The Effective Manager
Effective managers are good at the job and 'good at people.' The key is combining those skills to foster your team's development, get better and better results, and maintain a culture of positive productivity. The Effective Manager shows you how to turn good into great with clear, actionable, expert guidance.
The Effective Manager
The Four Critical Behaviors
[ Author's Note: If you don't want to learn the fundamental principles that underlie my recommendations, and you think you're ready to dive right in to what to do and how to do it, you can skip this chapter and the next one, and go directly to Chapter 4 , "Know Your People-One On Ones." I don't recommend it, but if you're impatient to get going, go.]
When my Manager Tools cofounder Mike Auzenne and I started our management careers, we had been taught very little about managing others. We struggled to learn what to do and how to do it, probably just the way you have struggled, and are doing so now. We didn't know that there are basically four things that great managers do a lot better than average and poor managers do. Once we understood these four things, we decided to start Manager Tools so that managers wouldn't have to learn the hard way, as we did.
The four critical behaviors that an effective manager engages in to produce results and retain team members are the following:
Get to Know Your People.
Communicate about Performance.
Ask for More.
Push Work Down.
Managers who get results and keep their people almost always do these four things much better than other managers do. (I say, "almost always" because there are exceptions. If you're incredibly smart-on the level of a Bill Gates, Andy Bechtolsheim, Warren Buffett, or Mike Morrisroe-you can probably get by just being smarter than everyone else. But, hey, you're probably not that smart. Mike and I sure aren't.)
The First Critical Behavior: Get to Know Your People
All of our data over the years show that the single most important (and efficient) thing that you can do as a manager to improve your performance and increase retention is to spend time getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of your direct reports. Managers who know how to get the most out of each individual member of the team achieve noticeably better results than managers who don't. The most efficient way to get to know your team is to spend time regularly communicating with them.
Despite the fact that your primary responsibility is getting results, the most important thing you can do isn't strategizing, task assignment, resource planning, or priority analysis. It's getting to know the people who have the skills and who are going to get the work done.
For the record, a manager can increase performance in the short term very effectively by using the power of his or her role as manager and threatening-and expecting-compliance. But if retention is thrown in as a required goal, that technique quickly sours.
Our data over the years suggest that, generally, a manager who knows his or her team members one standard deviation better than the average manager produces results that are two standard deviations better than the average manager's results.
Why is this, do you think? Think about your own relationship with your manager for a second. Do you want your boss to "treat you like everyone else"? Then, maybe you don't need to learn about your directs. However, I would guess that's not what you want. If you're a top performer, how would it feel to know that you were being managed just like your boss's weakest team member? If you were a weak performer, would you want the extra assignments that the top performer received on top of normal duties? Probably not.
Every person on the earth expects and deserves to be treated as an individual. Sadly, what most of us as managers do (I know I did early in my career) is manage others the way we would like to be managed. This is sort of the Golden Rule of nonexperienced managers. You do to your directs what would make sense if you were one of those directs.
The problem with this type of mana