The Best Damn Doer Syndrome: Why the Hardest Workers Seldom Get Promoted

Are you working too hard?

Does everything fall apart when you’re not around?

Do you find yourself bailing out your boss, your peers, and your team?

If you can answer YES to any of these questions, it’s likely you’re being held back by the “Best Damn Doer” syndrome.

Be careful.

I know. I’ve felt the guilt of being promoted over people working longer and harder than me.

I’ve also promoted the “right candidate” over the one with the most sweat equity in the game.

And the other night, I had one of my clients ask me to help “John,” his high-potential “best damn doer.”

“John’s the go-to for everyone, he adds huge value AND it’s holding him and the business back. How do we get him past being ‘the best damn doer?'”

5 Ways to Overcome Being the Best Damn Doer

The Best Damn Doers are the glue, the lynch-pins, the guys or gals who consistently win the awards…. AND yet are frustrated when year over year their less “competent” peers get promoted.

If this sounds like you, here are a few ways to back away from the grind and add additional value to the team–and your career.

  1. Start with a Heart-to-Heart with Your Boss
    Bosses love the go-to guy. I know. I’ve had them on speed-dial for years. But the truth is, your boss is likely the same person coaching you to “delegate more and be more strategic.” Even when it’s your boss asking for you to be doing the doing, pause and explain how you’re working to develop your team. Commit to setting clear expectations and inspecting outcomes, but resist the urge to be the one to take care of it, even if it’s your boss doing the asking.
  2. Build Skills Before the Fire Drill
    When the crap’s hitting the fan, it’s hard to hand over the reins. Bring your team in early and often in low-stake situations. Get them ready.
  3. Delegate Well
    In Winning Well, we offer lots of tools to help in this arena. Be sure you’re delegating process not outcome, defining the finish line, and are holding people accountable.
  4. Ask Great Questions
    The best way to get your team thinking is to ask not tell. One secret to great leadership is getting your team thinking along the same wavelength. Ask your team open ended questions that encourage them to find solutions (if you’re reading Winning Well, see pages 135-139 for a useful list.)
  5. Be a Curious Learner
    Ask your team to teach you what they know. You might be surprised by their knowledge and approach. Then your coaching is gravy.

Bottom line. The more you can replicate your best damn doer skills, the better the results, for your organization, the team, and for your career.

Step away from the doing, and watch the magic.

Is Your Boss A Gamer? Win Well Anyway.

Gamers are manipulators. They spend their days playing dirty politics, working one person against one another in their ceaseless quest for status. In their mind, winning is not related to organization results. Their meetings and efforts at delegation usually have two layers of meaning, with political subtext just below the surface.

Gamers attract a motley cast of sycophants, other Gamers, and the disaffected. Productive employees leave as soon as they can.

In unhealthy organizations, Gamers can hang around a long time as they manipulate the people around them in a warped Game of “Who will be the last one voted off the island?” Whether or not the Gamer experiences stress and discomfort depends on his or her internal values. Living and working this way is caustic to the people with any self-regard.

 

If you feel like this guy, you’re not alone. Winning Well can help you survive and even thrive despite a Gamer boss or toxic work environment by creating pockets of excellence. Chapter 22: What If My Boss Doesn’t Want to Win and Doesn’t Care About Their Soul or Mine? is particularly useful in this situation.

If you haven’t picked up you copy of Winning Well today, you can order it here. Already read it? Please help us spread the word with an Amazon review!

Frontline Festival April 2016: Leaders share what Winning Well means to them

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival celebrates the launch of Winning Well and is all about leaders sharing what winning well means to them.Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Want to learn more about Winning Well? You can download the first few chapters for free here. Has Winning Well improved your leadership? Help us spread the word by writing an Amazon review.

Next month, we are looking for your best insights on professional development for leaders…what do you to to keep filling your pool of knowledge? Submit your contribution here by May 13!

Now, on to this month’s contributions:

According to Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services  using logic is fine, but winning well leaders also use your intuition. This post describes some ways to develop it. Follow Mary Jo.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited suggests that sometimes, winning well leaders must do just ONE thing to make a day better. Follow Beth.

Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC, of Positive Potentials, LLC shares, “Winning Well for me is about being in touch with my values. That guides the metric I want to use. Winning feels good. Winning is not a measure of success unless it is by one’s own definition. Also, we must measure the cost of the win to get to the “achievement,” real and perceived. Follow Michelle.

