Thinking Out Loud – Ep: 08 – The Expert, Manager, Leader: Part 01

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TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew J. Mason:

Welcome to thinking out loud with Dr. Joe Currier. My name’s Andrew J. Mason, and this is the show where we hit the pause button on life, head to the locker room for some life changing halftime inspiration, and then zoom back in and grab the tactics direct from Dr. Joe’s playbook to pull it all together when we’re on the field. Today, you are in for a treat. This is part one of a three-part episode on the topic of The Expert, The Manager, and The Leader. In this episode, part one, we break down what these three roles really are and encompass the lettering sequence that helps to find them. In part two, Dr. Joe talks about how these roles express themselves the right way and the wrong way. In a segment entitled, Right Hat, Right Voice, Right Hat, Wrong Voice. And then in part three, we dive deep into specific examples of how these different roles manifest themselves and what they look like when partners are operating at their best. So without further ado, here’s Dr. Joe with the first part on the expert, manager, and leader.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Avoiding conflict and confusion between primary business roles, the expert, the manager, and the leader. This is part one. Teams are like a three legged stool. There are three primary roles, expert, manager, leader. Each role is important in order to accomplish the mission, beat the competition, and build passionate partnerships. Like a table, if you remove any one leg, the stool wobbles and eventually topples. So too with teams. We often refer to roles as hats. What hat does one wear in any given situation? And is your voice consistent with your hat? Is it right hat, right voice versus right hat, wrong voice?

Dr. Joe Currier:

One of the most common errors, I believe ,that lower performance and interfere with partnership is to confuse the role of manager with leader. They are significantly different. It is not uncommon to switch hats in the middle of an important interaction, but in doing so, please be careful of the message you send. For example, at home, when a parent has to intervene and deliver consequences for breaking an important family rule, they are in a management role. Mary just hit her younger brother, you sent her to her room for 15 minutes for a timeout. The rule, hitting is not allowed. On her way, Mary breaks into tears and says, “You don’t love me.” Stop action, protect your heart. The question is, do you sit and talk with Mary in the moment about your love for her? That is an example of whether one should switch hats in the middle of an important encounter. In this instance, from manager to leader, may I suggest staying with the right hat, right voice. “Mary, I’m sorry you feel that way, but hitting is not allowed. We can talk about love after your timeout. Please go to your room now.” By doing so you focus on behavior, not relationship.

Dr. Joe Currier:

On the job, managers build relationships around the F. Standards, goals, expectations. The F is around fundamentals. They operate best when they manage the gap between institutional performance standards versus an employee’s standards. Please don’t misunderstand that managers can be cold and purely task driven. Not so. There are important interpersonal relationship matters here, but Managers Must Lead: Leaders Must Manage, a book I wrote many years ago, suggests that you have these hats, but be careful with the hat consistent with the voice. Telling someone that you care about them doesn’t mean that you give them leave to underperform. Managers need to be careful and not be sidetracked from the F, the fundamentals, to the S, the person and the interpersonal relationships.

Andrew J. Mason:

Dr. Joe then begins to break down each lettering sequence and their corresponding rules.

Dr. Joe Currier:

So, as we go forward, I’d like to propose a model. Power players excel in three core competencies, fundamentals, F, interpersonal skills, which is large I small P, and self-development, S. Fundamentals are the knowledge, skills, and abilities. KSAs of any job from surgeon, engineer, sales and recruiting, from plumber to astronaut. Experience also weighs in as a factor. If I knew then what I know now.

Dr. Joe Currier:

The second core competency is interpersonal skills, large I, small P. This is about relationships, communication, setting goals, and expectations, and frankly holding each other accountable. Do partners approach you, and when they do, do you communicate effectively, both giving and receiving information. Giving again, knowledgeable, receiving, listening. What are the rules of engagement? For example, we propose that silence is never an option between partners. Why? Because you know something that I don’t know, and I need your insight, or at least your perceptions.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Third core competency, self. And self begins with things like self confidence, but self confidence reflects what I do versus self esteem, which reflects the who I am. So we have confidence, esteem, underlying beliefs, degrees of vulnerability, and what we call persona. Persona is the impact of certain looks. It’s the ugly truth about good looks, and by good looks, I mean what we consider acceptable, or things that we value socially and culturally. For example, the bias of taller versus shorter, athletic versus over or significantly underweight. There is this it factors, you sometimes hear it or see it in movies or in the television where someone comes in and you just immediately say, “Now there’s a leader.” It’s the it factor. The stories we make up around certain characteristics.

