Managers: Magic or Mess

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

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Post 1 of 3: In their small company, Suzie and Peter led the two teams that made up the operations group. One team set up the service and the other team was customer facing: delivering the service and maintaining the customer relationship. Both of these leaders took their jobs seriously because they were part of the family in their family-owned business.

“You are such a geek, Peter. Are you reading one of those business articles again?” Suzie was teasing, but he knew she appreciated at least some of the nuggets he mined from his efforts to understand more about leadership.

“Yeah, listen to this stat in this Gallup article, ‘managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.’ Peter looked up, “That kind of puts the pressure on us as leaders, doesn’t it?”

“Does it? I don’t even know what it means.” She sat down on the couch across from him, seemingly more interested in her apple than the statistic.

“It means, dear cousin, that when people on our teams are not interested in their work enough to give us their best effort, the reason for that lack of effort is 70% our fault. It also means that we have the power to encourage improvement…. And it means that Uncle Charlie expects us to act on that opportunity before we start asking for more budget for the extras we have on our wish-list.” He got up and headed for the bowl of fruit on the counter.
“Remember how we were talking about how important it is to our quality that our teams give us their best work? You’re a great communicator, and I’m a pretty good organizer, but I think we need to look at how we can use those skills in this situation.” He handed Suzie the article with a look that was nothing short of a challenge.

She rolled her eyes at his lack of subtlety, but she took it, “I’ll look at it this afternoon… Geek.”

As he left the room, Peter warned, “You’ll need to look past the Gallup sales pitch; the statistics and manager talent are what I’d like to leverage, especially as we look for an additional supervisor, if we split your team like we’ve been planning.”

Reality: Conjuring the ‘magic of managing’ requires a strategy. Without a plan that ensures managers have the right skill-set before taking their positions, many businesses exhaust employees and reduce results by selecting  subject matter experts, personalities, friends and sometimes even insecure bullies who try to ‘manage’ but leave a mess.

FOLLOW US & don’t miss the next PEPPERBOX blog Will Suzie see the value in Peter’s enthusiastic discovery? Will she even take the initiative to investigate it? Will she follow through and change anything?

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