Good management is not motivating, its cultivating an environment that releases internal motivations.
~ Winning Well

Ariana Friedlander of Rosabella Consulting shares that crowdfunding is not about raising money, it is about raising believers.  No one succeeds in isolation, and these 10 lessons learned from crowdfunding are relevant to for any winning well leader that seeks to create win-win-win arrangements for their team. Follow Ariana.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement shares that what matters is not your stated respect for people but your revealed respect for people based on your actions. This post provides actions you can take to demonstrate respect for all employees, a trait of those who win well. Follow John.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen points out that we can’t “win well” if we are constrained to the feeling that we must “train within the rules”. It is only by accepting the inevitability of exceptions and being willing to take risks that we can grow and thrive professionally. Follow Paula.

It isn’t what you think or say, it’s what you do that communicates trust.
~ Winning Well

Scott Mabry of Soul to Work offers a slightly different twist on winning well. Success can be measured in many different ways. Sometimes winning is giving our best to the situation we are dealt even if the results don’t land in our favor.  Follow Scott.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog  presents “Are you venting or complaining?” where she shares that when venting is handled correctly, it can be a healthy and productive part of creating an effective team environment, and how to vent effectively.  Follow Robyn.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference offers a unique view that we need to shift out of our winning obsession. Winning has lopped off purpose for profit, market share, or votes. When we focus on creating instead, our mindset shifts to collaboration, betterment, and the right mix of richness and purpose. Are you ready to start a revolution of creating well? Follow Jon.

Remember, you give your team a chance to follow you when you clearly connect their work to meaning, purpose and shared values.
~ Winning Well

Michelle Pallas of MichellePallas.com  points out that winning well leaders don’t act on every piece of adviceFollow Michelle.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights says if you want results and sustainable success, this is your guide. Karin Hurt and David Dye share leadership without losing your soul. Don’t choose between humility and results – you can have both. Follow Skip.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates recommends that winning well leaders sometimes stop taking action.  Follow Shelley

Dr. Artika Tyner of the Planting People. Growing Justice Institute reminds us that Winning Well begins with building a shared vision. This determines where your team is headed and serves as a guide for achieving your goals. Follow Artika.

Bonus:

The Winning Well message is being shared all over! Here are links to several videos and podcasts. We appreciate every opportunity to share this important message!

When Working Hard Isn’t Working (Leadership Freak)

What do you mean, I’m a fraud? (Fast Leader)

A Guide to Getting Results without Losing Your Soul (Leadership Insights)

Growing Leaders (School for Startups)

David Dye on Experience Pros

For more, visit Winning Well on the web.

The Winning Well Tour! Let us bring the Winning Well tour to you! Contact me at karin.hurt@letsgrowleaders.com  or 443-750-1249 to talk about a customized Winning Well keynote or workshop just right or your team or organization.

When Working Hard Isn't Working– A #WinningWell Video Interview with Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak

“It’s amazing how many times people are working…HARD..,, and when you ask them what they’re really trying to accomplish, they’re really not sure.”

-Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak, reflections on Winning Well

While out on our Winning Well Tour, David and I had an opportunity to visit with Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak, to hear his perspective on what it means to win well.

This interview as particularly poignant for me since, Dan and I have connected early in my blogging journey, long before I left my day job at Verizon, and he’s been a wonderful supporter and friend.  You can read a bit from our 2012 interview of here.

Do you know a leader who Wins Well? Please let us know.

Winning Well in the News

In addition to our Winning Well speaking tour, David and I are having a blast talking with the media. Here are a few of our latest gigs.

fastleadershowFast Leader Podcast

An Interview with Skip Prichard.

4 Ways to Provide Meaningful Encouragement

My guess is that right about now, you could use some encouragement. Not meaningless cheerleading, but some well considered, well-timed, well-meaning “You’ve got this and here’s how I know…”

In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the next five people you encounter could use some meaningful encouragement too. No matter how confident people appear on the outside, chances are they could use some encouragement to bolster their insides.

The Powerful Encouragement of a “Stranger”

Shep Hyken, bestselling author, keynote speaker, and past president of the National Speakers Association (NSA), was a stranger the day he offered me some best-in-class encouragement as I stepped off the stage at the International Customer Service Association conference. Now he’s a friend.

Sure I had done a lot of speaking before, but only to internal Verizon crowds or to my outsourced call centers where I was “the client.” This was different–no built in credibility. I wondered how my message would play outside the safety of my familiar world.

Shep smiled:

“Great job. When are you leaving Verizon to do this full time?”

“OMG Did I say that from the stage,” I cringed, worried I might have inadvertently let out the secret I had yet to admit to myself.

“No. But it’s obvious this is what’s next for you. Let me know how I can help. You should join the NSA. Call me when you’re ready to go and I’ll help.”

I did and he did.

“What advice do you have for how I can improve my speech?” I asked… and braced myself for the long list.

“Next time I’ll listen with that in mind. But for now, just never end with questions. Close powerfully and exit. If the client wants questions, exit and then come back.”

Powerful, simple advice. Thank goodness he refrained from the list of 37 things I now know I could have done better in that speech.

