One Kind Thing

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I make time on my calendar?
  • How do I pick what to take off my calendar?
  • Can I delegate things on my calendar?

This cast shares a simple technique for managers to be kind to their directs.

Many of our casts address specific problems that managers face. It's easy to forget that management is an inherently human endeavor. And when it comes to our humanity, all the technology in our modern world doesn't take the place of respect, dignity, giving and forgiving.

Despite so much modern focus on technology, and speed, and time, all us humans are still breathing at about the same rate we were 10,000 years ago, our hearts are still beating at about the same rate.

Human kindness does have a place in effective management. Here's how.

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Mike: The Kindness 'cast isn't showing

Mike: The Kindness 'cast isn't showing up in iTunes this morning (at least not mine). I tried all the tricks from last week, too (alt and ctrl-clicking).

It's not showing up in my iTunes

It's not showing up in my iTunes either.



Thanks everyone ... you should now be

Thanks everyone ... you should now be getting it in iTunes. Sorry for the troubles.


Just in time for the morning commute!

Just in time for the morning commute! Thanks, Mike!

Great cast! You're put the spotlight on

Great cast! You're put the spotlight on something that you've mentioned in passing in other casts: that love, respect and caring are key reasons WHY great managers do what they do. Besides - it just feels good to do. And in today's workplace, that counts for something!

The best part of this 'cast is the

The best part of this 'cast is the indirect nature of the advice. The continued reminder that we're doing this for the TEAM. Oh, by the way, it benefits us as managers, too, but that's not the point. The point is to develop a strong and healthy team.

This morning on Charles Green's blog (Trust Matters), he said something apt that I'll paraphrase:
- The best outcomes are by-products

Mark and Mike, Thank you for the

Mark and Mike,

Thank you for the outstanding podcasts.

It's a priviledge to receive the shows you've put together.


Another great cast guys. The

Another great cast guys. The description and intro made me a bit worried that this cast wasn't going to be a "tool" but you came though in the end. It's nice that you've talked about something that I see in all your casts, but is never overtly expressed.

And I've got a kindness idea to share:

A couple times a year I take my team to a Friday afternoon movie - it gets us out of the office, gives us a fun shared experience -- and, let's face it, everyone loves the movies.

Last week I brought up the idea up of going to see the new Indiana Jones movie this Friday - but most of the team had already made plans to go see it with their partners.

So, your cast got me thinking that in place of us all going out for an afternoon, I'm going to give each member of my team movie vouchers so they and their partners can go to the movies.

It's a gift that keeps on giving - when they inevitably talk about it with their friends/family, no doubt they'll mention that work picked up the tab!

Mike: Just a follow up -- its now

Mike: Just a follow up -- its now showing up in my iTunes. I'll be listening on my way to work in the morning. Thanks for the quick fix.

Mark, Mike: I can see my manager

Mark, Mike:

I can see my manager saying in response to this cast: "Sounds great! But not in my backyard". When I am a manager, I'll make this happen.


Nick, why wait? There's nothing


why wait? There's nothing that stops you doing nice things for the team you work in or the teams you work with. And... when you're a manager, you'll be in practice.


Listened to the podcast on my way back

Listened to the podcast on my way back to the office today. Delivered my first 'one-kind-thing' to a direct who I sometimes have difficulty with due to his passion for the job and the way in which he expresses his frustration with decisions he disagrees with. I have given feedback on this behaviour in the past, but today I thanked him for his contribution, efforts and the value he adds. I think he appreciated it, I know it made me feel better and was a great end to a busy day. The more I use and apply the MT principles the more I come to the conclusion that it is all about people, relationships and the team.

Mike, While podcast gets downloaded in

While podcast gets downloaded in Itunes, it doesn't get added up to the smart play list as the Album name is not filled in. I had change all the 160 podcast to another smart play list group to Artist group and it showed up along with other podcasts.

May be you can do something from next time so that the grouping remains the same.

Marriott Liberty is a great hotel ( stayed couple of times in transit to the west coast) and the kitchen staff and waiters go out of the way to help you. (More so when you are a strict vegetarian!!). Have a good time with the conference.
Hope to attend one some day!!!???.
Thanks and keep up the great work.

