3 Keys to Managing Managers Successfully
If you think managing is tough… managing managers takes the challenge of leadership to another level of complexity and potential for problems. But, there is one major thing managers of managers have working to their advantage: empathy. You have been there and done that. 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 less assumptions and misunderstandings, and hopefully more common ground. So, start here. Build on this. Use it. Now, let’s move onto three key strategies that will help you manage your managers.
I’m sure you’re not surprised communication made the list. The keys word here are collaborative and open leadership. Honest conversations with your managers regarding their fears, challenges, mistakes, team dynamics and concerns – matter. Most managers feel as though they need to carry this on their own. They make assumptions that nobody else is struggling with the same things – and we all know that when someone can empathize with us, we can become more at ease with the ebbs and flows we’re facing.
Whatever you do – do your best to establish an environment where your managers don’t worry about what they share. Leading others involves the results, and but even more importantly the working relationships. The quality of the relationship often dictates the extent of the goal achievement.
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. Remember, people are your greatest resource. Empower them. Trust them. Encourage them. Reward them. Coach them. Praise them. Because good managers are busy getting their team members recognized, they often get overlooked, so make sure you are getting your manager’s time in the limelight. Managing managers is a strategically high contact sport.
Your managers are busy building teams, encouraging employees and fighting fires – at the very least, you must provide concise direction for them. Establishing a vision, setting priorities and aligning objectives is your job. 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. Managing managers requires diligent focus.
Without question, CLARITY – TRUST – and VISION will do wonders with your managers. Use the 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 manager doesn’t mean you’re a mind reader – remember that.
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