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5/30/2014
10:25 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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Pizza & Leadership: 4 Lessons

If you want to be a good leader, treat your team members in a way that makes them want to buy you a pizza. Allow us to explain.

If you're reading this during lunch, you might find it useful for two reasons: You might get free pizza out of it, and you could learn to improve your leadership skills.

A Stanford research team recently examined social media sites, particularly the Reddit community Random Acts of Pizza, to determine successful strategies for inspiring altruistic behavior in online communities. What does this research have to do with leadership? Leaders in every line of work need to inspire altruistic behavior at times in order to inspire their teams.

According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with a higher level of employee enthusiasm report 22% higher productivity than their less-involved counterparts. Such companies also can be more innovative, more collaborative, and more successful than those that have low employee-morale scores.

[IT admins aren't happy with their jobs. Read IT Pros Stressed Out, Looking To Jump Ship.]

Think of it like this: You might have the power to order your team to burn the midnight oil to finish a project, but you know that the project will be more successful if your team is happily participating. Where does the pizza fit in? It doesn't hurt to order some for your team the next time you work late, but it's more than that.

The Random Acts of Pizza community on Reddit is devoted to giving pizza to people in need. People who are struggling, financially or otherwise, tell the community why they need help and hope that a kind community member will send them pizza based on their pitch. The pizza requesters on the site range from students seeking a midnight snack to the long-term unemployed fighting to make ends meet.

The Stanford team examined the posts from various perspectives, including politeness, length of post, wording, gratitude, and time of post, to see which communication strategies worked best. What they found out serves as a primer for more than how to nab free pizza. It's a guide for IT leaders who want to boost morale by appealing to their workers' sense of altruism.

Try incorporating these four lessons next time you need your team to go the extra mile:

1. Show evidence of need.
Successful pizza requests usually explain the need in detail (lost jobs, hungry kids, unexpected bills), according to the Stanford study. The longer the request, the more likely it was to be fulfilled. It also helped to add pictures, especially if they were of hungry kids or of cars needing to be fixed.

This shouldn't be surprising, and yet it's easy for leaders to hide behind seemingly arbitrary concepts, such as deadlines, rather than explain

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
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5/30/2014 | 10:58:56 AM
Nice comparison, but ...
I like the way you translate the findings of the study into those a project manager or other leader applies. Just as long as you don't forget one important principle: when projects run late, it should be the boss (or the company) that buys the pizza.

Yes, I know I'm missing the point of your essay. I just wanted to get that on the record.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
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5/30/2014 | 12:17:56 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
My quibble is with "Be One Of The Gang." Yes, leaders must build a rapport with their people. They musn't lead from on-high. But leaders must make tough, sometimes unpopular decisions, so the "be one of the gang" metaphor goes only so far. They need to command respect and project authority.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2014 | 12:30:59 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
Agreed, RobPreston. The higher up in the organization that leader is, the more she/he has to evaluate tough decisions from a holistic organizational perspective rather than based upon their direct workgroup. Sometimes what appears best for my people in the short run ends up hurting the organization (and then my people as it trickles down) over the long run.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 5:13:12 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@jagibbons- There is no reason, in my mind, that this is an either/or proposition. If you make a tough decision that puts one group at risk or forces them to do something they don't like, then it is real leadership to go in and help them dust themselves off.

A real leader shares what they can about the decision using the same concepts I listed to build engagement and a sense of altruism from the team, but still makes the tought choices. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 5:09:00 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@Rob- I think we agree. I tried to stress the notion of being relatable without necessary always relating. Think of it like a politician. Every politican has moments where they wear the power suit and talk policy, but they also make sure they have a photo op where they are in work clothes chopping wood on a ranch or having a beer in a local tavern.

You project your authority, but when it is time to ask for something (like a vote or for staying late) it is time to put on the "I'm one of you" face. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 6:59:03 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@Dave: you mean like how every politician likes to tell the story of how they were raised in a log cabin? Because they think it will make them more relatable to the general public?

:)
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 6:49:01 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@Rob: I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. Maybe "be one of the gang" isn't exactly the right way to phrase it--it's more about being your authentic self and above all else being human. Those leaders who truly inspire others to do their best are, in my experience, the ones who are able to show their true, authentic selves in the workplace, and strive to treat their employees with compassion and respect. In my experience, those who do that have it come back to them in spades, even in times when they have to make the tough decisions that will make some team members unhappy.

