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Make Me More Effective

In this blog post, 15 great leadership questions, executive and leadership coach John M. McKee asks leaders how often they ask their people:

What can I do to make you more effective?

LOL. I’d wager that most leaders don’t ask this question at all. Managers cleverly ask and expect the opposite:

What can you do to make me more effective?

The higher one goes up in a corpo pyramid, the more this question gets asked either explicitly or (more likely) implicitly. You see, one unwritten rule (of many) in CCH bureaucracies is that lesser subordinates are required to make their bosses look good and expect nothing in return except the prevailing industry wage and benefits package. Expecting managers to actively facilitate high quality work and value creation is relegated to a distant second.

The problem with any unwritten law is that you don’t know where to go to erase it. – Glaser and Way

At the beginning of a project, an anointed leader once asked me: “What do you need?“. I was stunned, tongue-tied, and I didn’t know how to respond. Later, when I had some time to think about what I needed, I made my request. Sadly, I didn’t get what I needed but that didn’t really matter that much to me. Just the fact that he asked me the question was enough to instill a feeling of lasting trust and respect within me.

Categories: management Tags: ,
  1. Ray
    March 18, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I always thought that a managers job was to help his/her people do a better job. There are some managers like that, most though are very parochial in they views. It is how you can make them look better.

    In fact there are bloggers out there that write that since human nature is as it is. Helping your boss (may not line up with the company) look good should be one your jobs, unless you are ready to change jobs.

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