Saturday, February 11, 2006

How to Lead - a quick tutorial by Jack Welch

This is worth the time it takes to read the article.
Here, he casts me in the role of underperforming lugnut: "'Your stories are too long, you ramble too much.' I'd edit you and I'd slice a little bit here and there, and I'd give it back to you. And I'd say, 'Look, I'm not going to spend two hours every day because you can't write well enough. So the next time, get it right!' And if I did that two or three times [without improvement], I'd call you in and I'd say, 'Look I'm sick of talking to you.' And you'd know it too. And that's the way it has to be."

He maintains that a real manager has to be comfortable having such conversation, but too many aren't because of a misguided sensitivity to their underlings' feelings. "That's the cruelest form of management," he continues. "You carry these people along. They get to be 50 years old. You have a recession. You say let's cut costs 10%, and you walk down the hall, 'Holman, you're going home.' 'Why me?' 'Because you weren't very good, Holman.' And Holman's reaction is: 'I've been here 25 years. Why didn't you tell me?'"
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