Taking this line of thinking further, even those leaders who are considered "difficult" (Steve Jobs) show their authentic selves for better or worse.

Where I have seen leaders run into toruble is when they behave the way they think managers are "supposed" to behave, or according to what's in some kind of Management 101 handbook.

To thine own self be true...

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 5:06:15 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@David- Agreed. I actually think companies should always buy the pizza. 

But I heard a very interesting counter argument recently. At the GDC, there was a presentation about mental disorders and the IT profession. Accoridng to the talk, 1 in 4 Americans suffers from disorders including anxiety and depression. The number is definitely 1 in 3 and some estimates have it as much as 1 in 2 in IT. The presenters argument is that the Silicon Valley style of offering free food, in-office gyms, dry cleaning, etc creates the sense that you are never allowed to leave because you don't need to. 

His argument waqs that if you don't offer the food, the gym, and the other perks and instead offer vouchers to local gyms or to buy lunch out, it encourages them to leave which is healthier.

So, while I support the company ordering the pizza, I think they should not have it delivered. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 6:42:08 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@DavidC: Ha! and don't forget the beer...

Dave Wagner has hit on a new golden rule of management, IMHO: Treat eveveryone as if you want them to buy you a pizza.

I've definitely had bosses in past jobs who operated under a different philosophy: Treat everyone as if you want them to buy you a straitjacket.

;)

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 7:01:27 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
Dave Wagner has hit on a new golden rule of management, IMHO: Treat eveveryone as if you want them to buy you a pizza. 


Thanks! Maybe I should sell it as a t-shirt. :)
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/30/2014 | 7:21:03 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@ David

I think who is paying for the pizza is very relevent... ;)
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 7:10:12 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...

in my books it would be do not accept any favors you could not repay back legaly :)... simple....
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/31/2014 | 10:09:04 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@ batye

Yeah I don't think doing illegal favors in the work place is ever a good idea. ;)
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 12:42:22 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
yes, you are right...
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2014 | 12:06:48 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"Yeah I don't think doing illegal favors in the work place is ever a good idea. ;)"

staceyE, most of the time peoples wont want illegal things; they need an inclination when there is a tie up
cafzali
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cafzali,
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5/30/2014 | 1:11:42 PM
"thank you"
One of the interesting things I've noticed -- especially in contrasting the experience at large organizations versus small -- is how much more common it is in larger organizations to get a "thank you" occasionally in the course of your work and how much that does for morale.

Sure, people prize salary/rate, benefits if they're getting them and other tangible things chiefly because those help keep a roof over your head. But once you're there, one of the things that can keep you going the most costs the company nothing -- it's a simple "thank you" and comes primarily from picking people for management-level positions that aren't only successful in handling the tactical aspects of their job, but are also people you actually like working for.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 5:15:30 PM
Re: "thank you"
@cafzali- I think you really hit the nail on the head. Gratitude is free. And it goes really far. The fact that managers don't get this is really sad to me. Thank you should be at the center of every culture because no matter what else your culture is, it fits in. 

I personally think we get so caught up in how busy we are we often forget to be polite.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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5/30/2014 | 5:25:52 PM
Re: "thank you"
I've worked for two bosses who never said "thank you." It was difficult to work in that environment all the time. Needless to say, it's much easier to be productive when you know someone occasionally notices your efforts. Not looking for a parade, but a "well done" or "thanks" once in a while goes a long way.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 6:57:07 PM
Re: "thank you"
@alison- Personally, I'd like the parade. :)

No seriously, I agree with you. There's nothing worse than a boss that treats you like you don't matter. Go through the motions, at least. So out of curiosity, what means more to you-- the actual words "thank you" or some other sign of gratitide? Personally, I prefer "job well done" or specific compliments. But maybe I have too much of an ego.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
6/2/2014 | 9:25:15 AM
Re: "thank you"
If I've gone above and beyond, I really appreciate a "thanks." It can be as casual as an IM or email. It doesn't have to be any big deal. Being in publishing for so long, I've only rarely had cash bonuses -- although those are always welcome! So heartfelt thanks from a manager does go a long way.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 8:22:08 PM
Re: "thank you"
@Alison: yes, if a suitcase full of cash is not an option, a heartfelt Thank You is always my second choice.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 7:17:35 PM
Re: "thank you"
@Alison: Hear hear! I don't really get why so many organizations are such "thankless" cultures. I worked at one privately held organization many years ago where the attitude among senior managers was just as Dave said in his post: Your salary is thanks enough, be grateful for it. Only at this company, the added insult to the injury was: And, oh, by the way, we're instituting 10% blanket pay cuts for everyone (except the c-suite) effective next payday. The very next day, the company's CFO had a brand new Audi delivered to the office parking lot on a flatbed truck and we later learned the comapny was paying the lease for that vehicle as his reward for being such a good cost cutter.

