Why People Shouldn’t Be Managed


i robotI recently heard the term “People Manager” used and it made me think: What exactly does a “People Manager” do? I had to wonder, can one intellectual being effectively manage another? You see, my quarrel with this term is that I’m certain we are all comprised of our own thoughts and our own unique characteristics; neither of which, to my understanding can be managed by another human being. It’s almost like trying to manage the way each individual breathes – demanding all to breathe in sync with others. It’s impossible!

If you’ve ever had an issue with a process at work you’ve probably been told to “take it up with management”. That’s likely because the position of a manager is one in charge of managing processes, not people. When one is positioned to manage, it is with the idea they are to manage the issues at hand, to bring about change to processes that interfere with productivity not the people who execute those processes.

Earlier this year the Washington Post published an article on Zappos’ move to get rid of the traditional management idea and focus on what they describe as a holacracy approach, a concept birthed by management consultant Brian Robertson. In the article the author, Jena McGregor describes the approach as one with

……no managers in the classically defined sense. Instead, there are people known as “lead links” who have the ability to assign employees to roles or remove them from them, but who are not in a position to actually tell people what to do.

The idea takes into consideration that people don’t want to be “managed”. They want to be valued and accepted as part of a team.

Taking the holacracy concept into consideration, getting rid of traditional management will enable businesses to get the most out of workers by forming an inclusive environment. The top-down enforcement of rules and procedures don’t get people to produce great work, it cripples creativity and interferes with innovation.

If you want your team or your organization to succeed, put people into positions of leadership having the understanding they are to prove their ability to influence workers to execute the company vision and mission.

So I ask you, would it be inconceivable if we were to re-think the term “People Management” and instead, focus on managing processes and promoting more leaders?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse Leadership and Management Channel.

You can find it here.

Are you Ready for a Webcam Interview? 3 Reasons Why you Should be!


This post was inspired by @BenefitsMyke

video-interview-manToday I was reminded of how important it is to keep up with the times. It seems as though technology is moving faster than we can process change. One moment we are all using pagers and pay phones, Dewey Decimal Systems, memorizing addresses and phone numbers and the next we are on the World Wide Web tweeting, face-booking, video chatting and linking-in with just about anyone and everyone who will entertain our connections. Through technology, we have extended our reach to end of the earth without having to barely move from our homes. Even the dictionary now defines “friend” as a verb: to add (a person) to one’s list of contacts on a social-networking website (dictionary.com). Nevertheless, I find myself refocusing my attention on how greatly the internet and social media has impacted hiring. If you want to enhance your career and increase your advantage, I suggest you become more familiar and to some degree, skilled in webcam and video interviews.

Here’s why:

1. The World is Round. There’s more to the workforce than your city, county or even your state. Branching out to other states and working overseas is always a great way to boost your career; however employers want tech-savvy workers. You will need to become skilled in video conferencing and interviewing to remain competitive. Having variety of work experience and travel makes you well-rounded and your experience and exposure to a variety of diversified groups gives you an advantage. If you don’t understand the logistics and etiquette of video interviewing or conferencing, there’s a chance your career highlights and experience will get lost in its delivery. Don’t take that risk.

2. Money Money Money. It costs little these days to hop online and have a chat with someone. Lowering expenses is a priority for any business; however employers still want to hire good people. The best way to interview someone with great potential is to do it via Skype or Webcam without having to incur the cost of a plane ticket. Naturally, if they really like you after your great Web-Interview they will surely fly you in. The key….get the Webcam and rehearse.

3. Convenience. Many employers are now asking for short video resumes from applicants to make a decision on interviewing rather than sifting through mounds of paperwork trying to locate emails and re-print what they lost or mistakenly deleted. It’s easier to remember a name once you pair it with a face and it also gives you an opportunity to display more of your personality, which is a limitation with paper resumes.

Now you know why it’s important, so here is how you do it.

1. Eliminate distractions. Try to record or interview in a quiet place, free of distracting noises or inappropriate backgrounds (take down that poster and put away those clothes!).

2. Smile & look directly into the camera. Always make extra effort to smile during a web-interview or recording. I call this the “likability factor”. Many hiring decisions are based on likability, whether hiring managers want to admit it or not. You can have everything wonderfully presented on your resume, but without making that personal connection you’ve lost an opportunity. Try not to take your eyes off the camera. You don’t want to appear uninterested or worse, insecure.

