I Hate Millennials

you manage your world

I don’t hate the people classed as Millennials. I love them! I hate the term ‘millennial’.


I’m not a fan of any of the social science effort to group us into generational boxes. Honestly, as a manger, I don’t even like the red-blue-green-yellow school of personality behavior teaching. Over the years I have been shown Karl Jung’s 4 personalities displayed in many different ways; DISC, RYBG, INTJ, whatever….

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The Three C’s for Effective Management

If you have been promoted into a management role for the first time, I believe there are three C’s to master. Competency, credibility, and confidence.

Once you are able to embrace the significance of each of these elements, you will find a better rate of success.



Chances are you were selected for your role because of a perceived level of competence. The age-old standard for selecting and appointing new managers has often relied upon the “best _________” mentality. It goes like this.

  • “Oh, he’s the best accountant.”
  • “She’s the best engineer.”
  • “He’s the highest producer.”

This kind of assessment is rooted in evaluating competency. So, good for you! By being the one selected to lead the team, you likely passed some form of competency review. But there is more.

Once you become the manager of a unit, you can no longer be an individual contributor. You must guide your fellow employees towards a group effort.

Your competency must now be expanded. As an example, you may have known a lot about a very specific function, but as a manager you must oversee workers who deal with various other functions. This creates the need to keep learning.

[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]Never be afraid to learn from the team you are leading.[/shareable]

Show them respect for what they know and they will be open to share.


‘Street cred’ is gold. Building credibility for who you are and what you do is the most valuable of all workplace commodities. People are attracted to those who inspire them. Inspiration starts with credibility.

There was a tag line once that said, “I want to be like Mike”, referring to Michael Jordan when he was at the top of the NBA. There is a workplace “be like Mike” mentality that happens when someone is a go-to authority.

You build credibility with performance and delivery. It does not develop quickly, but it does materialize when you stay focused on growing a positive results based reputation.


This is one of the toughest mindsets for a new manager to master. Face it, you are new. That is the issue. So how can you be confident? Well, it starts with being able to look at yourself in the mirror each morning and repeat “I’ve got this!” Yes, a bit of self-talk to keep your head on straight. When those on your team and around you have doubt, you have to stay mentally and emotionally strong.

I do not mean you need to become hard-headed or belligerent. No. I mean you need to stay true to yourself. Seek encouragement outside of work. Find reinforcement with friends, family and your faith community. Re-energize.

Confidence never lords over anyone. Rather, it nurtures cooperation by becoming a force people upon which people can rely.

Find a solid center of belief in yourself to accomplish the job. Remind yourself often of what it takes and that you know you can do it. Remember you were picked for a reason. Start with that core idea and let it grow.


None of these three C’s are easy. They can be hard. Being able to accomplish the tasks of demonstrating competency, delivering with credibility and acting with confidence will help you mature into a well-respected leader in your work.

To get there, you need a good support network, your own determination, some mentoring, and an opportunity to shine!

Money Matters: How Much is Enough?

From my many years as a community banker, I learned something very interesting about money. Every person has a different view on the age-old question “how much is enough”.

This issue causes a constant state of turmoil for so many people. Finding the right answer for yourself can resolve a large number of conflicts.

As I visited with customer after customer as they came in to handle their banking needs, they would share their financial circumstances and concerns. Let me tell you two stories to demonstrate the extremes.

Courtesy 123rf.com/ tsuneo
Courtesy 123rf.com/ tsuneo

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9 Steps to Becoming a Better Manager

Are you a new manager? Or an experienced manager whose people skills might be slipping? Take this refresher course in effective management strategies.

In most businesses, many managers acquire their titles and supervisory responsibilities in the absence of any formal training—or, for that matter, any natural leadership skills.

Even trained managers may occasionally get so busy with their day-to-day responsibilities that they neglect the basics of handling people. Whether you are a new manager or a veteran, take some time out to brush up on these essential skills.

Courtesy 123rf.com
Courtesy 123rf.com

Read more9 Steps to Becoming a Better Manager

Managers: Are you Thankful?

So today is the holiday known as Thanksgiving in the U.S.

Tradition has families gathering at dinner tables all over the country. The feast is legend. Usually the main course is turkey prepared now in numerous ways; baked, fried, stuffed, and on and on.

The ‘trimmings’, as we call it in the south, can range from sweet potatoes and corn casseroles to exotic fruit salads. Various ethnic groups have their own ways of preparing the feast we call Thanksgiving.


As this year’s edition of Thanksgiving happens, it, for me, is time to pause. Quiet pause leads to reflection. Reflection leads, hopefully, to revelation of things needing to be included in a list of possible changes to come. Here is my list of things:

1. On a very large scale, the recent events in the world emphasize the fact that this world is changing very fast. New forces have risen to strike fear in otherwise peaceful people who only want to live each day. I choose to not honor that fear. My challenge is to awake each day and strive to make the day a little better for someone somewhere.

2. My business can be better by me being sure I show up, in the moment, fully engaged and ready to participate. No distractions, no exceptions.

