How to Gossip Your Way to Success

The most frustrating experience in leadership is making poor people-decisions. You had such high hopes.

People-decisions make or break leaders.

You’re fortunate if you get people-decisions right 50% of the time. Jack Welch said he got people-decisions right about 50% of the time when he became a manager at GE.


The better you are at people-decisions, the better leader you are.

You spend too much time making decisions about projects and programs and too little on people.

Three essential people-tasks:

  1. Align with their aspirations.
  2. Leverage their strengths.
  3. Compensate for their weaknesses.

Successful leaders take others higher. But, it’s easy to hinder the success of others by losing sight of who they are.

12 questions for good gossips:

Talk about people with lots of people. Engage in good gossip all the time.

  1. Who is creating energy in your department? Who is draining it?
  2. How does Bob respond to new challenges?
  3. What are Mary’s strengths?
  4. How might Ann’s strengths become destructive?
  5. What questions does Jim ask?
  6. When is Joe at his best?
  7. How does Mark talk about failure? People who hide failures are more likely to fail in the future. Those who are never wrong grow worse over time.
  8. What specifically do you see in Barry that makes you believe he’ll succeed?
  9. How does Linda respond to surprises, disappointment, or success?
  10. When was the last time Cindy asked for help?
  11. How does Henry see his impact on others?
  12. What discourages Laura?

3 warnings for good gossips:

  1. Beware the halo effect. Take a long-term view of people.
  2. Release people from pressure to be like you.
  3. Forgetting the positive and focusing on the negative. Bad is magnetic.

Bring more people into your people-decisions.

How can leaders make good people-decisions?

What factors contribute to poor people-decisions?