Managers Know the Right Things, Leaders Act on Them

 In Coaching, Leadership, Leadership Development, Rick Conlow

The difference between a manager that knows important data, and one that acts on the right things, decides if the manager succeeds or fails in the job. Anyone can “know” something – especially today, when there’s a book for anything, and the capability to Google everything. Nothing is out of reach to anyone that wants to reach out. So, a successful manager uses the information, applies the information, and strategically does the right things in the right way with the information. That’s leadership.

So, to ensure that you separate yourself as a manager that does the right things, instead of one that just knows the right things – soak up these suggestions.

Detail down a strategy into specifics

So, you have a great idea (or you read about one)? Great! Kind of. Unless you break that down into specific, action-orientated details… you can’t take specific, detail-orientated action. So, think of your idea as a work of art – an ongoing process of creating and reworking things until the intended outcome is established.

Communicate to critical partners

Too often, I see managers come up with these extravagant ideas – only to throw them onto their teams with little direction and unruly expectations. If you take this approach, I can promise that you’ll have a lot of unmotivated, frustrated followers. Just like a basketball team can’t win without a clear coach, a team can’t execute an unclear game plan. RCI research shows 80% of job performance issues relate to ambiguous goals and expectations.

Tell the story

Think of any strategy as a story, and imagine telling the story to someone who has no background information. This is the best way to hone in on what you don’t know to define what you need to know. If you start telling the story and find yourself needing to stop, it’s because you don’t have the information or the resources you need at that point to continue with the story. This doesn’t need to put a halt to your plan, but it should lead you to gather the missing pieces before moving on. You can’t execute a successful strategy if the story is falling apart. Stories connect us with other people’s brain and emotions, it’s helps them to relate to your experience or idea.

Accept responsibility to own and delegate authority for the right things 

A really good strategy can’t be done in a silo. Great leaders understand how to appropriately empower their reports, while taking responsibility when necessary, where relevant. So, do your best to intentionally and strategically include others.

Really, what it comes down to is understanding the story’s plot, each character’s role, and the very important details that are told along the way. As the leader, it’s your job to tell a good story and then get into action. Excellence in leadership is not just what you know; it’s what you do with what you know.

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