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Pretend they are mind reading

At the prompting of Douglas Squirrel I just read Yossi Kreinin‘s blog post People can read their manager’s mind. This seemingly magical power is the mundane result of combining “People generally don’t do what they’re told, but what they expect to be rewarded for”, and people are good at spotting what is actually rewarded. As a manager/leader I’m taking away a heuristic I want to test:  when I’m not able to get alignment with my stated goals I’m going to pretend the team is reading my mind, and that they are heeding my hidden thoughts rather than my words. From that mindset, what does that suggest about my own values? The results aren’t likely to be flattering. I embrace the idea that “the only way to deal with the problems I cause is an honest journey into the depths of my own rotten mind.

(As much as I embrace that message for myself, I’d warn non-managers from seeking solace in the article, from using it as a shield to deny their own accountability. Yes, the article says that it is an “insane employee” who will work to fix important but unglamorous problems, and that “the average person cannot comprehend the motivation of someone attempting such a feat”. Do you find solace in being average? In being powerless? I don’t. I think it is worth always seeking to improve, and to improve the organization I’m part of. I believe someone out there could improve the situation I’m in, so if I’m frustrated it is probably my fault.)

One Comment

  1. Tomasz G. wrote:

    As a lowly underling, I could just point out, that this defence is a symptom of being and AVERAGE manager. I guess the managers are just average people in denial. They urge to greatness, but seldom lead their flock.

    So, manager? How does it feel to be average? It’s still better than be below it.

    But the question is not, what’s your relative position on the spectrum – if your at the median, or average, or one standard deviation above it. The question is – where is the median or average going. Is it improving?

    So it’s not the team’s fault if they operate in survival mode. You made them do it. You’re the “abusive boyfriend” – but some people are just not in the position to dump you right now. But you can still make things right.

    If you want to know where the team may be really at fault in this scenario, see my comment under Yossi’s article.

    Monday, January 18, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

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