As a leader or manager, there’s one key, significant expectation from you: results. Effective leadership and management cannot be accomplished by having the workhorse management or leader do everything for the team. The manager can step in and resolve issues, help push towards meeting deadlines, and even help take a load off of the team members, but in the end the only way to truly build an effective organization involves in developing 4 keys to successful management.
“First Break All of the Rules” is a management staple that every manager should have on his or her shelf at work. In it, the 4 keys are defined as the following:
“A manager must be able to do four activities extremely well: select a person, set expectations, motivate the person, develop the person.”
Great management comes in the form of taking general ideas, mission statements, and overall goals of the organization and breaking them down into “manageable” tasks that can be accomplished by individuals in the organization. In this case, developing the team in the organization is dependent on expanding these 4 keys into the following action plan:
- When selecting someone, select for talent, not simply experience.
- When setting expectations, define the right outcomes, not the steps.
- When motivating someone, focus on their strengths, not eliminating weaknesses.
- When developing someone, help him find the right fit, not just the next rung on the ladder.
Hire for Talent
Too often in today’s employee hiring process, HR screeners filter out candidates based on key words listed in resumes. Individuals are often never even given a chance to prove their worth in an interview or even by having a chance to give the hiring manager a quick sales pitch on what they can bring to the organization. Hiring managers need to take some of the power back and realize that talent does not always appear on paper. You have to feel it with the individual by the way they express themselves, by what drives them, and what motivates them in their work. You are developing the individual, and in so doing, do you want someone who has already reached their maximum potential? Hiring someone like this guarantees that the development process will fail.
Define the Right Outcomes
You want talented individuals, people who can think for themselves, react, adapt, and be superstars. But then you de-rail their ability to do this by outlining every single thing they need to do and how to do it. Talent on your team needs to be given breathing room. Give them a chance to come up with things on their own, then once they’ve done that, you can step in and help fine tune their work to be greatest benefit of the team. Be clear about what is expected and let them go about putting together their own plan of action as to how it’ll get done. Meet with the individual along the way and mentor them in the process and verify that they’ve on the right track.
Focus on Strengths
Looking for weaknesses in your team members and trying to get them to overcome those is like a perpetual game of what-a-mole. There’s always something and some way that they are not like the superstar on the team or like the excellent manager. You can’t coach talent, you can’t infuse it into your team. All that you can do is take the strengths and talents already there and give the individual the right opportunities to exercise those in helping the team be successful.
Help Find the Right Fit
There’s a terrible practice in business today where you continually promote your successful employees to higher positions in the organization, until they’re placed in a position where their performance is not up to part with the position and you park them there the rest of their time with the organization. They’ll then sit in the position, unable to perform at a level that is expected, not able to effectively do their work, frustrated because they’re used to being very successful in their assignments but now are underwater.
Not every employee needs to be on track for CEO, CIO, CFO, or COO. As projects become available, temporarily assign those individuals with management qualities to those projects so that you can gauge where they stand and what their skills are and how they’ll perform under different circumstances. Some individuals, you’ll find, are great where they are and they DON’T need to be moved. Praise them for their work, reward them, continue to create an environment where they can succeed and feel like their are growing and are cared for, but don’t feel obligated to push them up to a higher position where they’re not ready to succeed.