I couldn't agree more! Observations

I couldn't agree more! Observations from my own experience, regarding saying something nice on performance because negative buzz carries further:

1. "Recognition is a renewable resource"
2. "Few take the time to say nice things, but everyone sends a complaint"

I actually wrote into our project management docs (at a large, well-known textbook publisher) that at the end of a project the manager should "Publicly congratulate all stakeholders and also send a written message (e.g. email, typed memo) to the manager of all high-performing contributors."

What I've found is that it doesn't diminish my recognition to say to my own management, "Well, that went well because Jane actually put in a top effort." It doesn't diminish our recognition as a team to thank a skip-level for facilitating the environment we succeeded in. It doesn't diminish Jane's recognition to also give some to Jim.

And for high-performers, in and out of the company, I make a point of telling their functional managers about a job well done. It's surprising how often a manager says, "Wow, thanks. I knew Jim was great but you know, hardly anybody takes the time to compliment anything."

Anyway, great cast. Thanks as always.

And to pick up one of your questions,

And to pick up one of your questions, the difference between 'thanks' and 'thank you' is noticable on this side of the pond.

Interestingly 'hey, thank you' feels the same as 'thanks' because the more formal expression is softened by the informal prefix 'hey'.

I did like the short pause for emphasis.


I agree with you however I have found

I agree with you however I have found in two of my workplaces, it was deemed as a weakness. Fluff stuff that didn't matter to the team members or peers. I still continue to do this and to find a receptive environment.

This week on the Cranky Middle Manager

This week on the Cranky Middle Manager podcast (one that interviewed MT a while ago) there is a discussion on Big Ideas to Big Results. An specific example reviewed at the end of the showed brought up several MT points. One is delegation and how that really generates success the other is in giving the praise of success to your directs to which you have delegated. In the example a manager was asked to speak on how he turned around his department at a big meeting, but instead he sent two of his directs, because they did it. Maybe that isn't a simple kind gesture, but it would have been easy for the manager to take the praise and then "distribute it" to his directs. But instead he sent them to get praise directly from the top managers. - episode #144 if you are interested.

Great cast. Contragulations for

Great cast.
Contragulations for having the guts to talk about this subject.
Not easy, and you just did it perfect.

I love the people in my teams. I always say to other people how much I am proud of them ... But I still find it difficult to tell THEM.

I also liked the words from Mark saying that managers are here to put energy into the system. That is what he is doing. We all felt it at the Conference in Amsterdam : energy and love. Technic and methods are nothing without that.

One example of a "kind thing":

I read a lot. When I find a really good book, I like to offer it to my friends (so easy with Amazon, now). I also did it with my team.
I was a little bit afraid in the begining that they would find this "strange", or that they feel I wanted to "buy them". But ... Well this book was so good. I wanted to share it!
I only got very positive feedback from that ... One person read the book and gave it to another one, and so on ... And they talked about it during a dinner we had together later.
It was not a "professional book" it was a story from "Ana Gavalda". It is a story about ... Well ... Love!


PS : by the way, the name of the book

PS : by the way, the name of the book is "Ensemble c'est tout" and the English version is titled "Hunting and Gathering" (I have not read the English version).

It's great when you get thanked by your

It's great when you get thanked by your boss, but its even more impressive when your bosses boss thanks you. This doesn't happen by accident, I ask my directs to let me know when a member of their team has a great moment and I then do a drive by or catch them when they're making a coffee and say thanks, great job! This has a fantastic effect. I also let my boss know that I could do with a thankyou for one of my directs etc...

One other thankyou suggestion is to ask a team member to take their partner out for a meal on the company and to claim it on expenses. This is a thankyou to the partner for putting up with their partner's long hours and inconvenience. It allows the employee to say that 'work' is paying for this. This is almost a double thankyou - to the employee directly and facilitating the employee thanking their partner. It works on so many angles, but do make sure that you let the team member know the limit (£100, £75, £50 etc.) so that they don't book the Ritz or a simple pie and chips at a pub. or worse still have to ask how much.



Great podcast! Yet another reminder

Great podcast! Yet another reminder that is all about people folks - and people respond positively to positive things.

Some example of things I have done recently:

1. Mark talked about gift cards. Being an IT organization, my guys love CDW because we get a corporate discount. Recently I had my two guys in Mexico work two straight weeks without a day off - meaning through the weekends - to get some large wiring projects done. I told them both to pick something out at CDW up to $100 each and it would arrive at their door. They were really excited and I felt so good to reward these guys. They have a far different life in Mexico than we have in this country and I was really happy to send them something that they most likely would not have bought themselves.