Andrew J. Mason:

First, Dr. Joe breaks down the profile of an expert.

Dr. Joe Currier:

How these three forces converge define one’s role on a team. The profile of an expert is FIp(S), and the S is in parenthesis. The F the fundamentals, this is the primary focus, the main thing. Next is the IP, the interpersonal, the relationships, the vehicle that helps bond us from knowledge to performance. And the third part of the profile of the expert is S, but it is in parenthesis. The primary focus of an expert in the role of an expert, you are an individual contributor, whose main thing is task performance and outcome. The primary forces are focused on doing and accomplishing. It is very common for an expert to react with questions when someone tries to enter their personal space. For example, “What’s that got to do with business? Why do you want to know that about me, and what will you do with that information?” So remember the profile is F, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Interacting person to person, and the S often gets hidden.

Andrew J. Mason:

Next dr. Joe defines the profile of a manager.

Dr. Joe Currier:

The profile of a manager is IpF(S), and again, the S may be in parenthesis. So what do we have? It’s an interpersonal connection. That’s the primary focus of a manager. The vehicle, the second part from the Ip is the F. The S is in the background. Note, you get promoted into a manager’s role by your F, your effective and on-time performances. You are good at what you do. Often these individuals who have a high degree of expertise are brought up into a managerial role.

Dr. Joe Currier:

However, once in that role, your job is to build relationships, first with senior associates, understanding product process goals, expectations. Next, you build relationships with your direct reports. However, the staff relationships again are around the F, not the S. Your job as a manager is to help me, a direct report, to perform from good to great as the book says. It’s not about building friendships. The primary focus of a manager in the role of a manager, your main thing is to build clear expectations and healthy, competitive partnership relationships. You, as the manager, set performance expectations, and strive to achieve employee buy in, there’s some healthy discussion here. Up to a point. Remember, the primary forces are focused on the other person in relation to a task and his or her performance. Frankly, friendships can get in the way of managing for peak performance. We often allow people to make excuses and delays.

Dr. Joe Currier:

I sometimes relate this to the question what did the empathetic surgeon do? The answer is nothing. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. What was the outcome? The patient died. Managers are responsible for results, not with shame, blame, or abuse, but operating in a three A rule action. Action, action, action!

Andrew J. Mason:

And finally, Dr. Joe exactly defines the profile of a leader.

Dr. Joe Currier:

The third role is the leadership role. The profile is S, self development, self awareness, self expression. Next interpersonal relationships, the bonds that we build, and then the third is F, and I’m going to put that in parenthesis for a moment. So the S is, who are you in relation to the interpersonal? Do you walk the walk, and talk the talk? Can I trust you? Are you consistent? Now the F in parenthesis is often misunderstood to mean that you don’t have to be technically sophisticated, not so. However, the message is this, the F in parenthesis is reminiscent of an orchestra leader. Can she play all of the instruments? Can she play them as well as the first seat? I think not, but she also has just the baton. She doesn’t have an instrument. The job of the orchestra leader is not to make the music, it’s to get others to make the music with her guidance, supervision, and expression. Former president Ronald Reagan once said, “In the role of a leader, my job is not necessarily to do great things. The job of a leader is to get others to do great things.”

Dr. Joe Currier:

So the primary focus of a leader in the role of a leader, the main thing is to proactively hold onto that word. To proactively reflect the genuine self. The core values and vision that drive you. The primary forces are focused on aligning the message with the messenger. In other words, as leader, you are the message. Success in a leadership role is measured by the degree to which followers identify with, adopt, and act upon a leader’s vision and values. Executives, that is managers and leaders, have three prerogatives, power authority, and influence. Leaders, other than in crisis situations are advised to give power and authority to managers and to experts who drive product and process. And instead, leaders are encouraged to use influence whenever reasonable.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Now, these three roles are not static, and they’re not one size fits all. You shape the role and the voice. As you climb the career ladder, Peter Drucker, a wise professional from years ago, Drucker warns, the very things that got you to this point in your career may have to be abandoned in order to continue along the executive career path.” Abandoned, that means rethought, refocus, set the profile differently. Goldsmith and writer, I believe picked up on Drucker’s spirit, his message, and wrote a great book that reinforces Dr. Drucker’s message. And that is what got you here, won’t get you there. These quotes are guidelines for profile shifts as you climb the career ladder.