True story.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 7:49:21 PM
Re: "thank you"
@snunyc- Crazy. The craziest part is that I suspect that the company thought people should have been MORE grateful they got a paycut and not a pink slip rather than 10% less grateful.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2014 | 12:29:50 PM
Re: "thank you"
such stories can have negative consequences because it demolarize people.  I think many bosses lost their humanity.  Fortunately, my last boss was very polite with me every time I did a good job she said thank you.  Sometimes, saying thank you or congratulating a person for a good job is very meaningful.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 8:33:40 PM
Re: "thank you"
@Pedro: Good for you, you are lucky. Now, I am too. I've long since left that organization and walked away with important lessons about human behavior that I would have rather not had but I am probably better off for knowing them. 

What also troubles me is how some employers seem to feel that they can take advantage of difficult economic times - when the job market is weak - to treat their employees poorly, knowing they have few options to walk away. These same employers will tend to treat people well only when there are too many jobs and too few people to fill them.

This to me, is the most egregious behavior of all. Because it has nothing to do with inherent humanity and everything to do with the bottom line. 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 2:00:01 AM
Re: "thank you"
it sad reality of new corporate env... but we are living in new age... everything is in the rush... to get to dead line... and forget humanity...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 6:55:35 PM
Re: "thank you"
@cafzall: I like the idea of a "Thank You Culture" that should be a standard in every organization.

It's interesting to me what you say about "picking people for management-level positions that aren't only successful in handling the tactical aspects of their job, but are also people you actually like working for."

one of the things I've struggled with as a woman and as a manager is the incliniation to want to be "liked" in the workplace. i certainly want to be one of those managers that people like working for, though it has taken me some practice to realize that does not mean that everyone who works for me has to like me all the time.

I don't know if this is a particular challenge for me personally, for female managers in general, or if everyone learning to manage teams has work to overcome this tendency...

Thoughts?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 6:59:56 PM
Re: "thank you"
@snunyc- I suspect that isn't only a woman thing. I have an intense need to be liked, and I struggle when I have to make the unpopular call. I do it, but I hate it. 

But I do think it is a "nice person" thing and I think society has long given men more permission to be jerks. 

But walking the line between friend and manager is always going to be a very real issue for any real person. 
cafzali
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cafzali,
User Rank: Moderator
6/2/2014 | 9:51:06 PM
Re: "thank you"
@snunyc It's been my experience that this is a more common struggle for female managers. I think the most common reason this is the case is because there are fewer women managers, period. In other words, when something's not really unique, there's no associated pressure to be a good representation of a new trend; you can just take on the style that you believe works for you and your organization and that's that.

One of the things I've observed is that you can have a male manager that can be a nightmare to work for, but he's not likely to get labeled as much as a famele manager who people may not like. When a male is like that, it's just sort of taken as a given that a certain percentage are that way. But when women are like that, it's seen as a problem they need to remedy.

The other basic reason this is a struggle is we in America tack on all these extra things to workers and managers besides their performance. If you got rid of most of it and just looked at whether a person or manager was good at their job and if they could get along with the necessary people, then life would be much simpler. And, in reality, those are the things that should really matter.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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5/30/2014 | 4:08:08 PM
Pizza and leadership: the unmentioned rule
I think it was PayPal that told me that it doesn't want any development teams larger than those which can be fed by two pizzas. I kept waiting for that rule of thumb to come up in the discussion of pizza and leadership. Effective teams are committed, enthusatic and enjoy short lines of communications -- because they are small.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 5:17:25 PM
Re: Pizza and leadership: the unmentioned rule
@Charlie- Wow, that's really interesting. I've known some developers who can really pack away the pizza though. That might mean teams of one. :)

Seriously though, I really like the strategy because it implies at the heart of it that a team is going to need to meet over pizza and long hours at some point and they need to know how to keep that team together. 
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2014 | 6:02:26 PM
Re: Pizza and leadership: the unmentioned rule
@Charlie, I've heard the same "two pizza" rule of thumb applies at Amazon.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 7:03:42 PM
Re: Pizza and leadership: the unmentioned rule
@Charlie: And, apparently, they enjoy short lines for a slice of pizza...

