Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Jan 29, 2021

This week, Dan Neumann is excited to be joined by Johanna Rothman also known as the Pragmatic Manager. Johanna is a management consultant for managers and leaders. She helps leaders identify their problems and seize the opportunities that they know exist — but just can’t find yet. She also provides assessments, workshops and training, coaching, speaking, and facilitation. Additionally, Johanna is also an author of some incredible books on the topics of amplifying your effectiveness, hiring, management, agility, scaling collaboration, and more.


Most recently, Johanna released a triad of management books called, Modern Management Made Easy. These three books are Practical Ways to Manage Yourself, Practical Ways to Lead and Serve — Manage — Others, and Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.


In their conversation today, Johanna unpacks these three books and shares some of the key pieces of information you will want to know as a manager or leader in managing and leading yourself, others, and an innovative organization.


Key Takeaways

Johanna’s Modern Management Made Easy Book Series:

Practical Ways to Manage Yourself

Practical Ways to Lead and Serve — Manage — Others

Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization

Key lessons from Practical Ways to Manage Yourself:

“Managing oneself” myth: “I must solve the team’s problems for the team”

As a manager, you can’t solve your team’s problems or “inflict help”; instead, you should ask, “Do you need any information from me?” or, “Do you need my help to solve the problem?”

The manager stance of: “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions,” is not effective; you should be providing suggestions on where the team member can go next and engage in the problem-solving

Key lessons from Practical Ways to Lead and Serve — Manage — Others:

Myth: “Performance reviews are motivating” in truth, they can be incredibly demotivating

As a manager giving a performance review, you should be providing feedback that the team member can take action on and improve from

You shouldn’t be asking more from those that are doing incredibly well and expecting them to deliver even more than what you expect from other people

Don’t make the performance review all about money this can be very demotivating

People do need feedback, just not often not in the form of performance reviews (“There is a difference between feedback and evaluation” — Johanna Rothman)

Conduct one-on-ones with everybody that you lead and serve on a regular basis (at least every two weeks), and you will come to understand what everyone wants and needs, and how they’re working within the organization

Key lessons from Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization:

Offer feedback and coaching labs within the organization

“If we can focus more on what’s working in the organization and what’s working with people, we are more likely to achieve the results that we want.” — Johanna Rothman

Use change-focused feedback and ask for the change that you want

Peer-to-peer feedback works for almost anything (and the key is to do it as soon as you notice a challenge)

Congruence is key (balance yourself, the needs of others, as well as the context you are in)

Ask yourself: “How do we make it so the team can succeed?”

Resilience as a team is key and it’s important to make sure to balance the needs of everybody (i.e. sometimes we need flexibility and sometimes we can extend flexibility to others)

Intentionally practice management

You don’t have to be a manager all by yourself; you can talk to your peers and work together


Mentioned in this Episode: — Visit for AgileThought’s upcoming virtual events & RSVP!

Johanna Rothman

Johanna’s Twitter @JohannaRothman

Johanna’s Books

Modern Management Made Easy Book Series

Kurt Lewin

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes, by Alfie Kohn

Pfeffer and Sutton

Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg

“Why A Career Jungle Gym Is Better Than A Career Ladder”

Johanna Rothman’s Blogs


Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on!

Email your thoughts or suggestions to or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!