3. Remain direct and confident. If you are doing a video-resume focus on your accomplishments and directly state why you would be a good fit and include key accomplishments about the organization as well. Re-play, re-record and ask for an opinion before you submit. During an interview, behave just as you would in a normal setting but also remain aware and cautious of your facial expressions and posture. There is a record/re-play button here. Don’t forget that.

4. Arrive early. For web-cam/Skype interviews, arrive at least 10 minutes early. Check your internet connection and get ready to click the button as soon as you can. You don’t want it to appear you are not tech-savvy enough to operate a computer.

5. Practice makes perfect! Record yourself, over and over again to see how many times you say “um” “because” “well”….etc. Send it to a trusted source and ask for feedback. You can’t predict the future but you can prepare yourself for some hiccups on your special day. Don’t panic – have a back-up plan. All you can do is ensure the connection is good on your end. If it fails, immediately call in to see when you can re-schedule or if appropriate, do a telephone interview instead. If they don’t have a video resume of you, send one.

I implore you not to overlook this area. The internet is just another way our lines of communication have evolved. Failing to learn better ways to communicate is detrimental to your career.

If you find you’ve become routine within your career, it’s time to move on.

Good Leaders Have the Guts to Make Hard Decisions


“Trust instinct to the end, even though you can give no reason.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

FEAR is the reason most people don’t act using their gut instincts. They wrestle internally with themselves because they are afraid of what others may think. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of embarrassment. Afraid of success. Ultimately, success is what you are sacrificing when you do not act on your instinct to make tough decisions. You see, we all have a uniqueness about ourselves. Our uniqueness allows us to differentiate ourselves from others, giving us an advantage in every situation.

“When you’re living by instinct, then you will naturally enhance everything and everyone around you. In other words, success will come naturally! When both your intellect and instincts are aligned, then producing the fruits of your labors brings satisfaction beyond measure.” ― T.D. Jakes, Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn DrivePUSH THE BUTTON

If you are driven by a genuine desire for growth you must make decisions based on the greater good. You cannot be influenced by other people who try to project their fears onto you.

Now don’t misunderstand me here. I do believe making serious decisions requires one to strategically lay out the pros and cons; however, good leaders are not afraid to push the button and they are not afraid to take the blame if it all goes wrong. Because a good leader appreciates the process either way. There is no failure. There is winning and then there is learning. Which circumstance will you face today?

Conquering the Handshake: The Peanut Butter and Jelly of it all.


Mastering the handshake is a crucial element to connecting with others. Some never get the hang of it, and those who do end up making great connections; nailing it every time. So let’s get down to the peanut butter and jelly of it all.

Did you know when you shake hands with someone, you awaken three out of your five senses? This is a big deal! Think about it. You touch, see and hear during this activity. Of course, the touch is the actual handshake; the physical contact you have with someone else. Sight is what you do while shaking hands – your facial expression and eye contact. And then there’s hearing; the words coming out of your mouth during this millisecond of an event.

Make no mistake about it, conquering these three senses take practice and discipline. But once you get it….you’ll get it! Here are some things you need to know about these senses:

Touch. It begins with the offer. Extending your reach while remaining inviting and interested is the key. I’ve experienced many handshakes over the years, but here are the ones I find having more impact than others.

1. water handsThe sweaty palm. This gives the impression you are a nervous wreck. Not to mention, it’s….well, disgusting. Being nervous is natural, but if you can’t help it and your hands get sweaty, take precaution before going into a situation. Focus on the good possibilities, not the negative. Try going to the restroom before entering the meeting, wash your hands and keep a spare napkin in your pocket or purse. If you are going on an interview, arrive early and bring a newspaper. This is a great way to take your mind off the meeting and also sneak a wipe at a moments notice. If you are wearing pants, try having your right hand in your pocket to wipe just before the handshake. No one will know the difference.

Fingertip Handshake2. Light-no grip. This can either mean you are unsure of yourself, not interested or germ phobic.  Either way, it questions your character. I’ve had some barely touching handshakes that drive me wild! The one’s where people use only two or three fingers, seriously? I find this rather offensive. It gives the impression you are not interested in connecting. Now who wants to be on the receiving end of that? Stop it.bone crusher

3. Bone crusher. This screams, please someone help me! A forceful shake can go either way. You can end up close to arm-wrestling or actually hurting someone. Neither of these are good. If your muscles are bulging and veins popping when you are handshaking, it’s too rough. Some view a harsh handshake as overcompensation for some sort of insecurity or attempting to intimidate. Is that the message you want to send?

firm shake4. Firm. I believe a firm handshake is great for every situation. It shows you are confident. Not too much and not too little. It also says a lot about your character. Firm shakes let the receiver know you are serious about your personal brand, you are present in the moment and you are interested in making the connection. Even when the receiver’s handshake is light, sweaty or bone-cracking, the firm handshake creates the balance.