That is fascinating, and sensible. I'm having trouble imagining how that can possibly scale -- which shows the limits of my imagination, not the limits of the concept.

The idea here is basically that the organization is made up of "cells" of no more than, say, 8 people (assuming 8 slices per pie, two slices per person)? Surely at some point they must have to meet on a larger scale...

 

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2014 | 7:16:51 PM
Re: Pizza and leadership: the unmentioned rule
The idea here is basically that the organization is made up of "cells" of no more than, say, 8 people (assuming 8 slices per pie, two slices per person)? Surely at some point they must have to meet on a larger scale...

I noticed Charlie said development teams and not just teams. I suspect they have bigger teams in other depasrtments. It seems reasonable to imagine that in development teams where agility is needed and where work can be divided.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2014 | 11:45:43 AM
Looking forward to lunch
I have worked for some thankless bosses and some who were sure to say thank you. The thankless crowd were an odd breed. They would occasionally order pizza for the whole office or barbecue as a way to say thanks. Any other times during the year were brutal. Hard work was seldom rewarded. It was a tough place to be all day.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 1:57:52 AM
Re: Looking forward to lunch
I do not know... but most of the time I look at this problem... I'm here to work and get my paycheck... and nothing else matter... if I get thanks or not... I'm here to work and do my best...
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 2:29:24 PM
Re: Looking forward to lunch
They would occasionally order pizza for the whole office or barbecue as a way to say thanks.


Out of curiosity, Michelle, does that work just as well as saying thank you? My general impression (and my experience reading Dilbert) says that "trinkets" don't repalce actual gratitutde. But it seems like company pass out the t-shirts, food and "perks" like candy (they even pass out candy), but that the words thank you are much more rarely used.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/1/2014 | 10:55:14 AM
Be one of the gang
Dave, 

I would put being one of the gang in the first place and all the other three will come along easier. When the leader of the team camouflages with the gang it's easier for the team to go the extra mile to complete a deadline that was due three weeks ago.  

Showing the way with the example, being positive, motivational and inspiring. Adding some incentives whenever there is an extra task to complete always helps.

-Susan 

P.S. FYI, before reading your article I had to go and get myself a pizza to be my Sunday reading snack, because this week seems to have been pizza week with business or cybersecurity toppings and I couldn't resist any longer. :D 

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 2:33:38 PM
Re: Be one of the gang
@susan- I'm glad I helped the pizza industry. :)

I didn't put "Be One of the Gang" first, because I felt like a manager's ability to do that all the time depends on what level they are at. I do agree with Rob who posted earlier that the higher up you go, there needs to be a persona associated with being a leader. That said, there's still a way to relate that works at every level. I just didn't want people to think all I was really suggesting was that if you pretend you are not the boss it is enough.

But you are right, I think, that if you never forget your team is made up of people you are going to be successful with the rest.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2014 | 3:40:50 AM
Re: Be one of the gang
Dave, 

Another thing that proves to be sucessful is to never forget you were not born being a boos. Most likely you climbed the career ladder passing through all the steps your employees are at today. 

Remember that keeps you being one of the gang at the same time that you have the tools to lead your gang. Otherwise, you weren't the boss. :D

Plus, you can be an inspiration and role model for your employees, and maybe one day one of them becomes a boss and remembers you as their example and inpiration.

In other words, you can be a good influence creating future good bosses. 

Having a good memory, then, will also buy you a lot of pizza. :) 

-Susan 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 4:41:18 PM
Re: Be one of the gang
Another thing that proves to be sucessful is to never forget you were not born being a boos. Most likely you climbed the career ladder passing through all the steps your employees are at today. 