Dr. Joe Currier:

I have been using our F, Ip, and S, those three core competencies, to profile the three specific roles of a team. We’ve been doing this for many years, but a number of years ago, about 10 years ago or so, I attended a conference on building a new generation of leaders in emerging companies. Korn Ferry, and international consulting group, shared a study they had just completed with over 21,000 business professionals. That’s a huge study. They followed these men and women for a minimum of 20 years, some as long as 25 years. And they found four core competencies to build success and help individuals along this career path from the expert, the manager, et cetera. What they said was the first is task and execution. You have to work hard. Secondly, strategic thinking, you have to work smart. Lower on the list, but still important, were building teams, and last, again, not unimportant, but last was the authentic self. Again, what gets you into the management career ladder, starting with your expertise and gradually building forward.

Dr. Joe Currier:

When they followed these men and women for 20 to 25 years, however, the core competencies shifted. Men and women who reached the executive point in their career, especially the leadership. Number one in leadership is authenticity. They said the authentic self needs to show up. Next, building diverse teams. Here’s the interpersonal, the Ip. Next in looking at the leader as they’ve evolved over these years is strategic thinking, always important. And last, but not least on the list, is the expertise, the F in parenthesis. I’m not trying to steal their thunder nor claim a higher ground here. Brilliant work on their part, but I could not help but see the FIp and the S. Here’s the point, they find that your profile shifts over time, as you go from expert to manager to leader. Leaders are first and foremost driven by the authentic self. Then building deep relationships within teams, both personal and professional. Next, moving down to diversity, making sure that you have gender, race, national origin, et cetera, and last but not least, it’s not a lack of recognition of expertise, but allowing other individuals to be the smartest person in the room, the expert, the one who makes the music. Your job as an orchestra leader is to get teams to produce the greatness.

Andrew J. Mason:

Well, if you’ve listened before, then you know that this is the part of the show where I get to sit down with Dr. Joe and just ask him any questions that have kind of come up over the course of his conversation and inspiration here. And for me, the biggest question, I guess, Dr. Joe, is where did you come up with this naming style convention? It’s so helpful to be able to see that the sequence of these letters help make for a different style of management, or a different style of leadership. The F, the Ip, and the S, can you talk to us about how that was generated a little bit?

Dr. Joe Currier:

It started right originally, Andrew, with just the common misusage. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, or like I know something that nobody else does, but there’s a misuse. It’s between this idea of manager and leader, and it has to do with rank and roll. The senior ranking officer in the room from business to military, to frankly, family, immediately we call them the leader in it’s not necessarily so. So that was part of it. The other happened very spontaneously, frankly, during a workshop. One time we were doing something in front of a large group, and it was a question, and someone asked me, “Well, can you kind of give me some type of matrix or some type of model here?” And that’s where I started to think of the three core competencies.

Dr. Joe Currier:

The F, which is the fundamentals, the knowledge, skills, and abilities. Critical. And that we’ll see will become the main thing within the expert hat role. Then we look at the interpersonal because again, we work within, even when we’re working independently within an organization, I tend to work by myself, there usually is some type of connection eventually between what we do, and then the connection of human beings who actually do it. And the third part of it is this thing called self, which frankly, always, always troubled me that when I’ve watched people that I’ve respected, business wise, that they acted as if they could sweep the self under a carpet. And you’ve often perhaps heard me say that they built a firewall between work and life, as if you can check in and leave the whole self out, and it just ain’t so. As they say.

Dr. Joe Currier:

So I started to look at that and thought of a simple model. Again, the F, Ip, and S equals the matrix, or the model for the expert. The interpersonal, the fundamentals, which is critical here, because often people confuse with interpersonal, with the F, excuse me, with the S, as if it’s around building friendships. That is not the case. It’s about performance, and then of course, the empathetic leader, the person who listens more than speaks, and that’s the S, because they are the message. They walk the walk, talk the talk. The interpersonal, and then the F in parenthesis, because they don’t have to be the smartest bear in the woods. They’ve got to get other people to do that type of expertise.