Sight. Eye contact is how you make an emotional connection. It’s how you capture someone’s attention from the very start. Not doing so is hard to overcome. When you look someone in the eyes you are showing them they have your full attention, even if it’s for half of a second. It matters. They matter. Looking anywhere else but directly in their eyes is an insult. You hold the power here. You can either direct their attention to you or send them elsewhere, wondering what you are thinking.Don’t leave room for guessing. Be direct.

Hearing. If it’s your first time meeting someone and you haven’t been introduced, say your name first, then ask them theirs. Follow up with a polite comment such as  “Nice to meet you.” or “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”. These are great starts when meeting new people. When engaging with someone you already know, try using words like  “How are you?” (remember to actually wait for a response) and “nice to see you again”. These words are respectful and courteous.  Polite words give reassurance. If your handshake or eye contact are lacking, what you say will re-focus their attention back to you.woman reaching handshake

In sum, never approach handshaking as a formality. People can sense that. Look your contact directly in the eyes, smile and say something pleasant. Yes, you need to do this at the same time, every time.

What Does Your Body Language Say About You? Helpful Tips on Effective Communication


the office meetingDoes your mouth say the same thing as your body? The gestures we make during conversation often tell a very different story than the words coming out of our mouth. Even when we don’t use our words, our bodies still display some form of emotion.

For instance, have you ever had a conversation with someone who says yes while nodding their head no? Their mouths are saying one thing, but everything else about them is screaming the opposite. In conversation, we may even find ourselves making facial expressions similar to those we are talking to without even realizing it.

When interacting with people, it’s always important to be aware of your facial expressions. Although there is no exact science to body language many employers can still pick up on slouching, eye contact, folded arms and head tilts to determine how engaged or disengaged employees or candidates are during meetings or interviews.

Be aware. Of course we can’t walk around staring at ourselves in mirrors all day (even though some people do); we can definitely try to control our facial expressions by remembering our bodies naturally exude what we are thinking. When we feel pain, happiness or anger, our faces show it. In a professional setting, thinking positively will likely allow you to give off a positive facial expression without even trying.

Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s important not to jump to conclusions when you see a facial expression you believe to be related to nervousness, boredom or lying. Some expressions are often misunderstood and subject to negative reaction from others. I’ve been told I’m guilty of this. When I’m deep into thought, my face is so serious, I can look extremely unapproachable. Now while I know I’m not upset or unhappy about something in particular, others would have no way of knowing without asking. Body language is relative to perception and perceptions are open for interpretation depending on our own life experiences and moods.

Ask questions to clarify. If you are in conversation with someone and you are unsure or uncomfortable because their gestures are confusing, just ask. If workers seem disengaged, get their attention by asking them to elaborate more or share their thoughts. Who doesn’t like talking about themselves and giving their opinions anyway, right? There is no better way to resolve a misunderstanding than to be direct. You’ll avoid conflict and continue moving forward with ease.

The way we communicate with people will directly affect the way they will communicate with us. Someone may be in a terrible mood and you, being able to bring a positive vibe to the conversation; having the ability to look past the negative, could change the atmosphere for the better. Change begins with you! Things don’t always have to end how they begin.

The War on Talent…Management


“None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Ken Blanchard

tug of warThe greatest cost in business is talent and should therefore be the greatest focus of a business in terms of investing time and money to secure it’s stability. Without properly managing talent, the risk is greater in damaging your business sustainability.

So what seems to be the core of the issue with talent? Is it a lack of qualified staff, unengaged workers or employee mismatch causing the worry for business leaders and CEO’s? Could it be that employees simply don’t trust their employers anymore? See my blog on Trust in the Workplace

My experience leads me to believe the center of the issue is managerial decision-making and their interaction with talent.

A recent Gallup study found that companies fail to choose the candidate [manager] with the right talent for the job 82% of the time. According to the article written in the Gallup Business Journal by Randall Beck and Jim Harter, “Most companies promote workers into managerial positions because they seemingly deserve it, rather than have the talent for it.”

Properly training your management to understand talent demands and meet them is key when making hiring or promotion decisions. Those in management have the greatest impact on employee engagement and retention. When requirements and job duties/tasks change, it’s management who monitors and relays criteria to employees, seeing to it the work gets done. Without management developing effective communication and healthy relationships with workers, ultimately they become disengaged and fail to produce quality work; a direct connection to the employee and manager interaction.

