Thinking Out Loud – Ep: 10 – The Expert, Manager, Leader: Part 03

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TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew J. Mason:

This is Thinking Out Loud with Dr. Joe Currier, episode 10: The Expert, the Manager, and the Leader, part three.

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 we wrap up the massive teaching on bringing out the best in experts, managers, and leaders. And you’ll love this because Dr. Joe hones in on managers and leaders, and provides key distinctions of what they both look, sound, and feel like when they’re being successful, provided to us in memorable comparisons. Here’s Dr. Joe with more.

Dr. Joe Currier:

It has been said that there are two sides to every story. Managers Must Lead, Leaders Must Manage is a two sided book I wrote many years ago, and it’s designed to demonstrate the point that managers and leaders come from two different distinct directions. They come from different directions towards one common goal, to build and maintain teams poised to compete to win, which is the by both success and satisfaction.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Two perspectives, one conclusion. No matter how you look at it peak performance organizations excel when managers lead and leaders manage. I used four play on words to unite the two different, but always reciprocal roles. Beginning first with the word profit versus prophet. P R O F I T versus P R O P H E T. A manager’s job has more to do with perspiration than inspiration. As the organization’s profit driver managers operationalize strategic objectives into concrete action initiatives that align workers with tasks needed to achieve the vision.

Dr. Joe Currier:

A leader’s job has more to do with inspiration than perspiration. As an organization’s prophet, leaders live their lives backwards. They look into tomorrow and they see today. Let me repeat that. Leaders live their lives backwards. They look into tomorrow and see today. Leaders unite all employees under business strategies that allow managers to produce real changes needed to achieve their mutual vision.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Second, dollars and cents, C E N T S, versus dollars and sense, common sense. Everything managers do directly and indirectly impacts the bottom line. Numbers and size drive their strategy. Without diminishing passionate partnerships, leaders motivate partners beyond mere compensation, finance, profitability. They avoid ambiguity by defining the vision, the mission, and strategy in clear practical messages that make both dollars and cents and dollars and sense, common sense. Workers have needs and wants. Business strategies arise from a combination of IQ and EQ. EQ is social emotional intelligence. As Daniel Goldman noted IQ will get you hired, but EQ will get you promoted.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Third, dum mistakes versus dumb mistakes. D U M versus D U M B. Managers promote risk-taking behavior and encourage employees to strive to achieve their full potential by going outside of their comfort zone. Risk taking is rewarded. It’s okay to make mistakes. They replace zero error tolerance with best effort and a willingness to learn. Dumb is I don’t understand my mistakes. I don’t understand these new methodologies embedded in a specific task, et cetera, but I do my best in the meantime, to seek feedback, to fix what is broken. Leaders meanwhile are learning agile. That is to say intellectual works in progress. Leaders surround themselves with people more competent in specific areas. They don’t worry about being seen as the smartest person in the room. They’re not dumb, D U M B, but they are eager to acquire new ways to improve old work habits. Leaders, show character and collegiality by using errors to form task partnerships, as well as to promote the idea of lessons learned.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Fourth, lastly, traditional executive power versus the acronym POWER, P O W E R. Managers maintain healthy tension by monitoring cultural and performance expectations. They are not afraid to use their power in authority. However, they also offer precision coaching while holding employees accountable for their final performance. Negotiable versus non negotiable expectations are clearly defined, what can and can’t be done in a task. Employees are offered support, encouragement, and concrete help to fix problems, or frankly they risk losing their position on the team. Remember while care, structure, and coaching are always present, job opportunity may not be. It is a dangerous management error to allow loyal underachievers to remain in their position. It can kill the mission and frankly can put us out of business.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Loyal underachievers are people you love, great people who align with the culture, but with best effort and with expert coaching, frankly fail to operate up to minimal standards of achievement. Partners must at least meet these minimal standards in their assigned position, or be given opportunities to succeed elsewhere. Leaders do not flaunt traditional power. Except in times of crisis, they give power and authority to managers and experts who need that opportunity to be able to have the freedom to make the choices to succeed. Instead of using traditional power and authority, they rely on influence.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Managers and leaders hold different reciprocal parts of the success satisfaction puzzle. Their job is to synergize their roles and get out of the way of people who can rock in their roles, which is what I am about to do. Get out of your way as you continue climbing the career ladder. Three vital roles, right hat, right voice. Each with the ability to create power, passion, ownership, wellness, excellence, and relationships. Thank you and blessings on your way.

