Are you a good manager?



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Are You a Good Manager?.

are you a good manager

Get the webinar

If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of my professional development program can download this webinar for free.

This is a very useful webinar to download if you want to:

  • Assess yourself or your team: How good are you at being a manager?
  • Get a clear outline of the intangible factors that make someone a great manager
  • Improve yourself, or train someone on your team to be a better manager
  • Create a development framework for managers in your company
  • Prepare for a job interview for a management position — at any level

Here is what we talked about:

Are YOU a good manager?

This is a special and really important webinar, and I thought it was a really good topic to start the year on

There is nothing you can do to improve the bottom line of your business more than to make sure that all your managers are good managers. (some research on this)

But what makes a good manager?

I spend a lot of time on this topic. Through my workshops with clients I help educate and motivate their leaders to think and work more strategically, improve their management skills and to develop a strong personal leadership strategy.

Also in my work I get to hear about a lot of really bad managers. People are suffering out there!

Where do you land?

The webinar:

I put together this webinar to give a practical overview of what makes a good manager.

It outlines the basics of great management and provides many ideas for action to help people become better managers. The webinar also includes definitions of the more intangible traits of great managers.

This webinar: Are you a good manager? is one that I wish I had access to years ago, when I was learning how to be an effective manager and leader of people.

I had to learn this stuff through many years of trial and error! I’m happy now, to be able to share what really works with you.

What the webinar covered:

1: People: Get the intangibles right

Being a good manager, first and foremost, is about people and team. It’s about building the right team, fit for a clear purpose, and enabling and motivating the individuals and the team to function well.

I had an employee who worked in my organization years ago send me a note that said, “When I worked for you I felt like superman”.

Wow. You can’t say it better that than. So that has become my measure.

A good manager will make their people feel like super-heroes.

There are specific things you can do that build trust, empowerment and motivation. We talked about ways to delegate and to make sure that people feel that their work is important and recognized.

2. Strategy and Execution

So many executives tell me that they need their managers to take more proactive ownership of problems and opportunities.

They need their managers to think and work more strategically. They need them to personally step up to solve problems and lead improvements without being asked or directed.

Good managers also step up and lead the stuff no one else is seeing.

Great managers know that they need to think beyond what they are working on and take a bigger view of the problems that are presented to them. The webinar covered specific questions and techniques to do this.

3. Improvement

Of course, predictable execution is important, but a big part of being an effective manager is to make sure that the team also develops. We talked about how to make sure you lead your team to get better at what they do over time.

If you only deliver, but don’t increase the capability of your team, you are not doing your whole job as a manager.

4. Credibility and Team Brand

Managers also need to be effective spokespeople for the business and their team. A manager can not opt out of communicating. They need to find productive ways to share the value of what their team delivers.

A good manager is always sharing relevant information and building broad support for their team.

A Manager’s Checklist

This webinar provides an excellent checklist for any manager to rate how effective they are being, and to find out where they can improve.

It is a great tool for a development plan, OR to prep for an interview.

This webinar is loaded with valuable resources.

It includes the outline of what it really takes to be an effective manager, as well as specific “manager actions” in 10 key areas, about how to do it.

And it includes worksheets and templates on delegating, prioritizing, negotiating, communicating and performance management.

Members: Download this webinar for free.

Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

More, useful webinars for managers!

As a member, just around this topic of improving your management approach, you can also get additional webinars for free on:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Join Now
Join Now.

TODAY ONLY
USE CODE: MANAGER
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Let me be your mentor

thumbnail.ashx

Members of the Azzarello Group program for Professional Development basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership to Azzarello Group is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

TODAY ONLY
USE CODE: MANAGER
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Join Now
Join Now

thumbnail.ashx

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Meeting your new boss for the first time? Get it right


Close-up picture of the Brooklyn Bridge cables in Brooklyn, New york, 2009.

You have a new boss…how do you make a good impression?

When you get an opportunity to meet your new boss, what should you do? This question comes up frequently in my member coaching hours, so I thought I would address it in a blog.