Talent plays a significant part in reaching organizational goals.

Failing to consider your talent when making adjustments, implementing changes and growing your business is a costly mistake.

Key ways to get management to understand the importance of talent:

  • Include talent management in the conversation when making business decisions
  • Encourage them to be creative in engaging employees
  • Make managing talent a natural topic on the meeting agenda.

Considering talent is a huge chunk of expense, I think it deserves a little more attention, don’t you?

There are a plethora of opinions on the dilemma of talent management, but whatever you believe the problem is, the solution is clear – finding and keeping good workers requires authentic interaction, positive emotion and a genuine desire to invest in your people. The greatest direct relationship to display these characteristics is that between a manager and the employee.

Don’t just hire or promote a knowledgeable worker because of their experience. Find out how well they can manage others, resolve conflict, engage workers and make good talent decisions. This may take time and it requires investment, but it is a necessary sacrifice to secure future growth for your organization.

Invest in training your management before giving them the responsibility to manage others.

Don’t assume having decades of experience working in an industry will automatically generate good management skills. If you don’t have the time or qualified training staff, hire a leadership coach. Because having a coach is mutually beneficial decision, many organizations tend to split the cost with the employee. This way, prospective managers will receive the right tools and techniques necessary to effectively manage others without interfering with daily work activity.

Lead by example.

If your organizational culture welcomes, prioritizes and invests in talent demands, you can expect your management will too.


Why Power Does not Equal Leadership


In the famous words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.”Superman

We all have power on some level or another. How we use that power is very different depending on circumstance and motive. Our use of power varies depending on our understanding of it and our decision to either use it for the good of others or use it to benefit ourselves.

I’ve found it’s often assumed that someone with power is automatically considered to be a person of leadership. Now I agree there may be instances where the two characteristics meet, but both shouldn’t be assumed if only one of these exists.

For example, are all celebrities leaders? Or are they arguably talented and/or unique individuals simply more visible to the public eye? Should we mix these descriptions by placing leadership expectations on such a group of people? Even when they do not possess leadership characteristics? Hmmm, that’s something to think about.

Power vs. Leadership

What is Power?

By definition, power is the ability to do or act; one having the capability of doing or accomplishing something by way of force and strength. Now this is not to be mistaken with having a leadership skill. For instance, there is no doubt the President has authority and power to start a war. Now whether he has the leadership skill to execute a war successfully is something that must be proved.

What is Leadership?

Unlike power, leadership is defined as guiding or directing a group with authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness, sway or clout.

Not everyone with power is skilled enough to get others to willingly act on their behalf. Having power and authority isn’t everything. People may work for you because they fear your wrath, but be sure to know they absolutely will not give you their best work under those conditions. You see, the only way workers produce at their very best level is when the goal to achieve becomes their personal desire, not the desire of someone else.

According to Forbes online contributor Kevin Kruse, “Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power”. I totally agree!

While a manager or boss may use their power to push one into a direction by way of force, leaders use their influence to guide others towards the direction they personally desire to go.

Sure, you can use power to do many things, but getting people to believe in a vision influencing them to deliver great work, create new things and produce innovative ideas is not done through power. These awesome acts are done through leadership.

MDD-160Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 3


Honesty requires courage.The road less traveled

Have the courage to say No. Have the courage to face the Truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. ~ W. Clement Stone

No one is void of error. So you would think it would be more acceptable when we make mistakes right? I bet you can turn on the television this very second and find one political party bashing the other for what they consider to be a mistake in judgment or policy. Imagine how difficult it is for someone being publicly condemned for making a mistake to come out, admit the mistake and be truthful about their fault. It takes a heck of a lot of courage to do such a thing, yet there are those who stand up and face the fury anyway.

An honest person does not allow circumstance to compromise integrity. Those who remain truthful regardless of the outcome are often viewed as our greatest leaders, recognized as hero’s and admired for their good work.

Take a look at American leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Abraham Lincoln (“Honest Abe”). These leaders adopted honesty as a way of life. While serving, they courageously remained consistent in their beliefs of integrity and righteousness. Even through many tough times, they never backed down or compromised their integrity to please others. There was simply no question about who these men were and what they stood for. Today we hold their legacy’s in high regard, many of us hoping to impact the lives of others just as they have impacted ours. I believe this is still possible; even in the today’s society. (See the Honest Model)

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Honesty requires a bravery only possessed by great leaders. Not everyone is up for the challenge, nor are they equipped with the wisdom, discernment and compassion it takes to deliver such a service.

