Book Study: Shifting the Monkey
Author: Todd Whitaker
When a group of coworkers is assigned to complete a task...
Effective leaders protect their good people from:
Shifting the Monkey
Monkeys are responsibilities, obligations, and problems everyone deals with. Some monkeys shouldn't be on your shoulder; they shouldn't be your problem. Liars, criers, and slackers shift their monkeys to people who work hard and care about the organization. Effective leaders identify inappropriate monkeys and shift them back where they belong.
Questions to Ask
- Where is the monkey?
- Where should the monkey be?
- How do I shift the monkey to its proper place?
Concepts to Follow
- Treat everyone well.
- Make decisions based on your best people.
- Protect your good people first.
Where is the Monkey? Where Should it Be?
Treat Everyone Well
Make Decisions Based on Your Best People
Protect Your Good People First
What Monkeys Do You Shift?
Rather than sending a message to an anonymous receiver via the blanket memo, deal directly with the problem person. Put the monkey on his/her back and his/her back only.
Rather than issuing rules to the entire group designed to change the behavior of a few, deal with those few individually and directly.
Deal with problems now. Nip them in the bud while they are still manageable and have not rotted an entire organization.
Keep our emotions in check and your decibel level reasonable. Deal with problems logically, not emotionally.
Remember that leaders get to take credit for things that go right, but they also must accept responsibility for problems and failures. Some monkeys do belong to you -- don't shift them to others.
As a leader, always speak truthfully. You may not always be able to give everyone every piece of information, and you may not want to, but don't lie to your people.
Don't engage with people who start arguments. Control your own emotions, and with those who argue with you. Either ignore them or become a broken record, telling them what they need to do and nothing more.