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the manager

Building an A team from the ground upAdamGregor

Too often, leaders follow the cynical suggestion that they must kiss up to the boss and kick down on their team. But consultant Mike Figliuolo says great leaders do the reverse: They kick up and kiss down.

"The basic premise of kick up, kiss down is a leader's job is to keep higher-ups mindful of how their decisions affect the leader's people and give the higher ups a pointed kick when they have a negative impact on the team. The second part about kissing down reminds the leader to praise and encourage the team whenever the opportunity arises," he writes on his ThoughtLeaders blog.

He tells of the time he was a military platoon leader and a senior officer wanted Mr. Figliuolo's evaluation dropped by one grade, which would have undercut future promotions. But Mr. Figliuolo's commander kicked up, threatening to take the issue to the next-higher level, and won. That commander used to tell his troops: "I'm too long in the tooth to care what they do to me any more but I damn sure care about what they do to you."

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