The following is an excerpt from the book Wait, I’m the Boss?!? by Peter Economy:
Managers Do This (Not That)
For many of you, becoming a manager might have come as a bit of a surprise. One day you might have been working on your own project at the office—a skilled individual contributor to your team—and next thing you know, you’ve been assigned to manage the team. All of a sudden, your job has changed completely. Instead of just doing the work, you also have to motivate and lead others to get the work done.
Chances are, you’re going to be expected to learn how to manage on the job, without any formal management training. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably draw from your own experience—looking to your own boss for examples of and pointers on how to be a manager. You’ll probably also take a look around at other managers to see how they manage and lead their people and their organizations.
You can also learn firsthand from skilled mentors or teachers about the right ways to manage people, how to get things done for your organization, and how to properly serve clients.
But just as you can learn from others the right ways to manage and lead, you can also learn the wrong ways to man- age colleagues or teams. No organization is perfect, and examples of bad management can be found everywhere: from the supervisor who insists on micromanaging to the boss who fails to properly communicate with their employees.
Observe the managers you come into contact with, both within your own organization and in other organizations. Do they use intimidation and fear to get results? Are employees empowered and energetic when they come to work or do they seem disengaged? Pay attention to what you see and think about the different actions you would take in order to obtain the results you want.
If the manager does all the work an employee was originally assigned to do, or if a manager tries to make all decisions themselves, then that’s not being helpful. Part of the job of any manager is to scale their impact throughout the organization. That’s done by delegating responsibility and authority to employees and then holding them accountable for the work they’ve been assigned to do.
Before we get into the details of delegating work, let’s first take a look at the four things every great manager does.
FOUR THINGS EVERY GREAT MANAGER DOES TODAY
If you took a business class in high school or college, you may recall the four “classic” functions of management: plan, organize, lead, and control. The foundation of how a manager gets their job done is comprised of these four, and these basic functions can help you in your day-to-day management duties.
However, I believe that these four classic management functions fail to reflect the reality of the new workplace, which is based on an entirely new partnership between workers and managers. This partnership is much more collaborative than it was in the past, with employees and managers working together to achieve the organization’s goals. The time when managers ruled the roost by bossing around their employees and instilling fear in the workplace is, thankfully, behind us.
Here are four things that every great manager does today.
Remember the last time you were trying to do an assignment and your boss was questioning your every decision—constantly looking over your shoulder and asking you why you were doing what you were doing? This kind of micromanagement doesn’t get the best out of employees. Instead, it causes them to shut down—they wait for their boss to give them direction for every move they make. Instead of being engaged in their work, employees simply check out.
Today’s best managers empower their employees directly while establishing a corporate infrastructure (creating teams, skills training, and more) and culture that support empowerment. Whether or not your employees say they want to be empowered, it is vital that you create an environment that enables and encourages every employee to give the very best of themselves on the job.
Managers know how to make good things happen—for them- selves, the people who work for and with them, and for their organizations. They often bring strong technical skills, organizational ability, and work ethic along with them to their management positions. But the one quality that transforms good managers into great ones is this: they know how to energize others.
Have you ever worked for someone who added to your own natural energy? Perhaps they took you to a higher energy state and brought out your best performance by creating and communicating an inspiring and compelling vision of what your organization could be, and what your role was within it.
The very best managers inspire and excite employees and colleagues—unleashing the natural energy within them. They don’t sap the energy from an organization like poor managers do, but rather, channel and amplify it. A twenty-first-century manager knows how to successfully transmit the excitement they feel about their company and its goals to employees, in ways that can be understood and appreciated.
You may already know firsthand the kind of positive effects that are created for a business when managers know how to communicate effectively with their employees. In contrast, you may also be familiar with the negative effects that can occur when a manager fails to communicate effectively and well. When managers fail to communicate effectively— whether it’s such things as making assignments, tracking project details, or setting expectations—they are missing out on a critically important role of management and are potentially reducing employee engagement.
Communication, the lifeblood of any organization, is a key function of the modern manager. With the speed of business today constantly accelerating, managers must communicate information to employees faster than ever. In fact, with today’s technological advancements, managers have a wide variety of ways to communicate with their employees and get their messages across—email, text messages, tweets, video conferences, and more.
Your role as a manager is not to hover over the shoulders of your employees. Instead, it’s to support them. Rather than being a strict watchdog or police officer, a manager must become a coach and cheerleader for their employees—inspiring them to achieve more and better than they ever imagined possible.
Supportive managers know that it’s not all about shining a spotlight on their own achievements. They aren’t hungry for everyone’s attention. Instead, they shine a spotlight on the achievements of their people—providing them with the training and resources they need, as well as the authority they need to make their own decisions and get things done.
Sure, their people may make mistakes from time to time, but after all, how does anyone learn without making mistakes? What is critical is this: even if the employee falls down, today’s managers reach out a helping hand and pull them back up.
Adapted, and reprinted with permission from Career Press, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, Wait, I’m the Boss?!? by Peter Economy is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at www.redwheelweiser.com or 800-423-7087