a living laboratory helps make the task of leading an agile, ever-shifting company exciting instead of terrifying.

These practices offer a set of interrelated touchstones, not panaceas. And they aren’t trivial to tackle. But conscious, disciplined practice boosts the chances of rising above the harried din of day-to-day specifics, leading your team effectively, and surveying your company and its competitive landscape with creative foresight.

As for the CEO who doubted her abilities to confront increasingly complex challenges with her usual aplomb, we helped her shift her approach and learn to be OK with not knowing all the answers.

Source:, July 2, 2018
Authors: Johanne Lavoie and Jens Riese

Glöm allt du vet – hur vi jobbar, samarbetar och leder team håller på att vändas upp och ned

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on July 9th, 2018 by admin

“Glöm allt du vet – hur vi jobbar, samarbetar och leder team håller på att vändas upp och ned”
En ny kärnkompetens blir förmågan att glömma hur det alltid varit, menar Tom Turula, redaktör på Business Insider Nordic.

Youtubestjärnan Destin Sandlin tog 2015 sig an utmaningen att forma om sin hjärna. Han ville lära sig cykla med en cykel som svängde vänster när man styrde mot höger och tvärtom. Det skulle kräva åtta månaders regelbunden träning innan han lyckades övertyga hjärnan om hur den fungerade.

Samtidigt hade han glömt hur man cyklar med en vanlig cykel.

Lika viktigt som att ta till sig ny kunskap är att bli kvitt den gamla. För att uppdatera våra operativsystem som människor och bolag behöver vi bli bättre på att tömma hårddisken.

Som Destin Sandlin bevisade kan det vara smärtsamt och det blir svårare med åren: hans son lärde sig bemästra ”backwards brain bicycle” på bara två veckor.

Amin Toufani, forskare vid AI-skolan Singularity University, har pratat med tusentals chefer för att förstå ”exponentiella organisationer” – sådana som ska kunna anpassa sig till den exponentiella teknologiutveckling som SU gjort mainstream: ”Ta trettio linjära steg och du kommer trettio meter. Ta lika många exponentiella steg och du har rundat ekvatorn 26 gånger”.

Han fann att den gemensamma nämnaren för de bolag som kunde skapa en stabil tillvaro var förmågan att glömma – ”unlearn” – på både organisations- och individnivå. Den gamla kunskapen som lett till framgång tidigare blir skadlig när den förvränger din syn på ny kunskap, menar han.

Att både Blackberry och Nokia hade kunnat gå in tidigt i smartmobilkriget men inte gjorde det är ett exempel. Den kanadensiska mobiljätten var för kär i sina egna tangentbord för att satsa på pekskärmar medan ingenjörerna i finska Esbo, trots att de hunnit före Apple, valde att fortsätta mjölka den egna kassakon i stället för att hitta en ny kalv.

Dvd-kedjan Blockbuster kunde ha köpt upp Netflix för fickpengar under tre olika tillfällen men avböjde. För att inte tala om Kodaks blunder med digitalkamerans genombrott.

Det finns otaliga exempel.

Amin Toufani föreslår att IQ ska underställas hans koncept om AQ, eller ”adaptability quotient”: förmågan att uppfatta, konceptualisera och sedan reagera med förändring.

Han uppmanar samtidigt till empati kring detta ”unlearning project” som kommer att göra oss mer sårbara. I grunden handlar det om att göra misstag och många misstag. Det är vi inte mentalt och politiskt utrustade för. Ledarna måste göra det tryggt för anställda att göra experiment.

Seth Godin, marknadsföringsguru tillika kungen av upp-och-ner-tänk menar att det ”lean” egentligen betyder är att ha fel. Storbolag bygger startupföretag så att de kan göra så många experiment – läs misstag – som möjligt. Det kanske är därför Klarna nu har bestämt att splittra upp sin organisation i ett par hundra små startupbolag: för att byta ut oproduktiva möten mot hackathon.

Som tjugoåriga startup­grundare runtomkring Stockholm bevisat gång på gång kan det vara en framgångsfaktor att inte fundera så mycket på det som varit tidigare. De unga talangerna ser digitaliseringen enbart som ett medel för att förändra musiken, klädförsäljningen eller hälsovården – inte som slutändamålet, som många av oss andra.

Det finns mycket spännande framför oss i en era av utbredd ”unlearning”. Sådana arbetsmiljöer uppmuntrar dig till att konstant utmana gamla antaganden.

Arbetet blir mer stimulerande, och ger dig som anställd mer autonomi och kontroll över dina projekt. Du kommer också att jobba med kolleger med mer mångfald och nya infallsvinklar och kan fortsätta att utveckla din egen kompetens i oanade riktningar.

Dags alltså att hoppa på din egen motsats­cykel. Och kom ihåg: om den inte vinglar, då är du på fel väg. 

Källa: Veckans Affärer, 20 juni 2018
Av: Tom Turula

Varannan stressad på jobbet

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on July 5th, 2018 by admin

Nästan varannan anställd, 45 procent, känner sig stressad på jobbet. Det visar en ny undersökning som företagshälsan Avonova har genomfört.

Statistik från över 28 000 hälsoundersökningar som företagshälsan Avonova har genomfört visar att jobbstress är väldigt vanligt förekommande. Nästan varannan anställd, 45 procent, känner sig ofta eller till och med mycket ofta stressad på arbetet.

– Långvarig stress är en allvarlig hälsorisk som dessutom leder till att vi presterar sämre, säger Robert Persson-Asplund, forskare och chefspsykolog på Avonova i ett pressmeddelande.

Statistiken visar att fler kvinnor än män känner sig stressade på jobbet. 48 procent av kvinnorna upplever stress jämfört med 44 procent av männen.

– Som förklaring till stressen berättar många anställda om hög arbetsbelastning, krav på tillgänglighet utanför arbetstid och otydligt ledarskap. Arbetsgivare behöver ta dessa berättelser på allvar och jobba systematiskt för att motverka stress hos medarbetarna, säger Robert Persson-Asplund.

Resultatet bygger på enkätsvar från 28 700 hälsoundersökningar företagshälsan Avonova genomfört runt om i Sverige under 2017.

Källa:, juli 2018