@Susan- True! I think I'd also add rember that you weren't born to be the boss either. It isn't like the divine right of kings. You can be replaced by people who are better at it than you.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/10/2014 | 11:46:38 PM
Re: Be one of the gang
Dave, 

Indeed. And all that makes up Leadership 101: In Search for The Friday's Pizza. :D 

-Susan
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 3:51:38 AM
Re: Be one of the gang
Susan, we had lost last two Friday Pizzas.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
6/1/2014 | 1:14:39 PM
Show evidence of need
That should not apply only to the work that needs to be done, but also, or even more especially to needing everyone on the team. Every team member ideally sees her or his contribution as needed. It is not enough to listen to experts on the team and the decide constantly against what they say. I am on a team like that where I try hard to make valuable contributions to quality just to have all ta shot down in favor of cramming more features in. While I'd still buy my boss and the product owner a pizza, it is that they are nice people, but not because of their business decisions.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 1:56:02 AM
Re: Show evidence of need
interesting observation... but it all depends on many factors in play... including office politics...
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 2:44:06 PM
Re: Show evidence of need
Every team member ideally sees her or his contribution as needed.


@moarsauce123- How is that accomplished? Are we supposed to assume it? Is management supposed to help us realize it? I'm willing to say maybe we're all whiny brats and should just assume we are all needed or we'd be fired. But that seems like a tough life (though maybe i'm a whiny brat).
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 8:27:40 PM
Re: Show evidence of need
@moarsauce123: entirely relate to the frustration you're experiencing. In some organiations, it seems, only a select few are "allowed" to have ideas, and the rest are considered as simply meant to do the work that the "idea people" tell them to do. This is an unfortuante reality in many organizations. In fact, a good friend of mine just quit her dev job of 8 years for this very reason, after a while it becomes too much of a fight.

I recommend buying your bosses pizza and then calling a meeting in which you get to tell them all your ideas while their mouths are full of pizza, so they can't interrupt or shoot down your ideas.

;)
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 4:43:20 AM
Productivity
"According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with a higher level of employee enthusiasm report 22% higher productivity than their less-involved counterparts. Such companies also can be more innovative, more collaborative, and more successful than those that have low employee-morale scores."

David, No doubt about that.  if employees are happy, they may became more enthusiastic and hence output will be more. So it's essential for employer to make them happy.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
6/2/2014 | 9:34:12 AM
Re: Productivity
That's a stat which makes sense. If you feel good about your position, feel appreciated and liked by your manager and colleagues, then you want to go to work and make a difference. If you don't feel that way, then perhaps you are less inclined to make any extra effort. It's just human nature!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 2:48:06 PM
Re: Productivity
@Gigi3- I would agree with you. I think even most managers would agree with you in the abstract. It is one of those self-evident points of management that managers always get wrong in real life. I wonder where we get the disconnect? And how do we fix it?
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 1:33:56 AM
Re: Productivity
"I would agree with you. I think even most managers would agree with you in the abstract. It is one of those self-evident points of management that managers always get wrong in real life. I wonder where we get the disconnect? And how do we fix it?"

David, they are disconnecting where there is a communication gap or when they fail to understand certain emotions. The best way is get socialized and always be as a good listener for them.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 7:44:32 AM
Free Pizza
Now some of the "free lunch" invitations I've been getting recently are starting to make sense.  There is a local company offering to send a pizza to my office so I can eat while watching a webinar, I guess this is to make sure I'm ready to soak in all the information they are about to present.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 2:51:10 PM
Re: Free Pizza
@SaneIT- Wow, that's a really smart idea. People are less grumpy when fed. Pizza is the perfect food. People listen better when they have something in their hands. This is brilliant.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/2/2014 | 4:12:40 PM
Re: Free Pizza
It really is smart. Innovative and it would make people smile, for a low cost.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 8:23:48 PM
Re: Free Pizza
@Lorna, @SaneIT: This is genius marketing and with the availability in certain cities of services such as SpoonRocket, pretty soon we won't be limited to just pizza. Although, of course, pizza is a can't-miss favorite, second only to coffee IMHO.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2014 | 7:07:13 AM
Re: Free Pizza
I haven't taken them up on the offer yet because they haven't had a seminar that I was interested in but the first one that comes up that sounds interesting to me I'm going to give it a try.  It does make me wonder how many people are out there doing this though since there seems to be some solid experiences with food and meetings.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 1:31:39 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"Now some of the "free lunch" invitations I've been getting recently are starting to make sense.  There is a local company offering to send a pizza to my office so I can eat while watching a webinar, I guess this is to make sure I'm ready to soak in all the information they are about to present."

saneIT, it can be the other way too. I mean, attracting more audience for the webinar by offering snacks and Pizzas
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 7:15:01 AM
Re: Free Pizza
@Gigi3, that is true.  I get invitations from established vendors with "limited" seating for lunch seminars then I have them calling and more or less begging me to come out the week before the seminar, probably because they need to fill seats to justify the expense.  Sometimes the meeting gives me the feeling that I should have just stayed in the office because I could have read through a set of technical documents faster but in others people engage and it moves away from being a dry sales pitch.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 3:59:46 PM
Re: Free Pizza
@SaneIT- I think you are hitting on the difference between a gift and a bribe. A gift is something you give to someone for doing something that you know they'd have done anyway. it is designed to show appreciation. A bribe is when you give somethign to someone to do something you know they wouldn't do otherwise.

