Combat Cronyism. Inspire Loyalty.

“Loyalty’s Very Important to Me.” Back when I was working at Siebel Systems, I knew a VP who would frequently say “Loyalty is very important to me.” He over-emphasized this point, sounding more like a mobster out of a 1960s movie than a manager. Although his words implied that he rewarded people who were loyal to him, his tone made it crystal clear that his intention was to punish ...

The Fear of Conflict: Terminal Paralysis of Great Managers

Calling All Managers! Interviewing at Oracle in 1994 (when it was a tiny 20,000 person company!) for my first managerial role, I remember having to climb my way up through interviews with 4 levels of management. When I finally got to the last interview with the SVP, he only asked me one question, “What’s your most important job as a manager?” Without skipping a beat, I responded with confidence “To ...

Why Your “Door Shouldn’t Always be Open”

“My Door’s Always Open.” A former direct report of mine (let’s call him “Keith”) called me one day to describe a challenge he was having with his manager. Keith is an experienced director-level professional, and his boss (let’s call him “Nigel”) is the VP. ...
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