3 Tips for Deftly Managing Managers or Supervisors

 In Leadership, Leadership Development, management, Rick Conlow

The struggle of leading effectively is taken to another level when you are managing managers or supervisors. But there is one major thing that managers of managers have working to their advantage: empathy. Of course, that’s if they care about the success of others.

If one hasn’t been a manager, it’s easy to assume a lot of things about that role and how one will operate once occupying it. But if you’re already a manager, there are fewer assumptions and misunderstandings and hopefully more common ground. So–start here! But then move onto these three strategies that will help you guide your managers or supervisors with the necessary compassion and care.
3 Tips for Deftly Managing Managers by Rick Conlow

3 Tips for Managing Managers or Supervisors


I’m sure you’re not surprised that communication made the list. It’s the key to employee engagement at all levels. The amplifier here is OPEN communication. Honest conversations with your managers regarding their fears, challenges, mistakes, team dynamics, concerns, and results all matter. Do this regularly one on one in a coaching mode. Also, do this as a team in team meetings. In either case, be a good listener from the outset. Most managers feel as though they need to carry all the problems on their own. They make the assumption that nobody else is struggling with the same things. We all know that when someone can empathize with and guide us, we can become more at ease with the ebbs and flows we’re facing. So whatever you do, be sure to establish an environment where your managers don’t worry about whatever concerns that they share. This creates clarity.


3 Tips for Deftly Managing Managers by Rick Conlow

Do not micromanage. I repeat: DO NOT MICROMANAGE! Just because you have a mass of managers reporting to you does not mean you should manage them like a hoard of minions. You are not their master–you are their manager. Help them. Empower them. Trust them. Encourage them. Reward them. Coach them. Train them. Praise them. This establishes trust. As John Maxwell says, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” In addition, because good managers are busy getting their team members recognized, they themselves often get overlooked; make sure that you are getting your managers’ time in the limelight. Trust doesn’t come in with your office supplies; you have to earn that every day.


3 Tips for Deftly Managing Managers by Rick Conlow

Every day your managers are busy building teams, encouraging employees and fighting fires. At the very least you must provide direction for them. Establishing goals, setting priorities, creating expectations and aligning objectives is yourjob. Why is this? Because what you do at this stage will get shuffled down the ladder to your managers’ reports. So if you’re floundering without focus, you can bet your business that the bottom line will not benefit from your muddled managing style. This is about distilling what your team is at work, with customers and the community. This develops the vision. Your passion and belief about this will inspire your teams to their greatest heights.

Summing it all up

Without question, CLARITY – TRUST – VISION will do wonders with your managers’ motivation and performance. Use an empathetic backdrop to your advantage, but don’t bank on it to bear the weight of the burdens that your managers are bound to bring you. Just because you’ve been a manager and are a managing managers doesn’t mean you are mind reader for their problems–remember that.

Consider strongly these words from economist John Kenneth Galbraith, “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” 

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3 Tips for Deftly Managing Managers by Rick Conlow

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Rick Conlow
Rick Conlow is the CEO & Founder of Rick Conlow International, a consulting, training and coaching firm. He has helped over 200 companies such as Target, Costco, Andersen Windows, Spectrum, Northern Power, Meijer, Carpet King, International Truck, John Deere, Lowes Financial, and Canadian Linen improve customer loyalty, increase sales and add profits. Rick has been a general manager, vice president, training director, program director, and national sales trainer. He has authored 22 books, and regularly speaks at conferences and to audiences of all sizes.
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