Your goals:

First think about what you are trying to accomplish.

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Stand out
  • Don’t be annoying
  • Be helpful
  • Be welcome for the next meeting

Think about how your new boss feels in this moment.

Start by putting yourself in their position.

How would you feel if you were new in this job, meeting dozens if not hundreds of people, trying to learn what you need to learn as fast as possible, and trying to share your point of view in a credible way?

What would be most useful to you, and What would be most annoying to you?

It’s important to remember that your meeting and conversation is one of a gazillion that he or she will be having while coming up to speed. And it’s also important to remember your boss is a human, who is probably tired, stressed and also trying to make a good impression.

DO’s and DONT’s

First, here are some DONT’s:

Don’t: Provide a long anything. Long meetings, long descriptions, long documents. It’s exhausting and not useful. Your story is only important to you in this moment. Don’t share too much.

Don’t: Make urgent requests or demands. They just walked in the door. It’s not the time to ask for stuff.

Don’t: Insist they explain their thoughts or strategies if they are not ready. Let them share as much as they want, but don’t push them for more information in the first meeting.

(By the way, I’ve had people do all of these things when meeting me as their boss for the first time. It was indeed annoying, and not useful.)

Here are some DO’s:

Here are DO’s to help you stand out in a positive way and add some value in that first meeting.

Be well informed

Don’t go to this first meeting without doing some homework.

Never ask your new boss for information about them that is readily available online. That is just wasting their time.

Do your best to learn what is important to your new boss before the meeting and use that as the context for everything you say.

Ask their assistant, ask others who have talked to them. Look online to learn their key accomplishments, and opinions and see if there are common themes they have written about.

Be curious

Now you’ve already got some information from having done your homework, but it’s also good to ask them about their plans and thoughts.

Ask, “What are you thinking is most important right now for moving the business forward? What are the biggest issues you see? What are the most important things that need your team to understand right now?”

If they are ready to talk about it, ask good questions but resist the urge to voice any disagreements in this first meeting. Resist the urge to tell them everything that you know.

This first meeting is about building rapport.

If you have concerns about what you are hearing, take notes, then go away and think about how you want to react or respond. But don’t do it in this first meeting, just listen.

Share your information efficiently – Translate

Once you know what is important to them, from your homework and your initial conversation, then you can translate how you talk about your work and your role to connect to something that is important to them.

For example, if you learn that they are driving to improve profit margins in the legacy business in parallel with an innovative new investment, tune everything you say to be part of one of those things.

Whether you are in Marketing, R&D, Supply Chain management, Sales, Finance…

Whatever your function, your story about what your team does should have the frame of the business drivers your new boss cares about.

What you share should not be a list of things in your function, full of your project names, jargon and acronyms. In this example what ever you say about your work should have the frame of improving profit margins on legacy or supporting the new investment.

And make sure to be brief!

Whatever you share, put it on one page. The time it takes to thoughtfully turn a huge pile of information into one page will be very worth it.

Don’t add weight

(Don’t give your new boss problems or questions in the first meeting)

If you have been anxiously waiting for your new boss to arrive to make decisions or resource approvals, don’t use this first meeting to ask.

The goal of this first meeting, like any other first networking meeting is to get invited back for another meeting.

If you start asking for things in the first meeting you are adding weight to the load your new boss is already carrying, which is heavy by definition.

You are much better off to share your plans in an inspiring way, translated and connected to the initiatives they already know about and care about. Then ask if you can have another meeting to discuss key elements of your plan later.

A wise mentor of mine taught me, you need to have the first meeting before you have the second meeting.

Unless your new boss asks you in that first meeting, “Is there anything specific that you need from me?”, don’t start asking in the first meeting.

Be helpful

(take weight away)

Offer to help. You can ask, “As you start this new role is there anything I can do to help you? Is there information I can collect for you? Are there any tasks that I can take off your plate?”

If you make your first impression as someone who is well informed, is already investing energy in the initiatives your new boss cares about because you talked about your work with the right frame, and offer to help, instead of giving them extra work, you will be seen as someone who doesn’t add weight. You’ll be seen as someone who takes weight away.