3. My family can be better if I stay focused on maintaining my faith in God, living my love for my wife, and by showing my committed trust and love for my children, regardless of how old they are.

To be in a place where I have the personal freedom to make these choices is the biggest blessing of all. I love Thanksgiving because it causes a time to pause and reflect.

My prayer for you is that you take your own time to reflect. Give thanks where it is due. Speak the words and show the appreciation.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

How to Know if YOU have the Heart of a Leader

Need a coach

There is a whole body of academic work surrounding studies about management versus leadership.

Need a coachOne of the best explanations I know states simply:

Management is about the process. Leadership is about people. ~Doug Thorpe

Being a good manager means business goals (or personal goals) are getting met. The process is working close to or at its peak potential. You, as a manager, can influence the priorities, push the right buttons, and get things done. Some managers make good, solid careers operating at this level. However, there may not be any meaningful impact in the lives of the employees subjected to a ‘pure manager’ approach.

Managers can certainly be decent handlers of their people; fair, honest, respectful, and so forth. But frankly, some managers are not good with people. While results are being posted, the people on the team are slowly feeling disconnected and uninspired.

Leadership takes the influence with people to a whole higher level. Leadership definitely gets the work done and meets or exceeds goals. While that is happening, people are feeling inspired. Team morale is building. Loyalty is growing.

Understanding how to be both an efficient manager and an effective leader takes some work.

In his book “The Heart of Leadership”, Mark Miller tells a story of a young business man named Blake. Blake is struggling at work with his duties as a team leader. He seeks some counsel from a close family friend. I won’t tell all of the story, but the core value comes down to this simple acrostic.


The initials stand for:

  • Hunger for wisdom –  keep learning new and different things to improve yourself
  • Expect the best –  set a high standard and maintain your expectations for it
  • Accept responsibility – stop the blame game, take your ownership seriously
  • Respond with courage –  be bold with your decisions
  • Think others first –  be willing to be more of a servant rather than a boss

True leadership does in fact have heart. I like the simple way this can be explained. (By the way, Mark’s book is a great read for anyone struggling in this area).

As with Blake in this story, you might need to seek multiple mentors to guide you in each of these areas. Find role models who fully understand these principles. Soak in their experiences. Begin the journey to apply the teachings to your efforts both in the office and at home.

I promise you will be amazed by the shift in those who report to you, for whom you have influence and impact. When all things are said and done, leadership to inspire and guide people will far outperform pure management. Having a heart for leadership wins the day!

New Managers – Begin with the End in Mind

This is one of the wisest teachings I have heard in a long time. Anyone who has been appointed as a new manager should be thinking about this vital aspect of the new role they are playing at work.

Step #2 in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits” is ‘begin with the end in mind’. I was thinking about this the other day and it occurred to me that many things do not end well.

There are the obvious examples like divorces, car crashes, job loss, health issues, and financial change (downward). Then there are the things like our favorite TV shows that came to an end. Shows like Lost, Friends, Fraser, and Boston Legal all had pretty good endings. But some very successful and well admired shows had really bad endings; think fade to black on The Sopranos. How often have you seen a movie or read a book and said “gee, I didn’t like the way it ended”?

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Be a Better Boss | Add Recognition to the Mix

In a recent article featured in the Harvard Business Review, recognition was identified as one of the easiest things you can do to be considered a great boss. According to David Stuart:

“Most leaders receive surprisingly little development before assuming their first supervisory roles. In fact, many get no leadership training at all until they’ve been in the executive ranks for nearly a decade—reaching, on average, age 42.”

Courtesy 123rf.com/ iqoncept
Courtesy 123rf.com/ iqoncept

He goes on, “But whether you’ve had formal training or not, there’s one simple action that can dramatically increase any manager’s success in gaining the support and engagement of subordinates: recognize great work. That means calling out excellent accomplishments by your employees right away—and doing so in consistent and regular increments from the start.”

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Advice to New Managers | Complaints Go Up

First time managers face a big challenge knowing how to channel the complaints they feel about the workplace. In a clip from the epic WWII movie, “Saving Private Ryan”, Tom Hanks as Captain Miller answers a question from one of his men about what to do with complaints.

I could not express this topic any better than the advice given in this clip.

[shareable cite=”Tom Hanks as CPT Miller”]Complaints go UP, always up.[/shareable]

[reminder]What do you do with complaints?[/reminder]

Management and Popularity

Placing yourself on the firing line as a manager is not for the faint of heart. Because of the responsibilities you will shoulder, there will always be someone, somewhere who finds your handling of one of their matters unacceptable.

Recently, in my effort to fine tune the content and offerings I want to publish here, I was doing some survey work inside my contact database. Most responses were very helpful, insightful, thoughtful, etc. These were building good community energy.

Then I opened up one particular survey response.

Courtesy 123rf.com/ Christophe BOISSON
Courtesy 123rf.com/ Christophe BOISSON

Ouch! This person, who refused to admit who he/she was, jumped me pretty hard about my “lack of management skill”. Basically, they called me a hypocrite for thinking I could teach and coach new managers because their personal opinion of me was so ‘poor’.

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