Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

Taking a Risk to Do The Right Thing

Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone.  Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking.  ~ Tim McMahon

Early in my career, I was the manager of organization development for a large defense contractor. One year, the General Manager summoned me to his office to enquire about the training menu we would be offering the following year.

“What’s this?” he asked, upon learning we would be offering a program on stress management. “Why are you offering this?”

“We’ve seen three employees taken out of the plant on a stretcher this year alone,” I replied. The stress levels are too high.”

“You will NOT teach stress management,” he bellowed. “Stress is a good thing. It increases productivity. It keeps people on their toes.”

This was a General Manager who ruled with an iron fist. It was widely known that it was his way or the highway. Very few people ever contradicted him in person. It was known as career suicide.

That being said, I knew I couldn’t walk away from this need in the organization. With regard to this subject, I was the expert here, not him, and I had an obligation to my “clients” to provide services they could use to be more effective.

My beliefs about stress were the complete opposite of the General Manager. A certain amount of stress is good – but not knowing how to manage overwhelming stress was not.

I left his office in a quandary. I had an obligation to follow the leader – to be a good and loyal soldier – which conflicted with my values about service.

When I returned to my desk, I pulled my staff together, which included the very wise Eric Klein, who like me has since gone on to become a leadership coach, writer and speaker.

We carefully considered the edict and soon rejected it out of hand. The case for stress management workshops was too strong. One way or another, we would offer these programs.

I was willing to bet my job on the matter.

After some lively brainstorming, we decided to take a guerilla approach – we’d change the name (but not the content) of the course. We began calling it “Wellness at Work.” Same learning objectives, same design, same everything – except it wasn’t called “Stress Management.”

With some anxiety, we published and distributed the menu of upcoming workshops to all 4,000 employees. I waited for “the phone call” from the General Manager, who, I fully believed, would fire me for insubordination.

The phone call never came.

The classes “sold out.”

I never learned whether the General Manager “approved” of the new class offering. I didn’t ask, and he didn’t follow-up. I suspect he thought the matter was closed the minute I left his office.

About a year later, he was fired. His leadership style – that of a classic bully who micromanages and insists that he is always right, led to his downfall.

Am I writing this to pat myself on the back? No. I’m telling my tale to illustrate the idea that leaders at every level have a responsibility to do the right thing, not do things right, as Warren Bennis likes to say.

Sometimes they turn out well, sometimes they don’t. I could easily have been fired for my insubordination. Had that happened, I would have left with my head held high.

A ship in harbor is safe – but that is not what ships are for.  ~ John A. Shedd

What “right things” are you avoiding by “doing things right?”

What is more mortifying than to feel you’ve missed the Plum for want of courage to shake the Tree?  ~ Logan Pearsall Smith

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.