Checkers Versus Chess

Marcus Buckingham shared this idea in his book, “Just One Thing.” Read it. (Don’t whine, that “read it” is too harsh. Just read it. Trust me, it will make you a better boss, or give you enough info to say, “I don’t want to be a best boss”)   I love this book.  In it, he has one idea about the difference between great managers and poor managers.  They see their employees differently.  Of course, we all know that.  Great managers are great, and poor managers suck.  Duh.

But it’s not that easy.   Deep down, Buckingham knows that the best managers see their employees like chess pieces, and the poor managers see their employees like checkers.    Reread that.   Now let me explain.  Each chess piece is different and each one moves in a different way.  We have rooks, castles, and bishops.  Just as in real life, where every single person is different and unique.   But poor managers see all of their employees the same way.  They try to do the same things with each of them—which as we all know, just doesn’t work.  In fact, it’s what makes the poor managers, well, suck.< o:p>

When I was shared this analogy, it hit me.  The idea is like my last blog post, which talked about knowing your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.  But beyond that, it’s about improving their strengths.  Don’t treat everyone the same, and don’t use the same strategies with each employee.  Each person is different.  Each one offers something different to the team.  Use those strengths in a blend that makes your team a winner.  Go above and beyond and treat each employee as THEY would like to be treated, for we each have our own dreams.

In my book, “My Best Boss Ever,” each employee told me story after story of how their best boss would mentor them to achieve their dream.  They worked with them to overcome a challenge.  The best bosses understand their strengths and weaknesses and works with them to strengthen it.

Can you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employees right now?  If you can’t, you just told yourself something right there. That dreaded moment of indecision you just felt could kill you in an emergency.  Alright, managing people isn’t an emergency, but it is your career.  Do you want to be stellar or the prick everyone deals with?  It is your choice.  I can give you the tools, but you have to make the choices.   Right now, write down a list of each employees’ strengths, lay them out on the table, and start the trail to becoming a chest master.  Make your team great.  Never whine that it’s too hard or too much work.  These people are looking up to you to do this.  So suck it up.  Make it happen.   We will talk more about strengths and weaknesses and how to better meld a team together.

Be a Best Boss.

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