Like dishonesty, honesty is a risk; however there is clear distinction between the two. While an honest person will take control of a situation; mentally preparing themselves for a reaction, be it good or bad, a dishonest person will leave a reaction to truth up to chance. Instead they choose to be unprepared to face the havoc likely forthcoming when they least expect it. Now I wouldn’t call that a guaranteed success strategy, would you?

Having experience and knowledge doesn’t make a great leader; these qualities make a great worker. A great leader is courageous; consistently displaying good character, morals and a genuine heart. Knowing the difference can make or break your legacy.

“If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” –Abraham Lincoln

Have you read part 1 and part 2? 

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 1

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 2

MDD-160Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 2

kid sneaky

What does honesty really mean?  Here’s the real truth.kid sneaky

Being honest is a learned behavior.

How it begins:

It’s a natural instinct to be untruthful. It starts when we are young, we make a mistake, break something, go against our parents’ rules and then we lie about it. We don’t want to be punished or end up losing our privileges so we learn how to get away with our wrongs by covering them up with lies. Eventually our subconscious mind ties honesty to penalty. In our adult years, we continue to carry on this behavior when we deal with our friends, family, colleagues, employers and customers. We tell people what they want to hear even though we know we should tell the truth. We disguise lies as “keeping the peace” or trying not to hurt someone’s feelings. We tend to conveniently blur the lines between being positive and being dishonest.

The older we get we have more at risk; such as security stability, social status and livelihood. These are the things we fight to protect. The greater the loss, the greater the lie; we begin to convince ourselves one cover up after the next is a justifiable sacrifice to remain comfortable. Eventually lying becomes an excusable behavior; after all we are only protecting that which we consider valuable right? To guard our future, we make this “sacrifice” as a resolve to error, failing to realize dishonesty is actually a hindrance from progression. It is a temporary fix and when carried on it multiplies, eventually interfering with our would-be promising futures.

A lie will eventually catch up with the initiator.

You see, once a liar feels like they are getting away with such behavior, it becomes a game or often second-nature, so much so that they forget about the repercussions and begin to feel comfortable with the risk of being caught. In business, no such risk is a smart decision. Even if a business is flourishing now, built on a foundation of lies it will eventually come crumbling down. Look at companies like Enron, or deceivers like Madoff. The bigger you are, the harder you fall. The more money you make, the greater risk there is. Keep it honest and you’ll never have to look over your shoulder worrying about when you’ll get caught.

Just as we develop a behavior to be dishonest, we can also develop a behavior to be honest.

We can learn to be honest just as we learn anything else, through practice. The key is to challenge ourselves to become more and more honest in our reactions to others and really think about our responses before we open our mouths. Granted, this is much easier said than done, but it is something we can work towards each day. Eventually, it will become a way of life and you’ll find being honest is much more rewarding long term vs. the temporary satisfaction dishonesty provides.

Have you read part 1? 

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 1

MDD-160Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at maryd@honestleadership.org

Why Honesty in Business Equals Success Part 1



Most people work under the assumption that doing business requires one to be “cut throat”, harsh or selfish. When we think of business, we don’t think of nice people doing great things. We think of competition, getting more customers, more profits and more growth; being honest just doesn’t fit into the category. Often honesty is considered a weakness or vulnerability in business. I once heard someone say the key to being a good business man: “never admit to anything”. Now what kind of way is that to do business?

I’ve learned the best way to diffuse a conflict is to apologize for the error; even if it wasn’t your fault directly. It’s simply not possible to remedy a problem if you fail to acknowledge it exists! Apologizing is not admitting you did anything wrong. Apologizing is saying you value your relationship with the customer more than your ego. Believe it or not, most people are actually open to forgiving if you simply acknowledge making a mistake, ask for their forgiveness and try to mend the fault.

Imagine how much time and money we would save if we just apologized for an error? Instead, most business people take it personal; as though a mistake is a personal defeat rather viewing a mistake as an opportunity to turn weaknesses into strengths. Honesty builds trust which creates a loyal relationship between you and your customer. Returning customers and client referrals are what keep a business afloat. In the midst of managing conflict, remember this: You are not just securing a relationship with one person, you are securing a relationship with them and the five other people they will potentially send your way depending on how you handle their problem.

Bottom line – people do business with those they can trust. If you can’t acknowledge your error, then consider the relationship broken. We can’t change the past, but what we can do is commit to being honest about it and move on.

“I don’t want you to be perfect, I want you to be honest.”Mary V. Davids

Mary V. DaviMDD-160ds is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids