Marcus Buckingham Thinks Your Boss Has an Attitude Problem

I’m a fan of The Gallup Organization‘s research and management writing. Marcus Buckingham has a 2001 Fast Company interview on his site.

“There’s a juicy irony here,” says the 35-year-old Cambridge-educated Brit. “You won’t find a CEO who doesn’t talk about a ‘powerful culture’ as a source of competitive advantage. At the same time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a CEO who has much of a clue about the strength of that culture. The corporate world is appallingly bad at capitalizing on the strengths of its people.”

He lists “five attitude adjustments that redefine the essence of leadership in business.” To senior executives, he says:

  1. Measure what really matters… Averages hide the fact that within any company are some of the most-engaged work groups and some of the least-engaged work groups. But this range is what is most revealing.
  2. Stop trying to change people. Start trying to help them become more of who they already are.
  3. You’re not the most important person in the company. (T)he single most important determinant of individual performance is a person’s relationship with his or her immediate manager.
  4. Stop looking to the outside for help. The solutions to your problems exist inside your company.
  5. Don’t assume that everyone wants your job — or that great people want to be promoted out of what they do best.

He provides some good detail and the conclusions are supported with methodical quantitative research.