What Makes Great Managers?

June 15, 2006 — Leave a comment

“What was your best day of work in the past 3 months? What were you doing and why did you enjoy it?” Those question may be some of the keys to the productivity of your employees (and you). Check out this great leadership article from Marcus Buckingham at Catalyst monthly:

What sets a great boss apart from an average boss? Research on this is rife with provocative writing about the qualities of managers and leaders and whether the two differ, but little has been said about what happens in the thousands of daily interactions and decisions that allows managers to get the best out of their people and win their devotion. What do great managers actually do?

In our research, beginning with a survey of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup Organization and continuing during the past two years with in-depth studies of a few top performers, we’ve found that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets the best managers apart from the rest: they discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it. Average managers play draughts, if you like, while great managers play chess.

A manager’s approach to capitalizing on differences can vary from place to place but it is a tremendously powerful tool that leads to three outcomes. First, it saves management time; second, it makes each person more accountable; and third, it builds a stronger sense of team because it creates inter-dependency. It helps people appreciate one another’s particular skills and learn that their co-workers can fill in where they are lacking.

When you capitalize on what is unique about each person, you introduce a healthy degree of disruption into the workplace. You shuffle existing hierarchies, existing assumptions about who is allowed to do what, and existing beliefs about where the true expertise in a company lies. At some point, however, managers need to rein in their inquisitiveness, gather up what they know about a person, and put the employee’s idiosyncrasies to use. To that end, there are three things you must know about someone to manage them well: their strengths, the triggers that activate those strengths, and how they learn.

To read the the rest of this insightful article, click HERE.

After you read it, post a comment: What was your best day of work in the past 3 months? What were you doing and why did you enjoy it so much? Or, what was your worst day of work in the past 3 months? What were you doing and why did it grate on you so much?

Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

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