Saturday, August 10, 2013

What Does It Take to Become a Great, Even Beloved Manager or Leader?

On my radio program tomorrow (Sunday, Aug 11 from 11 AM to noon), I plan to talk about what it takes to be a good manager. And to that end, I crafted this mock three-minute talk---what I'd say to my employees upon being named their manager.

Of course, the right talk to give will vary with the situation but this mock talk embeds what I believe are best practices.

I want to start out simply by saying I want to do everything I can do to be a manager you'll respect and who facilitates your being your best selves.

Perhaps you'll find it useful for me to briefly tell you my philosophy of management. I believe in treating each of you, not equally, but fairly. You're all individuals and so you all have different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Some of you do best with lots of freedom, others with close supervision and accountability. Some with very specific instructions, while others would consider that micromanagement. I'll try to flex to meet each of your needs---My main job is to create an environment that enables each of you to, as I said, be your best self.

To that end, I encourage you to let me know your strengths and weaknesses and how we might tweak what and how you do so you can be your best self. I can't necessarily expect you to do that if I don't. So, let me tell you about a few of my strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: I'm good at coming up with ideas and practical plans for implementing them., and addressing problems. I work hard--You'll see me here early and late and not taking lots of breaks. I run crisp meetings: I don't schedule too many, and send tight agendas in advance and keep to them. I try to have a sense of perspective--recognizing how important something is or isn't in the largest scheme of things. Weaknesses: I tend to be intense. I don't expect you to be as driven as I am. Just don't be intimidated my intensity. I'm harmless---unless you're lazy, hurtful, or dishonest. My other weakness is that I tend to interrupt. I know it's rude but I can't seem to make myself stop. I apologize in advance. It's nothing personal.

I'm aware that most managers say they have an open-door policy and welcome questions, concerns, and suggestions, but not all managers really do. I really do. If there's bad news, I'd rather hear it early so there's time to address it. Sure, if it's a problem that will likely be solved without me, great. But if I need to know, please tell me. I'll respect you for that.

And yes, sure, I appreciate self-starters---people who can get the job done without a lot of assistance but I'd sure rather you ask for help than for you not to get the job done on time or to get it done but poorly. Talk to me.

To kick things off, I'm going to meet individually with each of you to hear your ideas, concerns, and your advice for me in my new role.

Some of you may wonder how important our work is. After all, we're just a small cog in a very large wheel here at Amalgamated Distribution Inc. But when you stop to think about it, we ten people are responsible for ensuring that countless products get to stores so that people can get the things they need for themselves and their families. Think of how you feel when you go to a store and the item you expect to be there isn't there. Our job is to make people happy and not disappointed. That's important and ethical work. We can go home to our families every night and feel proud of what we do.

And on that note, let me reiterate how pleased I am to be your manager, that I realize that a manager can make a big difference--positive or negative in the lives of his or her employees, that I take my responsibility to you as well as to the company seriously and will do everything I can to earn your respect, make this one of the company's most respected work groups, and to make this a place you'll look forward to coming to every morning. Onward and upward.

Update: This was subsequently published on HERE is the link.

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