When it comes to online content or sale pitches or any of those sorts of things, the difference has to do with the event and not the gift. It is so hard to tell until it is too late. I think the degree of desperation in the sales pitch is the only way.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/5/2014 | 7:36:04 AM
Re: Free Pizza
That may be true, I can't say that I would put it past a desperate sales person to bribe a customer.  I've had lunches at some very nice restaurants where a presenter droned on an no one paid any attention but then I've been to others where I felt like I didn't have time to eat because I was too busy asking questions and was caught up in the presentation.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2014 | 3:21:58 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"I get invitations from established vendors with "limited" seating for lunch seminars then I have them calling and more or less begging me to come out the week before the seminar, probably because they need to fill seats to justify the expense.  Sometimes the meeting gives me the feeling that I should have just stayed in the office because I could have read through a set of technical documents faster but in others people engage and it moves away from being a dry sales pitch."

SaneIT, there are two reasons for such invitation and begging. First is they have to fill the seat with certain level of peoples and secondly there after they may be behind you for the business.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2014 | 7:31:27 AM
Re: Free Pizza
I don't doubt that they want my business, why invite me if they weren't trying to sell me something?  I tend not to take advantage of these offers though.  If I know there is no way I'm buying what they are selling or I'm not interested at all I don't go and eat on their tab.  I know some companies that have policies about accepting anything from a potential vendor so sometimes it surprises me that these offers are coming through so frequently. 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 3:46:27 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"I don't doubt that they want my business, why invite me if they weren't trying to sell me something?  I tend not to take advantage of these offers though.  "

saneIT, how peoples can resist their offer? For business they will do all sorts of canvassing, offer commissions, gifts etc.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 7:25:01 AM
Re: Free Pizza
Well in some instances people are not allowed to accept gifts and this includes meals.  I've worked for companies where I had to report any gift that a vendor gave me including meals when we met to talk business.  Sometimes a free lunch isn't worth the hassle of explaining why you went out to eat.  Other times the sales pitch can be so bad that nothing they can feed me during that hour would make up for the content.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 1:31:27 AM
Re: Free Pizza
SaneIT, 

Not all the lunch invitations are gifts. Many other companies --obviously not those you mentioned where they wanted everything nicely reported-- have used lunch and breakfast as a way to save time as we all have to eat at some point and also to take the opportunity to have a business meeting in a more relaxed atmosphere, where you can also use food or the service as an ince-breaker. 

Even langauge companies use the setting of a business lunch in training their business students what to expect and how to interact during a business lunch meeting. They even have the lesson in a real restaurant and all. :) 

I worked for a while in places like Mexico where breakfast meetings are very common in business. Some companies don't consider these breakfasts or lunches as a gift but as an essential part of getting closer to the client and is not seen with any second intention, as it seems was the case with the companies you referred to, or maybe I am wrong? :/ 

