Over three decades ago, I worked in a large bank. One day I asked my manager, let’s call him Peter, a technical question. “Phil,” he said, “come with me.” We walked over to a long row of low filing cabinets that were covered end to end with huge binders. “Everything you need to know about banking is in these binders, so you just look it up,” he advised. He pulled a binder off the shelf, showed me how to use the index, and then he walked away.
That was the day that I learned how not to manage.
Management defined: Management is the full contact, one-on-one sport where you help your people to perform their best. Management is about knowing your employees, their strengths and talents, and how to help them grow. It’s about your relationships with your people.
Management is about leverage. It’s about helping your people develop skills and confidence so they improve their performance as they pursue their personal career goals.
It’s about giving them resources such as:
- Relationship with their supervisor (improving this will strengthen retention)
- Information on real time business performance (most commonly withheld or not available),
- Training for career development (severely underutilized), and
- Responsibilities for real results (focuses on achieving outcomes and not just completing tasks).
These resources will help your people achieve their, and your, goals.
Tips and questions to optimize your management:
- RELATIONSHIPS: How strong are your relationships with your direct reports? Which good employees are flight risks? Do your managers know what your employees are good at, what their interests are, and where their natural talents shine? Have you positioned these people for success or forced them to do a job that needed doing without regard for the fit?
- INFORMATION: What information would show daily performance for outcomes within your employee’s control? What was the quality and quantity of their impact on your business? Anything can be measured. A daily FLASH report showing metrics at their level in the business can be very useful here.
- TRAINING: Based on your employee’s talents, what is their career development plan? Some high growth companies are “too busy” to work on these things. But being “too busy” is just a recipe for burnout and you’ll lose a good employee. Mining your employees’ hearts and minds for their values and aligning these with your business purpose will create value for your employees, your customers, and your shareholders.
- RESPONSIBILITIES: The ultimate responsibility is to improve someone else’s condition, whether business or personal. Teachers do this, doctors and nurses do this, and managers do this. The key is to measure outcomes and results, not inputs and tasks. When you give your employees responsibilities to generate results for your customers and for your business, you will have a much more powerful and enthused employee than one who is focused on following a checklist and measuring inputs with total disregard for the customer.
Management isn’t about getting your daily work done. It’s about helping your employees to provide value to a customer by improving their skills, giving them resources to succeed, and strengthening personal relationships in the process.
What can you do today to help others succeed?
If you’d like to discuss how I can enhance your management perspectives and processes, please call me at 1-306-992-6177 or send me an email at [email protected].
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