What all great leaders know & do. The importance of the manager. And On Becoming the Most Fascinating Person in the Room.
The Gallup data are clear: It’s the manager.
Let’s talk about how it is the manager. Everything in the corporate world depends upon who your manager is: your happiness level; your engagement level; your ability to get stuff done; your ability to gather resources you need to get stuff done; your team’s morale; your engagement with other teams; the degree to which you feel siloed; your relationship with the higher-up blue suits; and especially where you’re going next within the org. The Gallup data sets make it official: it all depends upon who your manager is.
With all this importance placed upon who our manager is, you would think the blue suits would prioritize coaching and leadership training for all managers, even, you know, add it to their goals. Especially those new to the role having never had directs before. (It’s a rather big deal to go from never having managed anyone-ever-to managing a team of five.)
While some leading companies do this, most of them do not. No. Sadly. So, like our sales pro turned sales manager, most managers have never had the proper coaching / leadership / training needed to be useful, effective managers. Instead, what we get are a lot of people micromanaging others. Not good, Al. Not good at all. When we do not know what to do, we default to our level of training. Which in this case is zero. Thus, the dang micromanaging.
I’ve talked about micromanaging on this platform lots before, so I won’t belabor the point, but it is pernicious. Those who do it do not know they do it. They certainly won’t admit to it. And most awful of all: it feels good, like you’re doing good work. You’re “helping” people by doing their job for them. Or, pushing their noses into their jobs. Yes. “Help.” Quite.
If you’re “helping” people by doing their job for them, then why do you even need them? What are you paying them for?
Why must today’s managers be so selfish?
What if we coached them into the solution? We coach them into the discovery? We ask more and tell far less. We coach and manage by being far more curious than we currently are. More curious about our people. More curious about what they know. More curious about what they want to do. More curious about where they see their career in general and their current job in particular going. More curious about how outside interests may actually benefit the current position, even, amazingly, the entire org! Wow!
More curious about them. Yep, it ends up that managers today are simply being selfish. They think it is all about /me/ vs. all about /we/. Great leaders know that it is NEVER about you. It never was.
It’s not that people don’t want to see you succeed — it’s that they’re not even thinking about you.
When we get more curious, we will discover that we may have the missing qualities already on our team. We discover that people are far better at figuring things out through coaching and training than having the boss tell them how it shall be. We discover that maybe someone on the marketing team already possesses the copywriting skills we need for the project.
We will discover that somebody took the time to learn email marketing automation, and that they have an automated marketing followup campaign ready to go!
We discover that (some) people are curious in and of themselves. They want to learn more, to discover more, to be creative & innovative. That some people wake up and wonder what new software app they can learn today. That some people have a book reading list and actually execute on it! (WOW!) That some people pay for courses with their own money just because they deem their post-formal school education that important! Maybe even more important than the degrees themselves.
But we wouldn’t know any of this if we weren’t first curious about other people. If we didn’t first take the time to ask them about them. If we didn’t first gift the unselfish act of getting out of our own minds and getting inside someone else’s.
A large part about #GiveFirst is curiosity, about knowing that great ideas can come from anywhere, from anyone, at any time.
Be. More curious about people. Be more curious about life. Ask. Ask. Ask. Then, ask some more. Fabulously, you’ll become the most important and fascinating person in the room this way — all ironically done & played well through asking other people about them.