And as someone who doesn’t add weight, you will be invited back. You will stand out. You will be someone your new boss has time for.

My new book MOVE is about decisively executing strategy

Move thumb
Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successfull management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.

It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it!

Available in Feb: But you can pre-order!

Pre-order MOVE here

Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.

ABOUT PATTY:

patty blog image
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

More than one boss? Serving Multiple Masters


tug-of-war rope pull

Managing unreasonable expectations

“How should I deal with having more than just one boss, when all of them have unreasonable expectations? I serve multiple masters and they all act like their work is the only thing that I should be working on.”

This question comes up a lot in my Forward Program for professional development, so I thought I would answer it here on the blog.

Most of us at some point are working for more than one over-demanding stakeholder, so it’s important to have a strategy for when this happens.

When I have multiple bosses or stakeholders, here is how I manage it:

1. Share Context
2. Share the Problem
3. Share Expectations

1. Share the context

The first thing that you need to do is to make each of your bosses or stakeholders aware that theirs is not the only work on your plate.

I would do this by simply creating a one page communication document which has a column for each of your stakeholders. In each column you list the work that each of them is expecting you to do.

Whenever you meet with or communicate with your any one of your bosses/stakeholders, use this page so that they can see their work in the context of ALL the work that is on your plate.

Even if you don’t talk about it directly, this view of your whole workload will go a long way to making them realize that their work is not the only work you have.

2. Share the Problem

While you don’t want to say, “I have too much work to do and I can’t help you”, what you can say is:

“You can see that I have these 4 different areas of work from these 4 different executives.

I have done my best to prioritize among these things, but there is still a conflict because 3 of you are asking me to finish something that takes a week, in one week.

Do you have any ideas for how I might accomplish the best outcome given that these work streams are in direct conflict?”

At this point it will be much harder for any one of them to say, “Only my thing is important, forget about those other things”.

Although they may want to say that, you typically get an answer that is more like, “This one part is very urgent, and I think would only take a day or less. Is there any way you can do that right away for me, and then deliver the rest in the next 3 weeks?”

If you have this same converation with all 4 of your stakeholders in this manner, you are sharing the problem amongst the stakeholders instead of dealing with an impossible situation on your own.

If the situation is indeed impossible, and all 3 are saying, “You must do a full week of work for me right now”, this approach has let you lay the foundation to say, “I think it is important that the 3 of you talk about this so that we can agree on a path forward”.

If you don’t share the problem, you run the risk of being the sole owner for an impossible workload, which will not have a good outcome.

3. Share expectations

Once I’ve gone through the steps of sharing the context and sharing the problem, I create a high level communication document that shows the status of my work for all of the bosses/stakeholders. And then they all get the same high-level update.

It’s important to continue to share the full context when you set expectations because after you complete steps 1 and 2, there will be a amnesia that sets in. The tendency is for your stakeholders to forget that they are not the only one you work for.

By sharing ongoing communications that include the full context, you keep expectations set appropriately and you leave the door open to go back to step 2 when you need to.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download

Butting heads with your boss?


disagreement-gary-langley

The Chasm

Sometimes even when people agree, and like and respect each other, they can still find it frustrating to communicate — both can be really smart, capable people, but they just don’t get each other — they drive each other crazy.

The issue is that we all have our own preferred style of thinking and communicating.

When we are lucky enough to get a match with our boss, life is easy. When we end up as opposites, the interactions can be highly stressful and annoying, leaving both parties scratching their heads about why this is so difficult.

(If you are thinking Myers-Briggs, yes, that is a good way to explain this. But let me jump to specific point I want to make and I’ll put the Myers-Briggs stuff at the bottom for anyone who is interested.)

The Issue

These two types of people look at making progress very differently.

1. BIG PICTURE/GO
2. DATA/PROCESS/PLAN/STRUCTURE — then GO.

Because of that, what should be simple conversations often fall apart. Here are two examples of the problem.