4 Ways to Provide Meaningful Encouragement

  1. Meet them where they’re vulnerable. Timing matters. Shep grabbed me right after I stepped off the stage when I most needed a thumbs up. Great encouragement is a metaphorical hug.
  2. Help them envision a future self. Sometimes we can see more in people than they ever thought possible. Great encouragement is about possibility and potential.
  3. Offer support. Great encouragement comes with investment. “I believe in you so much, I’m willing to help.”
  4. Coach with care. Yes, offer feedback but don’t overwhelm. Great encouragement breaks down what’s next into attainable steps.

Winning Well leaders seek out opportunities to encourage.

Who in your life could use some encouraging support?

Winning Well in the News

In addition to our Winning Well speaking tour, David and I are having a blast talking with the media. Here are a few of our latest gigs.

school for startupsI was delighted to talk Winning Well on  School For Start Ups Radio.

And David had a blast in his interview with The Experience Pros.the experience pros

And for my call Center Peeps, see my ICMI video interview How to Be a Better Contact Center Manager. If  you’re considering heading to the ICMI conference in Long Beach you can use my code WinWell to receive $200 off the conference registration.

 

Seb and Karin Coloring

#WinningWell Managers Take Refreshing Breaks–Here’s Yours!

Is life a little crazy for you right now? It sure is here! Winning Well is full-speed ahead and we’re so excited!

Even in the midst of craziness though, it’s wise to take a break and we have just the thing for you.

Here’s our Winning Well coloring page! Have you caught the coloring trend over these last few months? We’d love to see your work, so much so that we’ve created a contest.

Coloring this would be a great relaxation and brainstorming activity. So head on over to the contest page to learn more. You just might win something special for your team!

Have fun…managers that win well do!

WW Coloring Page Image

Winning well color circle

#WinningWell – Your Practical Guide from Amacom Books

The Winning Well ruckus has been a delight…and part of that is the chance to be part of Amacom’s book family. The American Management Association is a leader’s source for so many great resources, it’s an honor to have Winning Well among them.

A Winning Well Preview on AMACOM

“You can’t be in last place!” Joe shouted, and immediately winced as he saw Ann’s exhausted eyes begin to tear up.

Later in his office, Joe admitted: “She didn’t deserve that. She’s a newly promoted center director working long hours in a fast ramp-up. The problem is, we’re out of time. The business plan called for this center to be profitable in six months, and it’s been over a year, and we’re not even close. My VP keeps calling for updates every few hours, and that just wastes everyone’s time.”

Joe squeezed his temples. “My people need me to coach and support them, but if we don’t improve in the next 90 days, none of us will be here next year. Maybe I need to go.”

No, Joe needs help Winning Well.

Read more at Amacom.

 

Leadership Heresy: A #Winningwell Guest Post by David Dye

I’m in trouble now. I’m about to commit heresy.

I want to address what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of your workplace leadership.

In my work with thousands of business leaders across industries, geography, and over many years, I’ve repeatedly seen people lose their influence because they don’t address this one thing.

In many leadership forums, many leadership books, and not a few social media memes, what I’m about to say would be skewered, and yet… your credibility and influence depend on it.

What is this leadership heresy?

Management.

Why Management Is Vital to Your Leadership

Your leadership depends on your credibility. You can’t influence people if they don’t trust you. Where does that trust come from?

In large part, the foundation of that trust is your basic management competence. That’s why Karin and I wrote Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul.

I don’t mean that you have to become a certified professional project manager in order to have influence. What I do mean is that if you don’t have the basics in place, you create chaos and lose credibility with your people.

Now, I understand that many leadership texts will tell you, “If you’re not good at management, hire it.”

Hogwash.

If you run the company, by all means, lead and then hire a good operations person to manage. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you’re like the vast majority of people with business leadership roles, the idea that you can hire someone to do your management for you is pure nonsense (and dangerous as well.)

Even if you should become CEO, you are responsible to make sure these things happen. If they don’t happen, that’s on you.

The good news is that the basics of management aren’t difficult.

Four Steps to Manage Well and Build Credibility

At its most basic, management involves a few practices that are relatively simple. As the old saying goes: it’s not hard, it’s just hard work. When we struggle as managers, it is often because we have failed to do one of the following:

  1. Set clear expectations.

I’ve coached managers and team leaders in more than 2000 sessions and in 90% or more of those conversations, the problems we’re discussing happened because expectations were not clear.

It happened to me again recently. I was frustrated with my colleague’s work, but when I stopped to think about it, I hadn’t shared my expectations. I had my own image of what the project looked like and when it would be completed, but we’d never discussed it.

Expectations can come from many sources: the team itself, the manager, the organization. Regardless, if they are not clear, they will not be met, and I can guarantee you will be frustrated.