2. Someone previously mentioned books. I posted about how moved I was by "The Last Lecture", so I went out and bought extra copies. I handed a couple of them out in O3 meetings to directs I thought would equally enjoy the book.

3. Public acknowledgement in meetings. You have to be careful here - some people absolutely hate this. But for those that really like it, I love to do this for them when they have really stepped up and contributed.

4. Days off (off the books). This is easy - I do it often because time is the one thing people know is scarce. This is likely the kind thing that gets the most response back and is highly appreciated by most.

Excellent podcast again. Nice to see

Excellent podcast again. Nice to see focus on people rather than functional issues - we're a large (traditional, old fashioned) Insurance company, and in the IT area. We have a budget for thank you cheques, but they always seem a little bland (and almost too easy to give if you know what I mean - not much thought required), so others' suggestions are welcomed.

May I make some suggestions for future podcasts?

1) Working with Indian staff. I'm not picking on Indians in any way - more on us as a Western capitalist society, being used to working in a certain way. We don't know how to work effectively with them. I can't believe I am alone in this one, although we have run some workshops facilitated by Indians (which was just as hard for them as for us).

2) Upward feedback - as managers, we all need it, and you talk a lot about feedback downwards. How about reminding ourselves that we need feedback from our directs, and some helpful hints on tools to use.

3) How to manage in a Matrix Managed environment. Very difficult one to crack (and I've never seen it work particularly well for both sets of managers at the same time).



Colin- Thanks for the kind words.


Thanks for the kind words. Glad you're getting value from our work.

We do plan a series of international casts.

We NEVER recommend upward feedback. DON'T do it is our guidance. Sorry.

We hate matrices and are unlikely to do much there...but we may put out a cast saying so. ;-) it just won't be terribly actionable.


Thanks for the reply. I'd be

Thanks for the reply.

I'd be interested to know about the upward feedback. There must be ways of getting those honest conversations (which is what it's all about) happening. I want to develop as a manager. I value the thoughts and opinions of those who work for me. I'm not clear why I wouldn't want that - or is it that you have never seen a tool that allows that to happen?

I hate matrix management as well. The fact remains that it's a very widely used organisational construct and it needs dealing with.

Haynesc- Nope. Sorry. too


Nope. Sorry. too dangerous for us to recommend it. It's a waste of your time anyway - it's the wrong focus. Focus DOWN, not up. The vast majority of bosses don't see it as honest communication - they see it as you not focusing on your work.

Now, if you want feedback from your directs, there's a cast about THAT. And if your boss hears it (of her own accord and without you feeding it to her)...well, lucky you! :-)


And matrix management? I know you

And matrix management? I know you don't like it or recommend it, and nor do I. All the more reason to do a podcast on it then? We all come across it in our management lives and need to know how to make a bad thing work as best it can.....


Hello, My name is Rachel. I have

My name is Rachel. I have recently stumbled across your podcasts and have downloaded approximately 60 of them! I have started with the most recent - One kind thing and am working my way back. I wanted to tell you how much I am truly enjoying your discussions and how much I am learning already. I work for a large hotel and am moving into the role of Acting Manager within the Training Department of Human Resources whilst the current manager goes on Maternity leave. I have been a Trainer for many years, but this will be my first foray into Managing staff. I have been a little nervous and at the same time, have been trying to work out how I can add my own personality or 'touch' to the role. Your podcast - One Kind Thing has really inspired me. I have already diarised (Outlook) as per your suggestion. Thank you so much for these podcasts and please keep them coming. Rachel Moore

Rachel, Congrats on taking on a new


Congrats on taking on a new role as acting manager!

Consider going back to the beginning and listening to the basics casts first, then fill in the rest in any order. Those early casts are really foundational to the whole M-T approach.


Rachel- Welcome to managing and


Welcome to managing and Manager Tools. Glad you're here.

And, John's right: please start with the Basics Casts.

One on Ones are where it all started.


Rachel - you've come to the right

Rachel - you've come to the right place!