-Susan
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 8:41:49 AM
Re: Free Pizza
I guess the "gift" status depends on who you are talking to and how your company defines gifts.  I've worked for companies where I couldn't accept pens from an office supply company or meals during training courses.  It made for some odd situations leaving from a training/demo when they started serving food. 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:43:51 PM
Re: Free Pizza
same expr. I have with the Co. I work for... Do not accept any gift... but sales reps did bring coffee....
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/15/2014 | 9:13:36 PM
Re: Free Pizza
I think morale is a big motivator. A high morale is a a big motivating factor and a low morale is a downward, negative spiral that is bad for each individual and the overall company. I think low morale reflects in job performance and willingness to not be as much of a team player. Sometimes a little bit of gratitude and a slice of pizza can go a long way.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/15/2014 | 9:17:17 PM
Re: Free Pizza
@Dave, Re: " Leaders in every line of work need to inspire altruistic behavior at times in order to inspire their teams.". I agree with that statement. I also think the notion behind this statement holds true for most relationships. What you put out, you get in return. Your mere attitude and altruistic efforts can inspire others to respond to you in a similar fashion and inspire them to pay it forward to others.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 3:14:16 PM
Re: Free Pizza
@Angelfuego I think the slico of pizza as a motivator can do wonders once in a while but it cannot be termed as a long time remedy. I agree that for a company motivated personnal are always wanted than un motivated lot. But I also believe that to keep them motivated we need to think of across the board solutions and not one time motivator.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 7:12:02 PM
Re: Free Pizza
everything and anything could become good motivator... even printed paper on the wall... - saying employee of the day... as human nature.... of vanity :)
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2014 | 10:47:39 AM
Re: Free Pizza
@Batye I agree with your actions to keep employees motivated but I think these rewards are just icing on the cake, emplyees need complete cake first to be true which includes basic necessaties of life fullfilled. I believe that these rewards will defintely work for a person free of worries rather than those trying to make both ends meet.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2014 | 11:08:48 AM
Re: Free Pizza
thank you, human nature is an interesting... as to each his own reward... so to say...
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 12:42:55 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"Well in some instances people are not allowed to accept gifts and this includes meals.  I've worked for companies where I had to report any gift that a vendor gave me including meals when we met to talk business.  "

SaneIT, if there some retractions then you have to follow it. Otherwise such offers are tempting.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2014 | 10:51:33 AM
Re: Free Pizza
@Gigi I agree with you. These s called official lunches do have some inside buiness as well. I worked for a firm where it was routine to take any delegation comming for visit to be taken to best hotel around with some party time as well. Much of the time the remedy works is we got the deals. So I think its a good stunt to have buisness.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 3:29:40 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"These s called official lunches do have some inside buiness as well. I worked for a firm where it was routine to take any delegation comming for visit to be taken to best hotel around with some party time as well. Much of the time the remedy works is we got the deals. So I think its a good stunt to have buisness."

Nomii, without that intention why they have to offer free lunch/dinner for us?
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 11:22:58 AM
Re: Free Pizza
@Gigi good question indeed. Why.

I think we are living in materialistic world where own benifits have precedence over others.

I am not advocating this but this is what is happening sadly.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
7/10/2014 | 12:50:37 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"good question indeed. Why. I think we are living in materialistic world where own benifits have precedence over others. I am not advocating this but this is what is happening sadly."

Nomii, you are right. we can say it's a part of survival.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 12:09:21 AM
Re: Free Pizza
could not agree more good point
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2014 | 12:04:42 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"could not agree more good point"

Batye, you are agreeing to this point or Not.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2014 | 12:18:03 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"could not agree more good point" - I agree fully and there is nothing more that
Rich Krajewski
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Rich Krajewski,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2014 | 5:29:02 AM
Re: Free Pizza
I agree almost as much as batye does.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2014 | 12:33:05 AM
Re: Free Pizza
" I agree fully and there is nothing more that"

Batye, thanks for the clarification.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2014 | 12:55:35 AM
Re: Free Pizza
No problem, :)
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 12:10:08 AM
Re: Free Pizza
interesting to know, and I think you are right...
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/15/2014 | 9:19:49 PM
Re: Free Pizza
@SaneIt, It kind of reminds me of how pharmaceutical reps bring lunches to serve the medical staff at doctor's offices.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 12:47:03 AM
Re: Free Pizza
"It kind of reminds me of how pharmaceutical reps bring lunches to serve the medical staff at doctor's offices."

Angel, Pharmaceutical companies are famous for offering such gifts to doctors and their staffs. I think doctors are the one gets maximum gifts and perks from other peoples than salary.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 9:00:46 AM
Re: Free Pizza
@Angelfuego,

Yes it is similar.  I used to have a cell phone vendor who would pick up lunch and bring it to me every couple of months so that he could have an hour of my time to show me new products.  For sales people this can be a great tool especially when they are trying to work with busy customers.

 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2014 | 4:14:07 PM
Re: Pizza & Leadership
Basically, what we can glean from this is really not all that surprising. If you keep looking at social research like this, you'll run up against a common theme pretty often; most human interactions are related. Just like with wolves and their baring of teeth, we're prone to a small set of reactions that we use for a variety of situations. Maybe you wouldn't think that a manager ought to seek altruism from his team members, but the truth is that 'charity' comes from a sense of community. I've read that our desire to help other people is the same desire that drives primate family groups - the idea is that, someone else's family being healthy is almost as important to your children's future as your family being healthy. In that sense, it makes perfect sense that managers ought to try and drum up a healthy environment of charity and community in the workplace!

