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Great Managers Lead Differently

Aug 17, 2007
Great managers get repeatable real time results by doing things differently than conventional wisdom. This article defines how great managers use what we know but refuse to practice. This select group of managers walks a different path that often defies the conventional wisdom of current business practices. While others wish for success great managers achieve it. Their model is not a huge secret and can be easily defined and described.

First: Give mission type orders. The best way to maximize management time and get good results is to give people a tasking statement then get out of their way. Great managers explain what they want in terms of results. They are not interested in how the employee accomplishes the task as long as it fits the corporate system of policies and procedures. This frees up the manager to spend more time giving mission types orders to other employees. The manager is not tied to developing details so more situations can be dealt with in the course of a day.

Second: Encourage people to use their talents. Great managers start by surrounding themselves with talent. They believe the key is finding good talent then using it to the fullest. By stating what needs to be accomplished rather than how to do it, the manager is encouraging employees to use their talent to find creative solutions. This in turn encourages risk taking, builds confidence, and promotes professional growth.

Third: Allow space to operate. Looking over a worker's shoulder limits work being done. Great managers allow sufficient space for a person to complete the task without it becoming limiting. This doesn't mean the manager never checks progress. A simple rule to remember is; while people need room to operate, "even adults need adult supervision."

Fourth: Measure results not activity. A busy person is not always an effective person. Great managers talk in terms of specific, measurable outcomes. They communicate clear, tough objectives. They eliminate subjective elements from performance reports. If it cannot be measured in desirable, quantifiable terms then it serves no performance purpose. Just doing good and staying busy is not acceptable to them.

Fifth: Reward results. Great managers know the value of both tangible and intrinsic rewards. Tangible rewards are usually the product of the organization's recognition program. Great managers deploy these tools rather well. However, their true strength lies in dispensing intrinsic rewards such as public recognition and an occasional "thank you."

Sixth: Remove non-performers. The single greatest heat loss of organization efficiency is the failure to remove marginal performers. Great managers do not tolerate a team member who is not carrying his or her share of the work load. Removing non-performers removes the organization's performance handicap.

In Summary
Learn from leaders who are in the 2% of high performers. They don't follow conventional wisdom or lethargic business practices. Great managers are successful because they know how to make maximum use of their most important resources - the talents of human capital.
About the Author
Canadian Management Centre has earned the reputation as a trusted partner in worldwide professional development and training and development.
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