Chris Croft
Tips of the Month – Archive

Managing People Tip 3


Who to delegate a task to

Find out about yourself

The Management Potato

Encouraging ideas


Something for your office wall

The unbroken chain

Are you a successful manager?

Monkey rules

What are managers really for?

Person in hole

Getting your hands dirty

Weekly meeting

Some awkward questions

The three Value Disciplines

Captain of the ship

it's time to put The Management Potato into print! Apologies if we did this on a course recently, but even if you know about it then it can be a refresher - and you can also forward it to your boss. And I've added a little cartoon for you too. So, to the potato: Imagine a person's performance as a potato, which is mostly OK, with an area of excellence and an area of not-so-good performance. We are all like this aren't we? Which bit will our boss focus in on? The bad bit usually. The result of this is that the area of excellence withers away since it doesn't get recognised, and the bad bit becomes a dreaded part of work. Usually when we make a mistake we know what happened, we know how we will get it right next time, we're already kicking ourselves, and we don't need someone else to come and kick us as well! So if we avoid the problem areas because we only get stick for them, and we give up on the excellent bits, the potato gradually shrinks until in becomes the prune of performance. I can remember jobs I've had where I was gradually reduced from a potato to a prune. What a waste! So, what should we do about the potato? Well clearly we must notice and show we've noticed the good bits, so that they are encouraged to grow and grow. And for the bad bits we must say Mistakes happen (unless you don't do anything at all, ever!)and the main thing is Do you know what to do to prevent it happening again?If they do, then say Great, because I know you can do it. If they say No I don't know what to do when this happens then you'll have to go into coaching mode and help them to learn how to get good at it finishing with I know you can do it They will want to have another go, in order to prove to themselves and to you that they can do it Their potato will grow into The Pumpkin of Performance What percentage of your maximum potential are you currently working at? Are you a pumpkin or prune? We do this with children automatically - we encourage them to keep trying until they get the hang of it (walking, riding a bike, drawing, learning the piano etc). It would be unthinkable to say "You're crap, you always will be, you might as well give up now" yet this is what we do when we criticise a person who has made a mistake. So - build up the excellent bits and support on the weaker bits. You can do it! 

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