Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘over-helpful management

Ambiguous talk? Or ambiguous intent? And the disaster of over-helpful management

We’re having a crisis of ambiguity in organizations, and it’s costing billions, inserting unnecessary risk, and draining productivity.

Dan Rockwell. Oct. 10, 2018

The cure? Clarity. Clarity creates an environment in which people can perform at their best.

8 practices that produce clarity:

Declare intent. Be clear about what you are trying to communicate. Think about what you want the recipient to learn, decide, or do.

 Know thy audience. Clarity is in the eye of the beholder. Think about who you are talking to and why. What foundational knowledge do they already have? What “state” are they in when you deliver the message?

Timing is everything. Are they busy or distracted? Savvy communicators are particularly strategic, especially about when to have difficult conversations.

Be honest. Show people the respect they deserve by leveling with them.

Choose words wisely. The use of acronyms, esoteric terms, business jargon, and elitist language increases the distance between you and listeners and creates ambiguity.

Ambiguous language erodes trust.

Answer questions. If you’re asked a yes-or-no question, honor the questioner by responding in the simplest way. If a simple answer warrants details or contextual clarification, provide it after you have answered the question.

Watch your tone. Your tone affects the recipient’s ability to receive your message. If you don’t keep your cool, why should anyone else?

Be precise. Avoid fuzzy words (diplomatic sentences) that fail to answer a question. Operating with clarity builds confidence for peak performance.

How might leaders create greater clarity in organizations?

Karen Martin, president of the global consulting firm TKMG, Inc., is a leading authority on business performance and Lean management.

Her latest book, Clarity First, is her most provocative to date. It diagnoses the ubiquitous business management and leadership problems that a lack of clarity produces, and outlines specific actions to dramatically improve organizational and individual performance.


Adonis49 Note: You never Own an idea until you discover the answer and solution by Yourself, within a reflective process. Any other ideas are Not authentic part of your world view.

Maybe you’re working way too hard. A young manager said, “I want to stop doing other people’s jobs for them.”


The young manager had learned during the workshop that being overly helpful isn’t helpful.

When you’re promoted into management, it’s easy to hang on to parts of your old job while adding a bucket of management responsibilities.

Inexperienced managers mistakenly think that doing part of someone’ s job is kindness or compassion. But it’s disaster.

3 dangers of over-helpfulness:

#1. Dependency. New managers fall into the seduction of I’ll-Take-Care-of-That-for-You. Maybe it seems quicker. Maybe it makes you feel important.

Once you do part of someone’s job, guess what happens next time?

#2. Stress. Once you take on other people’s responsibilities, you become a stressed out – over-helpful – manager. Your team goes home on time. You stay late doing their work.

When you began your career, having answers was important and necessary. When you earn a management role, start asking people…

  1. What are you trying to accomplish?
  2. If you could solve this with a magic wand, what would the result be?
  3. What have you tried? (Never enter a problem-solving conversation until you ask, “What have you tried?”)
  4. What do YOU think YOU could do? Be sure to use “you” not “we”. Never say, “we,” unless you are going to get personally involved.

The difference between encouragement and doing part of someone’s job is ownership and responsibility. When you encourage, they still have responsibility. When you solve, you take ownership.

#3. Poor performance: The over-helpful manger is a bottleneck to organizational performance. Everyone waits for Over-Helpful to step in. What If Over-Helpful isn’t available?

The point of management is creating environments where people thrive.

What are some symptoms of over-helpful management?

What does healthy helpfulness look like?




October 2022

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