  1. Train and equip your team to meet the expectations.

After clear expectations, the next pitfall is in assuming that everyone has the knowledge or skills to meet those expectations. Ensure your team members are set up for success!

  1. Reinforce expectations.

This may sound redundant, but think about this for a moment. Every second, your mind is inundated with eleven million pieces of information[1]. Think about how easily you can get distracted. In fact, I’ll bet that you’ll get distracted at least once while you read this article. Don’t worry, I’m not offended – that’s just the way we’re built.

Effective leaders and managers know that they must continually reinforce expectations and keep clear priorities in front of their team. We all need reminders from time to time about where we’re going and why we’re going there.

If your team were a rock and roll band, reinforcing expectations is like the bass line or drum that anchors the song and keeps everyone on track.

  1. Celebrate and practice accountability.

Accountability doesn’t only mean discipline – real accountability celebrates our accomplishments and gives us course corrections as needed. We can easily demotivate our teams by failing to acknowledge success or by failing to hold everyone accountable.

Your Turn

Remember: Your leadership influence is built on a foundation of trust. As you wrestle with management challenges, I invite you to ask these four questions:

  1. Are expectations clear to both parties?
  2. Does your team have the skills and equipment to succeed?
  3. Have you consistently reinforced the expectations?
  4. Do you consistently practice accountability and celebration?

How do you ensure you take care of your management responsibilities (it’s not hard, but can be hard work!)

Be the leader you want your boss to be,

David Dye

[1] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/287907/information-theory/214958/Physiology

 

 

How to Become a More Effective Manager #WinningWell

As we’ve been traveling for our book tour and media interviews, David and I consistently get asked questions we imagine may be on your mind as well.

So as we begin our official launch of Winning Well, we share with you why we believe this message is so vital for you and your organization. If you haven’t picked up a copy, you can get it on Amazon, in hardback or audio version. If you’re looking to buy them for your team, CEO Reads offers some great quantity discounts, and we would be happy to customize with a personalized template.

What does it mean to Win Well?

Winning Well means that you sustain excellent performance over time because you refuse to succumb to harsh, stress-inducing shortcuts that temporarily scare people into “performing.”  You need energized, motivated people all working together. Your strategy is only as strong as your ability of your people to execute at the front line, and if they’re too scared or tired to think, they won’t. You can have all the great plans, Six Sigma quality programs, and brilliant competitive positioning in the universe, but if the human beings doing the real work lack the competence, confidence and creativity to pull it off, you’re finished. Managers who win well bring confidence and humility in equal measure and focus on both results and relationships.

What distinguishes a Winning Well manager from a “User,” “Pleaser,” or “Gamer” manager type you discuss in your Winning Well model?

 

WW Model with copyrightWhere the other three manager types tend to focus on short-term goals, managers who win well have a longer time horizon. They build teams that will produce results today as well as next year.

Managers who win well build healthy professional relationships with their employees. They maintain high expectations for results in a supportive environment where people can grow and take healthy risks.

They master the art of productive meetings, delegation, and problem solving. They run meetings that people consider a good use of time. These managers practice steady, calm accountability along with celebration.

As a result, their employees tend to stick around (often until they get promoted), and there is a steady line of people wanting to work for them.

What initial feedback are you hearing about the book?

We have been overwhelmed with the response we have received on three fronts:

First, we’ve heard resonance. One manager wrote to David and said, “This is my life! You just described what my normal day looks like. How did you know? Thank you!”

Next, we continue to be told that our tools are “disarmingly simple” and practical. Many readers have shared their appreciation that they are immediately able to take the tools and techniques we share and apply them with their team.

The third aspect of the book that resonates is what happens when you show up truly authentic. A reader wrote to Karin:

I just finished reading Winning Well (it’d been on my Amazon pre-order list for more than a month, and I devoured it as soon as it arrived) and wanted to reach out to thank you and David for a fantastic book. Your book made explicit a lot of things I’ve been doing intuitively, and highlighted some places I can step up and do even better. I’m super excited to put those things into practice and to continue to grow my leadership skills as a result.

I also wanted to share with you my story about the power of authenticity and vulnerability, because I truly believe it is the key to everything I have achieved in my career in the last few years.

The full (and powerful) story of this woman’s journey to authenticity and the impact on her career is here.

winning well in Barnes and NobleHow can I help spread the word?

Buy books for you and your team and write an Amazon review. Invite us to speak to your organization or conference. Join our ruckus on social media (shareable tweets, images, and sample chapters can be found on our website).

How did you manage to co-author a book and still stay friends?
ruckus1Ahh, we will be sharing secrets on this one at our breakout session at the National Speakers Association Convention in Phoenix in July, and in an upcoming blog post…stay tuned.