Over the weekend, my local paper published results of a "why you've changed jobs" survey:

1 - layoff
2 - new challenges or opportunities
3 - ineffective leadership
4 - poor relationship with management
5 - improved work/life balance
6 - contributions not valued
7 - better comp/benefits

Note that most of them highlight the need for us as managers to get better at what we're doing. In these podcasts, Mark and Mike have put together a fantastic set of tools to address all these reasons for changing jobs.

Mark and Mike - loved the Chicago conference and thanks for helping us to make our small corner of the world a little better!

Have fun,

Dear Mark and Mike Only just got

Dear Mark and Mike

Only just got round to listening to this, but what a great cast. It takes me back to the discussion we had at the Amsterdam conference. I can't agree with you more - in fact I would probably say the idea of doing one kind thing a week is (to quote Mike) a little weak; for me it needs to frame everything you do with your team every day.

You stress the need for managers not to treat it as a transaction. I totally agree but want to say that it does over the long term pay back. It is not the reason I do it, but I have seen over the past year or so that it brings enormous positive benefits to the whole team's performance and their view on me. My organisation does an annual staff engagement survey and my team came out this year as having probably one of the highest engagement levels, willingness to go that extra mile to get the job done and (thanks to MT) gave me a great big thumbs-up as a manager (although my feedback still sucks).

Thank you for everything you do - we love it.

Martin- Thanks for the kind words,


Thanks for the kind words, as always, sir. I do agree that kindness will redound to you. I was only hoping to forestall those managers who saw it as simply a career development strategy, rather than as a spiritual strategy.



Hi - thank you for the welcomes :) I

Hi - thank you for the welcomes :) I will take the advice and start with the basic casts first. Mike (mtietel) - relating to the information you found in your local paper - I heard this recently
"People join organisations, but they leave Managers".

Can't recall where I heard it or read it, but it is definately food for thought. :)

Hi Guys - I really enjoyed this cast.

Hi Guys - I really enjoyed this cast. As you say the key ingredient in the "hardest" of performance is the "soft" stuff of interpersonal relations. I have a small team of experts and really need top performance from all. It is only this kind of insight that can help me get it. I have already programmed 1 kind thing per week into my organizer and gotten started. Thanks!

Calangst- "Be nice" is always a good


"Be nice" is always a good rule - stick with it and things will get better.


house insurance companys... heatedly

house insurance companys...

heatedly ambivalently replicate rented ...

Great cast. I would like to offer two

Great cast. I would like to offer two things to the community.

1) A book that I really enjoyed and helped me think of different ways of saying Thank You is The Thank You Book by Robyn F. Spizman. It is available through

2) Here is one more kind thing that may spark some other ideas: Drop off printouts for those in your work area. It is really small, but can be done frequently. Our office has a central printer that everyone prints to. It adds a cover sheet with each persons' username. When I get up to grab my printouts, if I notice that someone near me has also printed something but not stopped by to pick it up, I grab it (cover sheet means I don't have to pry into their business), and drop it off at their desk. It is on my way so it doesn't cost me much. It means they don't have to interrupt their work to walk to the printer which saves them quite a bit. Sometimes in Dilbert-ville, this can be one of the rare face-to-face conversations I have in the day.

This doesn't mean I'm the mailman dropping off everyone's papers. It is usually one other person's stuff. Occasionally two people. I've never done more than that. I'm afraid that if I do start a conversation with the first person, then the second or other person may have already headed to the printer before I get a chance to drop off their material. Now what started as kindness has created more work for the other person as they now attempt to track down their missing printout.

It has also helped me create relationships with others working different projects in the building. BTW, I'm one of those people who struggle with creating relationships, but find it easier to maintain relationships. Mark, Thank You for explaining the difference.


Dear Mark and Mike, I am your

Dear Mark and Mike,

I am your loyalty listener from China. I want tell you that your podcast is really great. And I can always find usefull informtion from your podcast. Thanks.

In Chinese culture, we are not well trained on showing thanks/love to other . After this podcast, I found there could be many way to show my thanks to my team as manager. I will try to do it once a week as what you said.

By the way, as you mentioned there is a "one kind thing" list some where. could you tell me how I can find it?

Thanks again.

Heidi- Thank you for your kind


Thank you for your kind words. We are very pleased that you are getting value from our work.

We believe that all managers, regardless of location, country, background, share a common purpose that benefits from treating others with respect and dignity.

I will find the list for you ...