Managers as Change Catalysts:
6 Ways to Enable Managers to Succeed in your Business
We often get called in to address challenges inside the businesses we work with that range from a lack of customer focus to inter-team misalignment and the key factor that keeps coming up in these initial conversations is always “we have manager issues”.
We’ve learned over the past year that managers have the ability to play an invaluable role in catalysing change within organisations. Conversely managers also have immense power to stop or obstruct change in the organisation and in their teams.
Managers are an incredibly powerful entity in the organisation, they are not at an ExCo level where the focus is broad, and orientated around a macro overview; conversely they are not at a junior level where they are completely task-orientated. They have the best opportunity to connect ExCo to people working on tasks and to connect different teams together because of their unique contextual insights.
In our experience working inside teams this year, our greatest allies, advocates and the people ultimately experiencing the benefits of our work are managers and the below are 6 ways we’ve been trialling to enable this:
- Get managers involved in the process early on. Communicate to them that their input in addressing X challenge is incredibly important and invite them to join you in finding solutions.
- Don’t start this process with the change in mind. Knowing at the beginning that you want to introduce a new process or punitive measure isn’t going to create huge buy-in to this new approach. Rather, start with the problem you want to solve and be comfortable working with teams to solve it.
- Interview managers as part of your understanding the problem better. Get them to discuss their experience of a particular challenge, what led to this and how they believe it could be addressed. Validate their insights with a broader company survey or assessment but use their insights to create the parameters of this.
- Run a workshop with them where you get them to give input into how an ideal manager at your company may address a certain challenge, understand what the current experience of this is. Ask for their input into what tools, methods or anything else they may need to help them address this challenge in their teams. Finally get them to commit to trying to drive the change in their teams. (We like using the Manager Manifesto tool we created at the bottom of this newsletter)
- Now is the hard work, spend time developing the tools they’ve requested. (As an FYI, in the teams we work with the 3 most requested things from managers are, “ a better way to give and get feedback, a better way to set and review goals for my team, and a tool to help me better communicate what decisions are being made by leaders to my team”)
- Let managers learn from one another. Once you have an engaged community of managers engaged in trying to solve a problem get them together in a forum to share their insights and spread the knowledge across the organisation.
We promise that if you spend time thinking about managers inside your organisation and working with them to develop as better managers you’ll have the greatest catalysts for change and growth.
If you’d like help solving your businesses manager challenges email us at email@example.com.