Funny how you can always draw parallels from two seemingly unrelated things - and sometimes they can even help you see things you couldn't otherwise. Curt (Franklin) wrote on article last year on EnterpriseEfficiency about applying lessons from woodworking to IT, and the results there were just as useful as the ones you have here, Dave. Maybe ultimately, the real lesson is that you ought to try and learn from everything that you do, and be mindful of where else in life you can apply those benefits to maximize your time here on earth. Maybe that's a little melodramatic of a lesson to get out of pizza, but then again, I think we all know that pizza can be a very profound thing.




Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 8:19:17 PM
Re: Pizza & Leadership
@Zerox203: Well said indded: Maybe ultimately, the real lesson is that you ought to try and learn from everything that you do, and be mindful of where else in life you can apply those benefits to maximize your time here on earth.

And, yes, pizza can be a VERY profound thing..

Dave's post, and your comment here, were like lightbulbs going off in my head, and you've made obvious what I hadn't before considered, which is how fundamentally most of us really do want to support one another. 

What I wonder, then, is what happens to leaders in particular, but really to so many in the workplace, where the innate human qualities of altruism and empathy get so far removed from how people behave at work.

Is this evidence of yet another evolutionary trait of establishing dominance over turf, as wolves and the big cats would do, for example? Why doesn't the desire to good in business outweigh the compulision to push others out of the way?
LUFU
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LUFU,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 6:15:38 PM
When the Moon Hits Your Eye
While I enjoy a good pie as much as the other person, what I always found more rewarding and encouraging was a sincere "Thank you" or getting "Credit where credit is due" from either my boss or my co-workers.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/2/2014 | 8:13:11 PM
Re: When the Moon Hits Your Eye
@Lufu: this is even more true for me now that I'm gluten-free. 

I've been thinking alot about what Dave talks about here, though, as far as how many leaders I've worked for that I would sincerely want to buy a pizza for. Fortunately, at the moment I'd buy pizza every week for my leaders, but it hasn't always been like that. 

It also makes me wonder if I've been the kind of leader in my management posititions that would inspire my people to want to buy me pizza...

(don't worry, Dave, Curt & Sara--you don't have to answer that.)
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2014 | 1:05:42 PM
Leadership personality
The management style that is least productive is micromanaging all it does is build distrust. I think all the tips are very beneficial especially being part of the gang and always remembering to say thank you. Sometimes management depends on big events for big impact but really it's the events of every day that shape employee morale.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 8:14:53 PM
Re: Leadership personality
@impactnow: My advice to all the micromanagers out there - and you know who you are, or do you? - is if you don't like the work style of your subordinate, it is best not to delegate the task and just do it yourself.  Or at least provide step-by-step instructions on how you want something done.  And if you don't, then do not expect someone with a different set of skills, knowledge and abilities (read: every other person in the world) to complete a task in the same way you think is best.

Why is it some managers just want to work with clones of themselves?  I mean it's their show and they are entitled to run it how they want, but seriously now...get over yourselves.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 8:59:03 PM
Sugar Coated Reality
Hi David   It is certainly great to see you here Sir.    I am getting familiar with the site, and it great to see a familiar face in the crowd.

I really like this first piece, and I really can relate to the first principle of getting your workers to buy pizza for the boss.

Show evidence of need - it would be so nice to hear the truth ( that layoffs will be the result ) of a unsuccessful project.  Because it (layoffs) will happen whether you "sugar coat reality" or not.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Moderator
6/19/2014 | 12:57:31 PM
Being the same...or not
Being like other people might work on an internet pizza giveaway but it might just backfire at the office. Especially if you suddenly try to become their buddy, understanding their problems that you really don't understand or even just don't have. It can come off as false, so be careful.

I've known managers that even think they are like everyone else they work with, except their whole team knows the manager's lifestyle is vastly different from their own, no kids, no mortage, takes exotic vacations while everyone else is struggling to pay the bills and juggle summer vacation day care and if they are lucky get to go somewhere to meet the folks that's not their hometown. It's simply harder to pull of the 'everyman' aspect when you're not.
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