“Can They Do This Thing?” vs. “How Could They Be Successful In Doing It?”

A key managerial question, often not asked.

Ted Bauer

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Human potential is a tricky thing, and there are a lot of inputs and biases therein. Sadly I don’t think most white-collar managers actually manage towards the maximization of human potential; I think they manage to make sure tasks are done and subsequently, make sure they (the manager) looks good to their boss. There really isn’t much more to it than that, for a lot of people.

For better or worse, managers do have a lot of impact on people’s day-to-day lives, including how they treat their spouse, their parents (if alive), their kids (if in picture), etc. Managers have a huge amount of ownership on your energy throughout a day.

That is tied to concepts like “potential” and “growth” and “capability” and even “flourishing,” but again, I’m not sure most managers approach it that way. Many think in very black-and-white terms around deadlines, deliverables, KPIs, conventional models of workplace success, seat time, and the like. We’ve been trying to change that for about 50 years now, and it really hasn’t changed as much as we’d like to admit. If anything, some of the culture around meetings has potentially gotten worse. Wasn’t Slack…

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.