2011 Additions to Reflections for Managers
Changes in society and in organizations prompt us to add the following 10 rules to our collection of Reflections for Managers.
Everyone is unique, but people share characteristics that allows us to "make sense" of their personalities. It's very helpful to learn a good personality system like MBTI, Enneagram, DiSC, etc.
Learn to Manage Up
Management means to set direction, offer support, guide and educate. You must do the same for your bosses. You must manage Up as well as down.
Perhaps you or your team is being blamed unfairly, or some part of the organization is looking for a scapegoat. Or, perhaps you or your team is not getting noticed for superior contributions. You must manage perceptions of you and your team.
Overwhelm and Burnout Are Different
When you, or an employee, are overwhelmed, you must act counter-intuitively. Back off. Simplify. DON'T do some lesser-value things. On the other hand, when you are burned out (your heart is not in the game) a vacation will not help. You need renewal - whether it's inspiration, a change of direction, or finding purpose and meaning in life, and/or in your work.
People Hate Meetings (False)
They do hate UNPRODUCTIVE meetings. They hate having their time and energy wasted. Make sure that all the meetings you hold are really valuable, well planned and facilitated.
The higher you go in the management ranks, the more you will find yourself unable to make "perfect" decisions. There are simply too many factors to consider. Make peace with making consistently-good decisions versus perfect ones.
Don't "Spin" the Message
People can tell when you're "spinning" the message. Tell them the truth. Be sure your message passes the "eye roll" test. That is, if your back were turned would your staff be rolling their eyes?
Do Not Retire on the Job
Give it your full commitment and dedication until the day your leave. By the way, you'll be remembered more for the way you conduct yourself in the last 6 months of your tenure, than all the time before that.
Ask Questions. Don't Just Tell People They Are Wrong.
Ask questions before jumping to conclusions. Many a relationship has been saved, and many good decisions made, by simply asking, "What's your perspective on xyz?" or "How does that impact this?" (before throwing in your judgment/objection)
Have a Life Outside of Work
Not only is it emotionally and socially healthy, it's also productive. It's hard to manage people who DO have lives outside of work, when you don't even understand what that means.