Andrew J. Mason:

Gosh, it’s like, you’re in my head. I want to save one or two of these questions for part three, because I know that we’re going to dive deeper into this subject matter, and it really is rich enough to want to pick apart. You mentioned seeing this massive study come out from Korn Ferry, and can you walk us through what you were thinking and feeling as they reveal these results that you’ve had in your internal knowledge for so long, and all of a sudden, you’re just watching before you. My gosh, this epiphany, it’s being validated right in front of me.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Andrew, I was with a colleague of mine, and I’ve told people this story, and I start the story by telling them that I slid off of my seat. And I tell them, I literally slid down, like you said, in almost an epiphany when I watched what they were saying, and what you have to do is visualize something. On the left hand side, when you are going to get into this pipeline that takes you from expert to manager, to quote leader. I know it’s moving upwards to the chief executive, chief financial, when you get to the top of the heap, and we traditionally call it leadership.

Dr. Joe Currier:

They said, and I was sitting there kind of passively. And they said, “Oh, there’s four core competencies.” Now, remember we talk about three, and then I heard them talk about the first two. You’ve got to work hard, and you’ve got to work smart. You’ve got to have an expertise, and you’ve got to deliver on time. And then you have to work smart strategically. And they said, “Oh, by the way, in terms of the lower ranking here, in terms of competency, is this thing called being part of a team. And then the last part, self is at the bottom,” and they warned us, “Do not misinterpret that to mean it’s not important, but it’s what gets you into this pipeline.” I want to get into a management leadership pipeline or program. It’ll start with these two core competencies around what I call F.

Dr. Joe Currier:

It was interesting because when they said they were doing this study for 20 to 25 years, they said, by the way, there’s a reversal here. When you start to see the truly successful executives, manager, leaders at the top ranks, what was most important in terms of their success is the S. Their authenticity. Next came building diverse teams. And then last, but not least was the F. And that is like the orchestra leader, note the word, she doesn’t play all the instruments. She doesn’t play any instrument. Her job is to orchestrate. So when I saw this and I saw the respect I had for 20 to 25 years of research, I smiled and said, “Oh my God, we’ve been doing this for almost 40 years,” at the time. And we had this data, not published, but we’ve been using it, and we had this profile and frankly, modestly say we were really proud, that I think we were kind of preaching to the right choirs.

Andrew J. Mason:

All right. Forgive me that you’ve flown so close to where I want to head in part three. I have to ask the question now, I just can’t let this sit ideally by. For those younger generations, you know, that 20, 30 something person, who’s looking at this, and he’s coming in through the expert role, and he’s saying, “Wait a second, from what you’re saying, is there just correlation here? Or is there causation? Can I start flipping the order of these letters in my life and start to see more leadership oriented results?”

Dr. Joe Currier:

You know, Andrew, I want to actually pick up. You’re actually reading my mail now, and reading my mind with the word leadership. So what I want to do is make sure that we watch the dictionary for a second. And that is, when I talk about the role of an expert, it is fundamentally based, building some relationships so that people can also spread the word in the gospel within the organization and get things done. We look at the manager with the interpersonal and with the excuse me, the interpersonal relationships with the F, and then going up to leader, the concept of leadership is in every role, that’s the key. Experts, managers, and leader. They have opportunities for leadership where they can add some core value to what the mission is, and to their partnership is. That’s relationships based upon leadership. And it’s somewhat distinguishable from the formal role, the formal hat and voice of the leader.

Andrew J. Mason:

Okay. This is where we’re going to let it sit for today. This, like we mentioned earlier, is a three part episode. So there’s so much rich, deep content that all interrelates with each other. You’re not going to want to miss episodes nine and 10 coming out very shortly. As always, we’d love it if you’re not already subscribed in iTunes, if you would do that. If you would leave us a review, or anything of that nature, sharing or liking. Help us get the word out about this, we would greatly, greatly appreciate that.

Andrew J. Mason:

And until next time, this was Thinking Out Loud with Dr. Joe Currier. Leadership, transformation, growth, acceleration.