Lead a Good Life

Daily hints and tips to enhance your life

Take Monkeys Off Their Shoulders

One of the primary duty of leaders is to develop their people, that includes sharpen their competence in problem solving and decision making. So you have to realize that the danger from load of tasks that will occur if you take over their works. But what if you are being held on a deadline and somebody ask you to handle ‘one or more monkeys’ – problems that should be dealt by sub-ordinates, popular terminology that was introduced by William Oncken Jr. and Donald L. Wass in their article “Management Time: Who’s Got The Monkey?” from Harvard Business Review 1974.

Here are few tips that you can possibly do.

1. Let Them Work

To many people, the pathway to effective delegation starts with studying two basic assumption of their roles. First, a lot of managers believe that handling their people’s problems is a faster and more effective than teach them to handle it themselves. Second, they also believe that they know more from their people.

These assumptions, will only raise the need of managers to break the problem and make decisions, instead of delegating and empowering their men. To deal with this problem, you have to position yourself as a leader, not a manager. Managers deal with details, while leaders, on the contrary, raise sense of belonging and responsibilities in their people.

2. Ask, Don’t Tell

Professional delegator choose to ask their men, rather than dictate the solution to them.

The question “What is it that you think should be done?” stimulates people to come with solutions when they approach you. Another additional questions like “What is the effect of this action?” or “What is it that we need to pay attention to if we are to go your way?” could also reveal how far have they think about the solution to the problem.

3. Match Person With The Job

Avoid adding your current jobs with handling your people’s problem. This can only happen if managers delegate the right job to the right people, according to each competence and potential.

Steven R. Covey stressed about delegation based on interest. “Find out the best outcome and the most preferred job of your people” he said “Then combine their unique talents and interests with job needs. When people work with interest and desire, they don’t need guidance. They will eventually create creative solutions independently.”

4. Cultivate Independent Thinking

If someone manages to think independently and feel that he own his job, then he will definitely bring less problem to his boss.

Shane Pliska, Business Development Director of Planterra, a landscape interior company, uses “monkey rating”, a method extracted from Oncken and Wass’ article. “We ask the workers to self assess their problems with numbers,” she said. “One means your manager solved it for you. Two means your manager told you the solution and you follow the solution, three means you proposed a solution and seek approval from your manager, while four means you took action, solve the problem, and let you manager know afterwards.”

When people came to their boss’s chamber, managers will ask “what number is on your current problem?” To raise the sense of belonging, Planterra managers encourages their people to have number four on every problem as much as possible.

5. Connect Them With Resources

Connecting your people with resources will also help you reduce your load. Think about the term “resource” in wider perspective, like human, tools, information, and opportunities that can help your men to work independently. Being the matchmaker between your people to the resources is actually not hard at all, like “You can talk to Mr X in marketing division.”


So, take that monkey of their shoulders immediately, let them deal with their own monkeys, because you already have your own, right?

December 7, 2008 Posted by | Career, inter personal skill, Leadership, Stress Management, Workplace Improvement | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Listen To The Ideas Of Others

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen”
(Ernest Hemingway)

If you think you know it all, chances are you will be too busy listening to yourself and how great you are to have time to listen to anyone else.  Listen to your people in your team.  They are the ones who knows to work with the resources and the products. They are the ones at the cutting edge and they may well have ideas, good ideas.  Talk to them.  Get their feedback, their ideas, their creativity.

But you obviously have to be careful to make sure that although you are listening to them, that doesn’t mean that you are going to act on every one of their ideas.  Listen, assimilate and then decide based on what you’ve heard, your own experience and ideas and what is practical.

You have to listen without always giving the signal that you will necessary use their ideas, so then they won’t be disappointed when you do something completely different.  But you can make them think their ideas were incorporated into your overall strategy.

If you regularly doing this, ask good questions and listen without prejudice, you’re immediately in a different class to most leaders.

source : The Rules of Management – Richard Templar

November 21, 2008 Posted by | Career, inter personal skill, Leadership, Workplace Improvement | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment