Talents of a Great Manager

Gallup finds that great managers have the following talents:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.

Source: Gallup Business Journal – Why Great Managers Are So Rare!

Here are a few small additions to each of the point mentioned above.

  • To be able to motivate others and build relationships, they communicate with clarity.
  • They are assertive in driving outcomes and overcoming obstacles but they are graceful yet firm in dealing with people and situations. 
  • While creating a culture of accountability, they also balance accountability with engagement.
  • They work hard to build relationships and trust but they remain objective and unbiased without letting their relationships impact the decisions.
  • They make decisions based on productivity but they think critically about other aspects of decision (and its respective impacts).

Great managers are the catalysts of employee engagement.

Related Reading: 

Management Improvement Carnival: 2012 Edition

This is the third consecutive year when I am hosting the Annual Management Improvement Carnival organized by John Hunter. Hosting this carnival is an opportunity for me to thank a few generous folks who extended significant learning and influenced me through their writing.

This year, I review three blogs that I have loved reading.

Seth Godin’s Blog

If there is one person on blogosphere who has influenced me the most (through his words and deeds), that person is Seth Godin. I reviewed Seth’s blog last year as well apart from doing “one-question interview and review” for his books “Linchpin” and “Poke the Box”. This time around, I will point you to 5 best posts and snippets written by Seth in 2012:

  1. Who Cares?: Caring, it turns out, is a competitive advantage, and one that takes effort, not money.”
  2. Can I see your body of work?: “Are you leaving behind an easily found trail of accomplishment? Few people are interested in your resume any more. Plenty are interested in what you’ve done.”
  3. Perfect and Impossible: “If you are in love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen.”
  4. If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you’ve got…: “An alternative is to be happy wherever you are, with whatever you’ve got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating art, of being missed if you’re gone and most of all, doing important work.”
  5. Don’t expect applause: “If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it’s no longer your work–the dependence on approval has corrupted it, turned it into a process where you are striving for ever more approval.”

Jamie Flinchbaugh

Jamie Flinchbaugh writes on lean, transformational leadership and entrepreneurial excellence. His blog offers very useful perspectives and insights on leading an effective enterprise. Here are 3 posts and snippets that I enjoyed reading so far, and you will too:

  1. Standard work is not a replacement for skill and knowledge: Standard work is not a replacement for skill and knowledge, it’s purpose to enable skill and knowledge to be applied consistently and effectively. Most work cannot be done by robots; it is done by people. And so standard work must be designed for our needs, as an aid, not a crutch nor a hindrance.”
  2. 4 myths about the principle of “Respect for People”: “Conflict leads to resolution. Conflict leads to new understanding. Conflict, when managed properly, brings people together.”
  3. The failure of “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions!”: “I believe one of the utmost hallmarks of a lean organization is that someone can talk very openly about the problems which they have no idea how to solve yet.”

Sharlyn Lauby’s HR Bartender

Sharlyn Lauby runs a very popular HR blog and loves to call herself “HR Bartender”. However, her blog focuses on topics that relate to the workplace, not just human resources. 3 posts and snippets from HR Bartender that I enjoyed reading the most are:

  1. Your Company’s Next Innovation Will Be the Result of Empathy: “Then comes the hard part. It’s tough to take the conversation and turn it into practice. We can talk about empathy but how many of us can really demonstrate it?”
  2. Projects Are the New Job Interview: The things we take on, the projects we agree to be a part of, define us. Because people are watching. They are paying attention to what we do. We may or may not even know it. And guess what? Maybe we’re being “interviewed” all along and don’t even realize it.”
  3. 5 Qualities of Professional People: “Part of gaining respect is being able to say “I don’t know.” Be the best you can at what you do and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something.”

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Related Posts:

  1. People Focus – 2010 Management Improvement Carnival
  2. Annual Management Improvement Carnival: Edition 1 (2011)
  3. Annual Management Improvement Carnival: Edition 2 (2011)

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On Decision Making and ‘Elephantine’ way of doing it – II

In my earlier post today, I wrote about decision making in general and “elephantine” way of decision making where I shared a short story of a tamed elephant. The subject did not leave my brain for the entire day and my mind pushed me to think a little further on it – dig a little more and find something deeper than the explicit lessons mentioned in the earlier post.

Ultimately, I could relate this topic to the discussion we had with our mentor – Prof. M. S. Pillai during a Management Development Programme on breaking mental barriers.

He told us a very interesting story about a circus lion – who was so tamed and trained to follow pre-decided instructions that he never knew what his real strenghts were as a Lion. He even din’t know that he was considered King of the Jungle. His mental programming (result of circus training) did not allow him to think that way.

One day when he was left in a jungle where real lions lived – this tamed lion started running fiercely when he saw other lions moving freely around. Gripped in fear, he ran for hours togather and finally got exhausted. He was thirsty and went to a pond to drink some water. While drinking water, when he saw his face being reflected on water surface, he realized that he is no different from the actual lion – he realized that he is as powerful as any other lion is. All his fears faded away and he realized his potential.

Pillai Sir (as we fondly called him during the MDP) is the founder of Sadhana Center of Management and Leadership Development in Pune, India.  On his organization’s website, he writes:

“It is easier to break a metal chain. But breaking the mental one is a tough task. Although in the open, it is imprisoned. Walking free is not breaking free.”

This means decision making is largely governed by mental programming (result of our education, past experiences) and our ability to see ourselves beyond our mental frame and limitations.

I continue to think further on this – and that should hopefully result in another blog post! Till that time, I leave you with these thoughts to ponder upon.

Happy thinking!