The action – reflection cycle

29 Nov

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action” – Peter Drucker

Talking to yourself and answering is called thinking. Talking to yourself and thinking aliens are answering is  called schizophrenia.  The former is terrific, the latter is very bad news.

You cannot not manage others if you cannot manage yourself.  You cannot manage yourself if you do not understand yourself.  You cannot understand yourself, if you do not critically assess your performance.  Everything in your life starts with you.  Never stop working on who you are and you will have a great life and so will others around you.  Consider Mary Poppins magic:  Treat others with respect – everyone – always.

Over the years of working in organizations, I have compiled a list of managerial practices that employees find disrespectful and incompetent.  Consider using this list as a private self-test.  Answering yes to any one of these suggests that you need to do some thoughtful reflection about your management style.

–       sarcasm (Latin root – “tearing flesh”)

–       not listening, ignoring, breaking into conversations

–       sniping (talking about someone when you should be talking to them)

–       punishing or writing policies for “all” for one person’s misbehavior.

–       breaking confidence

–       asking for input when the decision has been made or on trivial decisions

–       not explaining why

–       writing a policy to solve a problem

–       coming to meetings late

–       multi-tasking or side-talking during a meeting

–       email offenses too many to enumerate

Evidence shows that the immediate manager has the greatest impact on employee attitudes and performance. Consistently showing respect for your people is a sure winner for managers. Always remember as manager it is far more important that your people respect you than like you.  For more on this go to  Then click on “click on” and go to page.11.

One Response to “The action – reflection cycle”

  1. Lynn Manternach December 3, 2009 at 4:45 am #

    Great post John – so true. The irony is that in many organizations the middle managers who are promoted are those who violate many of the self-test rules you mention above. If only everyone would pay more attention to the Mary Poppins rule…

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