Problem 1. BIG PICTURE/GO boss and DATA/PROCESS employee

(In Myers-Brigs, NP vs SJ)

Your boss says to you, “Make it so”.

You respond, OK, but here are the things we need to consider to make that happen. And we need to do this first, learn this, and fix this before we can complete that.

You feel like you are being smart and engaged, and in your own mind, this is what “full speed ahead” looks like — but what your boss hears is roadblocks, or excuses about why you can’t or won’t do it.

You start to feel your boss’s disapproval and frustration, but don’t get it. What you are saying is, Yes, I’ll do it! And here’s how. In your mind, you are showing your boss that you are capable and ready to take this on.

But what your boss’s reaction seems to be, Why are you arguing with me?

The more you talk about what it will take and how you will do it, the more frustrated your boss gets.

Solution: Stop explaining!

When your BIG PICTURE/GO boss says, “Make it so”, what you need to say is “Will Do!” and leave the room.

It’s import and to give him the, “YES and GO” feedback in the moment.

Any more information, explaining how it will work, or noting problems to solve at this point will not only NOT add value, it will aggravate him.

Your BIG PICTURE/GO boss is looking for you to join him on the “GO” wagon. Just say, I’ve got it. I’ll report back later. Then GO.

Once you are off on your own you can say to yourself, oh crap, this is difficult, we can’t just jump to that outcome, this might not work, we need to do all this other stuff first… At this time you can study the situation, get inputs, break the task down into steps, start solving problems, etc.

Stay in the Big Picture

Then when you go back to your boss, your BIG message is, I am making progress.

If you need some help, resist the urge to explain or show your work, and keep it a big picture request.

…I have broken this down into 4 areas. All are moving forward but one. I need you to make a decision on this one and then I can continue. Here are two choices.

Keep all of your sequence and process to yourself and reveal only what is truly required, to your boss.

You don’t need to show how capable you are by exposing the machinery. The good news is that your boss trusts you and doesn’t need as much data and sequence as you need.

Score points on your boss’s, terms not yours.

Problem 2. BIG PICTURE/GO employee – DATA/PROCESS Boss

What about the opposite, where you are the big picture/go person and your boss is the detailed, micro-managing, data/process person.

What happens here, is you say to your boss, I’ve got it, but then your boss wants to see all the spreadsheets and project plans. He is thinking about way more detail than you are, even though you are the one doing the work.

He expresses concern that you don’t have enough data. You feel like he doesn’t trust you.

You just want to get on with it and your boss is slowing you down.You are miserable going on data fetching exercises which are not helping you move forward.

Solution: Switch to productive detail

You won’t get away with not giving detail.

You will need to satisfy your boss’s need for detai. The trick is to satisfy this need for data and detail but to change the conversation so it doesn’t slow you down.

Here’s an approach I have used.

Always have a flow chart with you that shows what you are doing between now and delivering the outcome. Go into the conversation with at least a block diagram of your process. This can deflect a lot of detailed questions.

Focus his detail energy on getting more data about the outcomes, away from the process and activity:

…Are these measures OK? Are there other outcomes I have missed? Can you think of other things we need to test or measure to make sure this delivers what we need?

Bridging the Communication Gap

If you are having these kinds of dis-connects with your boss or employee, stop and think about how you are both reacting. Chances are, it’s a big-picture/go, data/process disconnect.

Once you are aware of if, you can start changing how you interact. This will lead to a much more productive and pleasant relationship, and you’ll get better business outcomes.

If you share this awareness and discuss your different styles, you might even find yourselves joking about it.

The worst outcome is to just stay frustrated, when you actually are in agreement and just having trouble communicating.

Myers-Briggs Information

If you are interested you can take a Myers-Briggs personality test here:

Here is the short-hand about what the assessment tells you.

On each of 4 scales there are two end-points and a range in between. Most people are more toward one end than the other on each scale, but seldom wholly one or the other.

Below are not the official definitions. These are my practical take-aways that I use as a rule of thumb when I interact with people. (By the way, I am an INTJ.)