Andrew J. Mason:

This is just a massive, high-level teaching in three parts for us. Thanks again for that. I know it’s incredibly valuable for everybody listening. I want to dive deep first in this statement that you mentioned, don’t allow loyalty to overrule competency. I guess I’m wondering how does somebody approach that situation where you have that shape-up conversation. It needs to happen. Something feels like it just changes the nature of that relationship, but I know it’s really just redefining or reordering how the relationship really already is. Any tips on how to approach these difficult conversations?

Dr. Joe Currier:

Yes. And one of them is to distinguished between building fear versus respect. You know, as a parent, we sometimes think we’re in a leadership role, but we start to use the wrong voice, which says, “Because I said so.” That’s not a reasonable response to a child who is trying to learn, who has been behaving as a child and needs to learn certain lessons. That’s one.

Dr. Joe Currier:

Secondly is, it’s critical not to misinterpret that we want you to be all head no heart. Like as an expert, that you can be the smartest bear in the woods, but you should have no sense of identity or personage. The same thing with a leader. That at times you don’t stop the action. Now, technically whether you stop the action and put on a different hat, that of a manager. I gave the example of when a little Mary hits Johnny, and you say, “You’re getting a time out. That’s not acceptable.” That’s a manager’s voice. When she then says, “Dad, you don’t love me,” is it wise to go to the leadership voice in that moment, which is around empathy. But remember all head no heart doesn’t make any sense. Any coach, any leader knows that at times I have to cause a stop action and says, “This troubles me. And I know this is going to hurt you, but you’re off the team,” or “You’re going to be spending time on the bench until you can raise the bar.”

Dr. Joe Currier:

That has to do with setting certain types of expectations. That we have to have some language and agreement around what is the minimal standards of behavior to play on this team. And as I may have said already, I believe I did, there are times when you say, “You’re going to play, but not on this team. I need to help you to find a better fit so that you can be successful.” Because we can’t undermine the mission and the health of the organization because it supports us. Like a biodome it’s the oxygen that surrounds us when I can come to work and therefore gain all of these wonderful things from the job. But I don’t become all heart, but no head. That does not make sense.

Andrew J. Mason:

I can just hear our audience saying Dr. Joe, “I recognize myself here. There are key conversations that I, as a manager, have been avoiding and probably to the detriment of our organization.” So what would you say to that person who’s just been avoiding that conflict? Is it too late? Or “Rip the bandaid off and go for it”?

Dr. Joe Currier:

No, I don’t know about ripping bandaids off. I think the reality is first to look at what we call the pronoun usage. I, you, we. There are times we need to be very clear here, and it’s not the accusatory finger pointing you. But I have to lean you in a direction of, we had an agreement. It seemed to be understood by both of us and therefore you somehow haven’t met or exceeded that standard. Now you can have that conversation once. You might even have it twice. But if you have it a third time, there’s a question of IQ here. And that is am I acting as a reasonable, intelligent human being? And again, am I allowing my heart to dominate at the expense of my head? And it needs to have a balance here. So I need to know when we agree.

Dr. Joe Currier:

And then I go into the behaviorals, what it is that I need to do in a senior role, perhaps as a manager/leader. And you need to do in terms of the action pointed. The three A rule: action, action, action. So I think we need to keep the pronouns clear here, the responsibilities and the agreements, and at times make some hard decisions here. If the bandage is going to be pulled off, frankly, and we’ve had these proper conversations, I’m not doing the pulling, you are, frankly. You’re setting up a situation and you may be testing the limits here to see if I’m going to be able to work with some of the difficult conversations versus back down.

Dr. Joe Currier:

I sometimes use a metaphor here, Andrew, a little tongue in cheek, but bear with me. What did the empathetic surgeon do? And the answer is nothing. She didn’t want to hurt anybody. What was the outcome? The patient died. There are times when you and I, from parent to manager to leader. Co-leadership even in on the expert role, where I have a peer partner, I’m seeing something that’s not okay. We need to have difficult conversations and we need to do what we call, we need to carefront each other. We need to care enough to say, “Andrew, can we talk? This is not acceptable. It’s not what we agreed upon.” Or, “This isn’t the standard of behavior.” In my beautiful past in the Marine Corps, it’s not what we did in terms of the Semper Fi. I’d be letting down you as a partner, and me as a partner to you,

Andrew J. Mason:

Incredibly valuable insight. And just to remind our audience, that book then Dr. Joe mentioned, where you can get even more from the conversation, is called Managers Must Lead and Leaders Must Manage. It’s called Managers Must Lead and Leaders Must Manage. You can find that on Amazon. Thank you so much again for listening. My name is Andrew J. Mason, and this was Thinking Out Loud with Dr. Joe Currier: leadership, transformation, growth, acceleration.