Monday, March 3, 2014


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I’m in London for a week and while the dollar is horribly weak the good cheer is strong. In stores, restaurants, Starbucks, buses…people are pretty nice. And friendly. And they smile and it makes me want to smile back.

I know it’s a tourist’s perspective, but the pleasantries happen often with so many of the people I’ve come in contact with. And it reminds me that in management, nice trumps nasty. And unpleasantness. And meanness. And it just seems like common sense to be nice.

I recently tasted sauteed alligator meat (don't ask)..and like so many things, it tastes like chicken. Really. Which makes me think that things are often more familiar than we think, no matter where we are or what we're doing. And that means you can rely on the basics in life. Like being nice.

As a manager, you need your team to “want to” go to the mattresses for you. (Note the Godfather reference). “Want To” is the bingo here because while you can demand, order, mandate and require certain behaviors, you won't get 110% if the "want to" is missing. When you don't "want to" you just don't do your best.

Management is complex, but it doesn’t (always) have to be difficult. It’s a fact: people don’t work for companies, they work for people. You will always have tough issues to face, problems to solve and challenges that will unexpectedly hit you right in the gut. But when your people “want to” walk through walls for you, you’ll always have an edge.

Try this: next time you’re angry at an employee– and your thought is to “let loose” on her – do the opposite. Be the nicest as you’ve ever been. Ask her if everything is ok. Ask if you can help her. Buy her an ice cream cone and then discuss, don't scold.


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