Implementing organizational changes and developing leaders to sustain them

Taugher Change Catalyst Consulting

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

John Lennon

The Role of a Manager

Something happens too many of us when we do a good job at whatever it is we do- we are promoted to manager! The promotion provides a sense of accomplishment, and if a raise is involved, we enjoy the extra money in our checking account. However, being promoted to manager is more about “a new beginning vs. a job well done”. With a promotion comes new work expectations and demands you may not have anticipated in your previous role.

Thousands of articles and books have been written about the role of a manager. As a way of synthesizing all that a manager does, think in terms of managers doing three things:

  1. Focus on the person
  2. Focus on the place
  3. Focus on the thing

Focus on the Person:

  1. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses before you go looking at others’ strengths and weaknesses. Build upon strengths, and put in place a personal development plan to address your weaknesses.
  2. Discover the strengths and weaknesses of each member on your new team. Everybody is different, and often expect to be treated differently. Learn what makes each team member work the way they do, then reinforce their strengths. When there is time and potential to grow, then focus on development opportunities.
  3. Give each person authority to 'own' completely their responsibilities. You will never know true potential until you allow each person to pursue it.

Focus on the Place:

  1. Create an environment where rewarding work is possible. Make the environment an enjoyable place to work. Generally, if a change in the work environment does not affect safety, quality, or productivity, it is worth considering if team members find it beneficial.
  2. Place people in situations where they can employ their strengths and empower them to capitalize on them. Set goals work targets together whenever possible. Communicate your expectations, daily if necessary.
  3. Remove obstacles, barriers, ‘nay-sayers’ and excuses from the work place. If you rid the environment of what is negative, the positive will prevail. Create an environment where, “it can’t be done” heresy.

Focus on the Thing:

  1. Be sure that assignments you make are perfectly clear to the person being asked to complete it. You thinking the assignment is clear is meaningless if the person being asked to complete the assignment does not share the same clarity.
  2. Connect the work assigned with some meaning for why the work is relevant and even important to achieving desired results.
  3. Encourage your team members to work with you on this “thing” and vice versa. Statistically half the population feels rewarded when they are able to work on assignments in a team setting. The manager’s role is to make the team setting possible.