management role

November 30, 2009

Top Managers – Experiencing the Sharp End

As managers, it’s easy to get busy doing the managing, quite understandably.

Yet there’s a lot to be gained from taking a little time where the real work gets done, where you team members are active – at the sharp end, where the action is.

Many managers are focused on the heady world of stepping out of the limelight and managing their businesses and teams from a distance – after all that’s what managing is all about, leading a team of people to do the work that needs to be delivered.

The challenge comes when a manager is sufficiently remote from the key work areas, that they find it hard to relate the reality their people experience to the management role they are showing to their team. And that remoteness can make a team ethic from being the way the work best gets done.

That’s when it’s important to get down and dirty and get with the people who do the real work. It’s time to spend some time at the ‘coalface’ and to really get to understand the experiences that their people have, each and every day.

Sure, a manager manages people and to do that best it’s vital to build relationships that work effectively with their team. To do that requires credibility and trust which only comes when those they manage know that they really do understand the issues they face each and every day.

Those very issues that make their job challenging and sometimes more difficult to do. Their job may become, in extreme cases, almost impossible to do well – and every manager needs to know this, finding out by being there, talking closely with them, failing to judge or argue, simply finding out how they are feeling and experiencing it first-hand too with and alongside them.

When a manager makes their mind up to get at these real-world experiences – where possible on a regular basis – of the challenges their people face, it becomes much more easy for their people to relate to that manager, as well as to understand what is – and even what isn’t – possible.

The view from the sharp end can be a lot different from that from the manager’s office way up in the executive suite.

The sharp-end is where it’s possible to learn more (often much more), providing a manager with the valuable – possibly even critical – insights vital to make the most of the manager-employee relationship. And that an incredibly important relationship with those who are ultimately, the people who deliver.

And there’s more, once employees see that their manager is prepared to get their hands dirty too, they will recognize their preparedness for the debates and discussion you all have together, creating much more of a cohesive team than ever before too.

A manager and team working closely together? Now, that truly is a goal worth working towards, now isn’t it!

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

Permalink Print

March 2, 2009

Empowerment – A Management ‘Must-Have’

You see, most managers come from the ‘shop-floor’ and find it difficult to let go of that role.

When they try to take a step upwards into a full management role, it makes them feel uncomfortable – as if they are not working ‘hard enough’.

It’s a two-fold problem, it leaves all the critical answers in the lap of one person and employees are at a loss, or afraid to make a simple decision in the absence of their superior.

Filed under Building the Future, Developing Your People by Martin

Permalink Print

December 7, 2008

Empowerment Skills – Developing Your Management Capabilities

It’s amazing how many managers feel that they just cannot be absent from their workplace because they are ‘irreplaceable’. By empowering their employees, much more is possible…

When a manager feels unable to be away from their business, because they do not have capable people in place, it must be a very frustrating experience.

Empowerment – A Management ‘Must-Have’

Many managers are taught to be “hands-on” and not pass on tasks of any importance to their subordinates.

When they try to take a step upwards into a full management role, it makes them feel uncomfortable – as if they are not working ‘hard enough’.

So they find it hard to not  do the whole job, despite having people around them who would willingly do a bit more.

Without Empowerment Employees Will Do Less

Some employees enjoy being able to say, “call back on Monday”, or “I can’t make that decision, you need to speak with the manager”.

That way they can get off making a decision and risk less.

Why be dealing with an unruly, dissatisfied customer, when they could be doing something less stressful with their time?

Only The Manager Is Responsible

Many managers unknowingly encourage this type of behavior.

It’s quite a step to recognize that employees will evolve their capabilities when they have the trust of the manager and are allowed to do more.

Particularly for customer-facing employees, the ability to act fast and delight customers needs to be a given in any business.

Customers Want Employee Empowerment

Customers like to have their problems fixed by the first person they approach. Having an employee call for the manager only causes irritation and frustration.

They believe that the manager is waiting in the back office, or that the employees have been trained to give this response, and therefore, it becomes an excuse for the employees to blame it on the manager, and the customer to blame it on the manager.

It’s a no-win situation for a manager that wants to portray that they are in control.

A Manager’s Strength Is His Team

A manager cannot do it all – their performance depends on how they get the best from their team.

For example, if you let your employees know that you expect them to make a reasonable decision in your absence, let them know that they are the manager in control when you are gone.

You will stand behind the logical decisions they make, and then let them know what you might have done different, you are teaching them to become a manager.

Any manager with that sort of team ethic will benefit hugely from the freedom that comes as a result.

With Empowerment Everyone’s A Winner

Of course, when a manager has been used to keeping every tricky decision to themselves, it’s a bit of a fear to let things go – and it can be one of the  best things they can learn to do.

Their people start to feel that they are contributing more fully and, perhaps most importantly, recognize that they can personally make a difference to the success of the organization.

This is the principle of management development through empowerment.

Turning Teams Around

It’s an amazing experience as a manager when you turn someone on to the hidden capabilities they have within them already.

They begin to reach a level of management development that all managers should desire-a staff that can exist without them.

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

Permalink Print

November 30, 2008

Empowerment – A Management ‘Must-Have’

Many managers have worked their way up in an organization and feel a close relationship with being in the thick of the work.

When they try to take a step upwards into a full management role, it makes them feel uncomfortable – as if they are not working ‘hard enough’.

So they find it hard to not  do the whole job, despite having people around them who would willingly do a bit more.

Filed under Developing Your People, Managing Me by Martin

Permalink Print