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New Questions For Managing Monkeys

You end up overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and angry, if you own other people’s monkeys.

Someone walks into your office with an issue – a monkey. Make sure they walk out with their monkey.

Pronouns explain ownership. Don’t use ‘we’ when you mean ‘you’.

3 pronouns:

  1. ‘You’ – The monkey stays in their zoo. They own the issue. Responsibilities are theirs.
  2. ‘We’ – The monkey is shared. “We will fix this.” Responsibilities are shared. Beware of adding unnecessary layers of complexity by sharing too many monkeys with team members.
  3. ‘I’ – The monkey moves to your cage. You own this issue. Responsibilities are yours.

Useful endings:

The end of a coaching conversation is the moment to clarify goals, deadlines, and responsibilities. Who does what, by when?

An office manager taught me how to structure questions around responsibility.

“The way you structure a question determines the response.” Brandie Moroskie

Accountability question:

‘What do you want me to ask you the next time we meet?’

  1. Write their accountability question down.
  2. Modify their question, if necessary. ‘I’ll also ask about … .’
  3. Ask it during your next coaching conversation.

How might managers and leaders manage their monkeys?

How might leaders clarify ownership and responsibility?

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