Cheerleading? No. Courage? Yes

I have another management myth up over at Stickyminds. This one is Management Myth #11: The Team Needs a Cheerleader!

I once worked for a manager who ignored all the problems we had, who said, “Let's go, gang, we can do it!” I thought I would die. I'm an optimistic person. But I don't believe in false optimism.

I believe in reality. You know that from the Schedule Game #5: Queen of Denial, that I believe everyone needs a firm grip on reality. In projects, reality shows up eventually, and hits you over the head with a two by four.

In corporate management it does too. When you ignore problems, you're much more likely to have a layoff. Why? Because you don't manage the project portfolio and you invest in the wrong projects. Or, you multitask, and don't finish the right projects. Or, you don't see that the projects have gone off the rails, and they need help of some sort. Or, you don't hire the right people that would help you get the work done that you need to get done. Managers don't need to micromanage the actual work. They need to manage the environment that allows people to get work done. It's even more important for managers to notice and solve problems.

Encouraging managers can be helpful, assuming you have the tools and information to do your job. Cheerleading managers? Not so much. If you are not sure if you are encouraging or cheerleading, you could ask your people. They will tell you.

It takes courage and a step towards transparency. It's a big step. What have you got to lose? The disrespect of your people—not much to lose. What have you got to win? The respect of your people. Help in solving your problems. I say go for it.

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