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The Disappointment Frontier

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the concept of "leadership is disappointing people at a rate they can absorb" and how managers can effectively manage disappointment within their teams. It explores strategies for reducing the "disappointment frontier" - the gap between team desires and reality - through transparent communication, managing expectations, and collaborating on things outside the manager's control.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Managing Disappointment

1. What are some key reasons the "disappointment frontier" can grow in size?

  • Acting as a buffer or protector for the team, shielding them from reality
  • Projecting an illusion of control over uncontrollable things to build trust
  • Implementing a team culture that is disconnected from the overall company culture
  • Overpromising on what can be delivered to the team

2. How can managers shrink the "disappointment frontier"?

  • Overcommunicate everything, providing full context to the team
  • Be transparent about what is and isn't within the manager's control
  • Own decisions the manager is responsible for, rather than hiding behind "the company decided"
  • Collaborate with the team on things outside the manager's control, rather than being a barrier

3. What questions should managers reflect on to assess and manage their team's disappointment frontier?

  • What are the biggest recurring sources of disappointment for the team?
  • How big is the current disappointment frontier, and what is the manager shielding the team from or overpromising?
  • How can the manager shrink the frontier through better communication and expectation management?
  • How can the manager be more of a collaborator on things outside their control?
  • Is the manager hiding their decision-making role to avoid being "the bad guy"?
  • What is the disappointment frontier between the manager and their own manager, and how can they discuss it?

[02] Disappointment as a Core Leadership Skill

1. Why is managing disappointment considered a core leadership skill, despite often being overlooked in management training?

  • Disappointment happens frequently as a manager, more often than the positive aspects of leadership
  • Managers have to constantly navigate zero-sum situations with limited resources, strategic decisions, customer needs, and market forces
  • This requires identifying, mitigating, and managing disappointment on a regular basis

2. How does the article suggest managers should approach disappointment, rather than trying to create a "perfect utopia" for their team?

  • The manager's job is to help the team successfully navigate reality, not shield them from it
  • Transparent communication, clear delineation of control, and collaborative problem-solving are key to managing the disappointment frontier
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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