1. I or E
How you learn and process information about the world: In your own head (I) or by talking things out with others (E)
Also, how you get and renew energy: By being alone (I), from interacting others (E)

2. N or S
How you form your picture of the world from that information: Big picture, top down (N), or bottoms up, built from lots of detail (S)

3. T or F
How do you decide what to do about it: Logic/thinking (T) or Caring/Feeling (F)

4. J or P
How you take action on it: Sequence and process (J), or Go now and learn as you go (P)

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook.

And make sure to read her book
RISE…
3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

The answers to your career struggles and your next promotion are in it!

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download
Buy

The true cost of bad managers


cost of bad managers

Bad managers cause real damage

When bad managers are allowed to run free, everyone suffers.

Employees Suffer

Employees feel unsupported, undirected, bullied, confused, unmotivated, unappreciated, frustrated, and constantly questioning, “is it me?” So they are not engaged and they are not productive.

Executives Suffer

When executives lack confidence in the team beneath them, they have to cover for, or recover from poor work and decisions from ineffective managers. They become overloaded because they have to do their job AND the job of their managers.

Business Suffers

When managers are not stepping up to do their jobs — making clear, good decisions and building a strong, capable team beneath them — then executives can’t fully do their jobs because they keep getting dragged down. Business progress slows or stops.

The Business Value of Good Managers

The research in this HBR blog article by Randall Beck and James Harter, Why are good managers so rare? shows that the quality of the managers impacts the success of the business more than anything else.

Here are some highlights:

Gallup has found that one of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name manager.

[...]

Bad managers cost businesses billions of dollars each year, and having too many of them can bring down a company [...] Businesses that get it right, however, and hire managers based on talent will thrive and gain a significant competitive advantage.

[...]

To make this happen, companies should systematically demand that every team within their workforce have a great manager.

[...]

If great managers seem scarce, it’s because the talent required to be one is rare. Gallup finds that great managers have the following talents:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.

Improve Your Managers

I find it very interesting that so many businesses have such a primary focus on revenue and cost cutting, but fail to put any focus on manager improvement — as though manager improvement is an unrelated “extra” — and not a path to higher revenue and lower cost.

Another way I see companies shoot themselves in the foot is to have a such strict hiring freeze to lower costs, that they do not allow replacements under any circumstances.

If you are trying to improve your business, the last thing you want your managers doing is “making due with the team they have”.

If you prevent replacements, you are preventing your managers from doing the most fundamental part of their jobs.

The most important thing a manager can do is to build a highly capable team beneath them — a team that is able to do what the business needs now and in the future.

If you have such a lock down on hiring that you prevent upgrading bad managers to good ones, you are seriously constraining the ability of your business to solve key problems to increase revenue and cut meaningful costs — things good managers with good teams do as a matter of course.

Imagination and Permission

I find that the key manager skills above listed in the article, motivating, driving outcomes, clear accountability, building trust, and good decisions, are indeed rare, but can be improved.

Many managers end up in management positions for reasons other than these.

The mistake I see many companies make is to expect people to automatically turn into good managers simply because they are in the job.

They miss the key step of telling their managers what makes a good manager, or setting clear expectations about what the job is.

Managers tend not to step up on their own because of issues with either imagination (they don’t know they are supposed to), or permission (they are not sure they are allowed to).

Imagination:

You need to get it into the mind of your managers that they need to be good at and do these new manager-things. Some poorly performing managers will do better, simply be being made aware of the game.

Permission:

Some people don’t think they have the permission to step forward and lead in this way — especially if no on has ever talked to them about it. You need to make it clear that not only is it OK, it’s required. And if they don’t have the skills or a plan to lead in this way, you need to train them or let them go.

Make your company stronger

My favorite line in the article is this one:

Companies should systematically demand that every team within their workforce have a great manager.

Amen.

I know in all of the management teams I have built, developed and run, there is nothing that has had as big an impact on my own success and the success of the business as getting the right team in place. All the ropes are tight.

If you’d like to learn about the manager improvement programs I do with my clients, contact me, or learn more here.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download