By Gerry Murray. 11-04-2021
(Scroll down for a laugh)

"Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill."
~ Sinichi Suzuki

Listen to the Podcast

A huge thank you to all who've been sending me positive vibes about the Leading People podcast. It means a lot. Keep listening, keep sharing! 

This past week I came across a BBC article entitled: "Why toxic workplaces follow you home."

Reading it I couldn't help but be struck by how relevant the last two episodes of my podcast are to this very topic:

Conversational Capacity gives people the skill sets to deal with what Jim Tamm calls the 'Pink Zone', which is as much a part of a toxic work environment as overt aggression. 

It's hard to overstate how fundamental these two principles are to running a high-performing and successful organisation. If you haven't formed the link yet, I'd recommend listening to what Craig Weber and Jim Tamm have to say. 

There's no failure, only feedback

My own first attempts at managing people were a disaster. As a young and highly driven young man, I naively bought into the notion that management was about power, control, telling people what to do, being smart, being right, etc. I remember well getting my first real management job in London at the age of 26 and finding out real quick that there was a whole lot more to it than I had expected. In fact, it's hard work being a Manager.

It's all about people. 

Somehow, I've always been able to look at a "failure" as an opportunity to learn something and improve. Maybe, it's because of my background as a musician, where you're only ever as good as your next performance. Or, a sportsperson where you've got to win every game to win the championship. 

Understanding people

Back then my lifeline was a series of books about two concepts: 

  • The "One-Minute Manager" 
  • Situational Leadership 

I learned these skills and tested them out with transformational results. 

My good friend, Rick Tate, was involved in the original research with Ken Blanchard that led to the "One-Minute Manager" series. Check out his podcast interview on Adaptive Capacity

Being a Manager involves Great Responsibility

For over 25 years there's been a raging debate about how to engage your people. I've always thought this is completely flawed thinking. Because, when people get a new job they're usually excited, they celebrate with friends, they look forward to great things, etc... They're highly engaged! 

So, the more important and relevant question is:

How do organisations dis-engage their people? 

This is achieved mainly through poor management skills. In 2005, Rick Tate wrote a definitive book called "People leave Managers - NOT Organisations". I quoted this to a Hiring Manager recently and he chuckled and said: "How True!"

Bring out the best in others

As any sports fan knows, management is really about bringing out the best in others. In Belgium, we're very proud of our national football team, the Red Devils. It seems that Manager Roberto Martínez really knows how to bring out the best in his players if recent results are anything to go by. 

Despite billions of euros being spent annually on management and leadership training we still have poor levels of engagement, productivity and performance in organisations. This is no surprise because most management training is about understanding theories and concepts and not about practising management. 

What makes a great manager?

If you review all the management literature you'll inevitably end up back at three core principles: 

  • Know yourself
  • Know others
  • Know the system

Actually, these are not about knowledge but about skill. Your ability to acquire the skill is dependent on your mindset. Without the appropriate mindset and these skills in a management position, you're likely to be creating all your own problems. 

So, we come back to workplace toxicity. Managers create this and it will feed on itself like a parasite and continue to breed more toxicity. 

If you're struggling as a Manager with your teams reach out and get in touch for a chat and we'll see what we can do together. 



What do you call a toxic work environment?
A staff infection

Just purchased a hazmat suite.
Now I’m ready for that next toxic relationship.

I quit my job at the radioactive waste treatment plant.
It had a toxic work environment.


Copyright © 2021 Wide Circle, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.