What is the Best Way to Manager my Managers?

The answer is simple yet very complex.  Let’s first examine the comparison of managers versus leaders.  Typically employees want to follow leaders.  They want to follow because leaders demonstrate by their actions and management style that they care and are themselves motivated in helping others in a growth pattern of success.

Managers on the other hand are usually appointed and if employees find that following them becomes a chore or they have little respect for the manager, it can end in a not so pleasant scenario.

Leaders in most cases should be left to lead.  You can learn from leaders.  Your company can grow from leaders.  Your sales can excel from leaders.  Your leaders can become dynamic from leaders because most leaders exemplify true team decorum…..they can and will lead or they can or will follow.

Now we turn to managers.  The best scenario is a leader who is a manager or a manager who is a leader.  Say it the way you’d like but what you don’t want is a manager who doesn’t know how to lead.  We are all creatures of habit and our make - up comes from what we have learned from previous managers and leaders. 
In all cases DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MICRO MANAGE.  Micro Managing is a recipe for corporate suicide.  Micro managing is demoralizing and will most often result in high employee turnover and an unfriendly work environment.

What works is directing or guiding your managers to take ownership of their actions, their words and their decisions.  Don’t accept excuses that include “they said or they did.”  “They” needs to have a name.  Once people realize it’s not office politics as usual and if you immediately bring all parties into the picture, that type of finger pointing management will stop.  Encourage managers to not talk behind the offending employees back.  True leaders address the issues immediately and those that recognize success have the “buy-in” and “correction of the errors” by all parties concerned.  Business is a continual learning curve.  Work to make that curve small rather than profound.

Counsel your managers one on one.  Truly learn what makes them tick.  What they want out of life. What their beliefs are with regards to dealing effectively with people.  Ask questions that identify their management style in difficult situations.  You can’t work at encouraging your managers to take ownership until you understand what their definition of ownership is.  Again I emphasize, don’t micro manage employees, but work to bring your managers into the fold as solid contributing team members.  Respect their positions and act on their suggestions.

Put aside egos and “know it all” attitudes.  And absolutely positively COMMUNICATE!  Communication must be a two way endeavor.  A contribution of brain power far outweighs a lone wolf making all the decisions.  Utilize the strength around you.

Once they are committed, you must be committed as well.  You’ve got to keep your end of the proverbial bargain to demonstrate your leadership.  Give managers room to manage.  Acknowledge accomplishments openly and remember that intermittent failures or disappointments as lessons to be learned.  Grow your managers, grow your employees and your company will flourish and your “job” will becomes much more easy.

A friend of mine who is a general manager of a manufacturing facility once told me, “I’m doing my best to work myself out of a job.  If everybody takes ownership of their jobs, then I have very little to do all day but quietly oversee, thus working myself out of a job.”  Great idea and hopefully you will all consider practicing this concept.

George F. Mancuso, President
Client Growth Consultants

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