Is there anything you need from me? the supervisor asks his new manager.
Of course at this point there may be an item or two on the agenda that needs filling, but this question indicates a problem. The expectations of the two are quite likely to be all wrong. Generally, when one hires a subordinate manager, they do so expecting that problems are going to disappear...no more headaches, no more fires to extinguish.
New managers, on the other hand, are often too afraid or too unaware to say, "You haven't given me the tools, direction and systems by which to fix the problems. Yet, I'm afraid you'll find me incompetent if I ask a lot of questions." These attitudes are the culmination of years of practice where management gives people instructions and gets out of the way too soon. So the two are commencing down a path of failure.
Before you get out of the way, there's a lot to consider. Don' t make assumptions about what people already know. Your responsibilities are to hire the right people, and let them go only after a proper education is supplied. That means give them the right tools. You must know the goals of the corporation and direct the manager toward achieving them. Once you've prepared the proper groundwork, then you can stop hovering. Harvey Mackay's 1988 book, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, tells readers, "That's what managers are supposed to be able to provide. Motivation. Goals. Resources. Leadership. But not restrictions. Not being told what to do. Not rules. Oh God, how Americans hate rules." In other words, there is a difference between guiding and hovering.
Second, everyone knows that the odds of the new manager being successful diminish without proper direction. Manuals, books even training programs on how to develop teams will do nothing if the parties are not on the same page. Someone has to be the guidepost and coach of the new employee. Soccer players don't usually deliver the ball from one end of the field to another with one broad sweeping kick. They tap the ball down the field and pass to others. It's a process that takes time, thought, and persistence. The same is true of managing managers. The expectation that a manager even has the skills, because they worked at another firm even in the same industry, is no grounds for knowing it's new directives.
Third, problems do not go away just because there is new management. You know it and have lived it. So, where the solution? It's in the process of hiring through the months of working. It's a shift in the supervisor's perspective that hiring and placing new management actually takes more time in the beginning to reap the rewards of the future. Not the opposite.
One the flip side, the American can-do attitude has nothing to do with achieving goals. Worldwide, when placed into a fighting position, humans will band together to achieve greatness. Looking more closely, the best qualified must step up to the plate and implement a process of leadership that moves people into a system and direction for superior results.
The message for new management: don't point your finger at the supervisor. It's your responsibility to get what you need and get results. If a supervisor just pushes you out the door to fix the problems, either get paid twice as much since you're doing their job, too, or walk right out the front door, because the firm is setting you up for failure. Managers must know enough to ask for directions or to put together a plan of action that allows the guidance until you're on your feet. Both our 8 and 9 year olds are on their way to black belt in Tae Kwon Do. While discussing the timetable for achievement with his master, the 9 year old asked about the 10 private lessons he had accumulated and how he should use them. To that the master said, "One private lesson a month would be perfect, because I can keep you on track along the way. I'll review your progress, tell you what you need to do next, and then you can practice it during the month." The same should be of relationship between management.
Here's a summary of the message for the supervisor:
- Do not just get out of the way until they are ready.
- You must have the proper systems in place to find the right employee and to allow them to succeed.
- Coach your management by working side by side until they understand what the firm wishes to accomplish.
- If everything is in place, management can achieve greatness.
- New management has a responsibility to ask for guidance or get out when the firm, or the hirer does not know how to manage.
- NOW you can get out of the way.
Yes, getting out of the way for certain people will prove to be one of the best decisions you've ever made. Some people just learn quickly. For the traditional hire who has tremendous potential, managing with a little guidance will go a long way.David and Lorrie Goldsmith are managing partners of MetaMatrix Consulting Group, LLC. Their firm offers consulting and speaking services, as well as conducts seminars for senior level management. They can be reached at (315) 476-0510 or email to email@example.comTHIS ARTICLE MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY MEDIUM. PLEASE NOTIFY OUR OFFICE IF THIS ARTICLE IS REPRODUCED SO THAT WE MAY OBTAIN A COPY FOR OUR RECORDS.All publishing information including photos are available at: http://www.metamatrixconsulting.com/editor.htm © MMII MetaMatrix Consulting Group LLC Syracuse NY 13210(315) 476-0510 http://www.metamatrixconsulting.com