Who’s Managing the Manager – the series

Many of my Executive clients want to learn how to become a better manager/leader as well as how to efficiently lead their organization. Often times, we discuss the copious amount of resources available to them about how to manage and lead the front-line employees, however, not a lot of great resources are out there on managing up – your manager. We all have a manager and we all report to someone in some capacity. The life coaches in our organization have been asking me to put together a series of blogs dedicated to tips and tricks to help their clients manage their manager.  Over the next couple months, I will be specifically offering some insights on how to best manage your manager.

Purpose of a Manager

There are many statistics out there worth researching, identifying that seventy-four percent (74%) of employees complain that their manager treats them disrespectfully by not being mindful of their individual contributions, regardless if they are meeting the expectations or not.  Something has to be said for effort. Surely this is still worth something, is not it? Others, about half of the employee group, feel that at one time or another their manager has publicly humiliated them.  Regardless of the intention of the manager, the employee felt humiliated and therein lies the perception of reality.

With employees feeling disrespected and humiliated it is no wonder why so many organizations fail to reach their full operational potential.  In fact, this could explain the common paradigm amongst hundreds of entrepreneurs why they claim ‘poor management’ as one of the major reasons organizations fail in their industry and the need for them to start their own business.  And if they aren’t careful, they too will repeat history.

Now that we know what we know, let’s get into what I believe to be the purpose of managers and what the ‘good manager’ looks like.

The purpose of management is to serve; it is about serving others. Put simply, they are there to serve you, the employee, the customer, and key stakeholders in the organization. The employee came first, then the customer, soon after that, the organization, and finally the manager. Let’s look at the basics. Prior to serving the customer in any new business, the employee is hired first –  the customer was not there before the employee.  If you were about to open up your business, would you have the customer lined up before you hired employees? This is not to suggest that serving the employee is feeding an entitlement agenda.  Serving the employee is a bigger picture we will explore in detail throughout these blogs. However, to be concise, I will suggest, serving the employee is about doing what it takes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness towards desired results. Taking care of your people (employee) so they can take care of the customer and the organization.

When it comes to explaining what management is about, throughout literature words and terms such as leading, controlling, planning, organizing, and setting goals and objectives are used. Most definitions neatly filter out ‘service’ in the description of management. It truly is more than leading, controlling, planning, organizing, and setting goals and objectives. Keeping in mind, those are all important tasks required from management. Yet, none of those are possible if the manager is not fostering an environment and fruitful relationship with his employees.

At the end of the day we all want meaningful work, and working for a manager that will bring out the best in all of us – sometimes we may not know what the best looks like, and still we are hopeful our manager will do just that. Many of us have a variety of reasons to show up for work. Sometimes the common denominator is having meaningful work – work that gives us strength, fills us up at the end of the day. The kind of work where you know that you mattered, that others counted on you to do your part, the stuff that you look back on, and as tired as you might be, you would be willing to do it all again the next day. That is meaningful work!

Characteristics of a Manager

Before we can fully grasp the purpose of the manager, we first need to understand the key characteristics of a good manager. I have learned that a manager constantly streamlines the organization toward making a sale (profit contribution).  Managers keep their organizations on track by ensuring that everything that is being done is ethically geared towards providing what employees and customers want. Having the right product or tools to do the job being asked to do. Does the workplace attitude match the altitude outlined by the executive team for the organization? Do they say what they mean and do what they say?

If they [the manager] feel the employees are important to the success of the organization, are they creating avenues to gather what makes the employees feel valued? World-class managers know what makes employees happy and are able to mitigate the elements that will motivate their employees. They also have a responsibility to keep the environment safe and hassle free. It is their job to make sure the culture is cultivated to ensure prosperity of those already there and weed out the roots that undermine creativity and innovation. The environment is everyone’s responsibility; manager and employee, but it is the accountability of the manager to make sure they recruit the best fit for the organization.

What are some other characteristics of a manager do you feel are worth mentioning?

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