Every manager has earned their position through a combination of three aspects.
Grab a piece of paper and score yourself on a scale of 1-10
I have been here longer than anyone 10 = you’ve been there longer than anyone in your company
No one does my specific task better than me 10 = you are the most skilled in your specific discipline
I am a great coach/mentor/motivator 10 = you get more from the staff than anyone else at the company
There are definite bonuses to being at a company for a long time. You know the team. You know the politics. You know the history.
But of the three aspects, promotion primarily on longevity may not be best for the company.
Technical proficiency may be the most common reason for ascension into management.
It’s important to know your job and the jobs of your team. But beware … too often, managers with high technical skills end up doing the jobs of their staff rather than coaching them on how to do it.
It is easy to fall into the trap of, “it’s faster if I do it myself,” or, “I can do it better.” If you find yourself thinking this, you are not doing yourself or your team any favors.
By its very definition, management is, “the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.” Here are some steps to help you increase your Coaching score:
Set the course and guide the ship to achieve the company’s goals as well as help each individual teammate reach their personal goals.
As much as I love Don Draper, he had it wrong here:
Don: It’s your job! I give you money, you give me ideas.Peggy: And you never say, “thank you.”Don: That’s what the money’s for!
You can’t count on the paycheck to motivate your team. They can get that anywhere. Your team has to want to be there. They have to be invested in the company’s success. And a good manager has to keep them driven.
Coaching & Development
This is where the manager who is too reliant on technical skills alone can fall short.
Coaching and development often begin by asking your team good questions. Good questions lead to great answers, and great answers lead to great conversation. Listen!
Based on your corporate goals, your team’s personal goals and their current skillset, set a plan to help them become stronger and more invaluable. Both you and your staff should commit to continuous learning.
Take advantage of immediate opportunities when coaching. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can teach today.
Also, don’t forget that coaching happens BOTH WAYS. We all can learn from each other. Coaching is as important going up the org chart as it is going down.
Support & Empower
Ultimately, your team needs to do what they do best. You hired smart, competent people and they will shine when you let them go.
Your team should know that they are free to do their jobs. They should know that, because it’s impossible, perfection is never expected – as long as they learn from the mistake. And they should know that you are always available for questions or advice and that you will have their backs.
In the end, the best managers have the internal knowledge that comes with longevity, the technical skills to help educate their staff and the coaching skills to help the team and company grow.
Take a look at your results from the scores above. Where do you need to focus to be a better manager?