Managing the Manager

Leadership is lonely. That is one of the first things I learned when I began managing people. I wanted things done my way and wanted to manage people the way I wanted, not the way they needed to be managed. Thankfully, I had a great manager who managed me, Mark Field, Senior VP of Investor Development & Experience at the Knoxville Chamber. He taught me that I needed to get to know my team personally and to build trust with each of them before I could expect them to fully accept me as their leader. I learned to listen, observe, and learn what my team needed and how they wanted to be managed. Trust was built and I was blessed to see my team flourish personally and professionally. Leadership is not about the leader; it is about their team.

According to Gallup, one in two employees left their jobs to get away from their manager and improve their overall life. This data point alone gives us enough reason to pause and talk about how vital it is that managers have leaders to support and teach them to be good managers.

Too few managers get the opportunity of having a great manager manage them. A lot of times people are promoted to management roles based solely on their performance – not that there is anything wrong with that – but new managers need support and to be equipped with the proper management tools and skills to successfully lead themselves and their teams.

Managers juggle relationships between their employees, other team managers, and executive management. Managing these relationships requires a lot of self-awareness so that they can lead effectively. (Clear Leader Group specializes in developing leaders.)

In his article, What I Wish I Knew: Advice for Managing Managers, Andy Przystanski gives four vital steps to managing managers:

  • Empower them. Building trust with your managers is vital and allowing them to use their leadership skills with their team will build trust throughout the company.
  • Evaluate managers on the big picture. This means using goal-setting tools like objectives and key results or OKRs to measure their performance.
  • Approach problems with them from a coaching perspective. Make the setting like a workshop and ask questions like, “How could I have helped you and your team be more successful next time?”
  • If you are a manager and considering becoming a manager that manages managers, look before you leap. Not everyone likes managing people all the time. Team managers still get to do some actual work while they manage their team. Managing managers is a full-time job.

Managers must first know themselves before they can lead themselves and others well. Clear Leader Group helps companies develop employees into managers and helps people managers develop their leadership skills. Contact us today to get started on managing your managers.

Melissa Spangler

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