“What Great Managers Do”

I only remember things when I write them down. Sometimes you read something and think, “I should really start doing that…” then with a phone call, notification, hunger grumble… that thought is gone. So here I am writing down what I took from it in the hope that it becomes action.

It really was a great article.

“What Great Managers Do” HBR by Marcus Buckingham

Often managers can be so busy ticking through projects and business critical tasks that time spent on team leadership is put on the back burner. I came across this article and a few things struck a chord:

1. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. Great managers don’t try to push a knight to move the same way as a bishop.

2. Instead of trying to change your employees; identify their unique abilities and help them use those qualities to excel.

3. Ask, “What was the best day at work you have had in the last three months?” Listen for activities that people find intrinsically satisfying.Watch for weaknesses here too.

4. The ultimate trigger for activating an employee’s strength is recognition. But remember each employee plays to a different audience, so tailor praise accordingly.

5. Most people fall into one of three learning styles: An analyzer, a doer, a watcher. Remember to adapt coaching style to their learning style.

6. Capitalizing on what is unique about a person builds a stronger sense of team, because it creates interdependency.

7. A managers time will be much better spent carving out a role for an employee that takes advantage of their natural ability.

8. To manage well, there are three things you need to know about every person in your team: their strengths, how you activate those strengths and how they learn.

9. The father of social learning theory, Albert Bandura, has shown that self-assurance, not self awareness is the strongest predictor of a person’s ability to set high goals, to persist in the face of obstacles and to bounce back.