Leading Managers

Many leaders become frustrated with mid-level managers because of the perception they’re not doing their jobs adequately. When you really dig into this observation, it’s often because new mid-level managers don’t fully understand what is expected of them.

The leader is responsible for outlining the core elements of what is expected from managers. Here are some guidelines to consider:

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Meeting Madness

Do you have too many meetings in a typical week? It happens a lot, and you can suffer from “meeting madness” as a result. This is an affliction caused by too many meetings that aren’t focused, take too long, and accomplish a tenth of what you expect. Here are some tips to consider.

Start and end on time. The obvious breach is when people are late. That isn’t fair to those who are on time, especially if it means that you won’t complete what you expected to accomplish. As important, however, is having a firm end time. Stay true to the end time even if you haven’t completed the agenda. It will help build the discipline to end on time in the future.

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Jump In or Hold Back?

When is the best time for a manager to jump in and redirect an employee’s actions? If there was an easy answer, we’d be able to magically click an app that could predict the perfect moment. Nice idea, but not happening!

Managers often struggle with this timing. If they start too soon, they become micromanagers. If they wait too long, they may be too late, and the employee may have made a big mistake. As each situation is different, you need to decide based on the actual circumstances.

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The Office Whisperer

Every organization has its gossipers. Usually, it’s an innocent part of organizational life – you see Joan in the break room and one thing leads to another, including a little buzz about what’s happening in the marketing department.

Other times, though, there are certain people who feel it’s their personal mission to find out everything that’s going on. They will do whatever they can to “dig for dirt” even where no dirt exists.

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Accountability for Others

Managers often ask how to hold their employees accountable. This is a difficult question to answer, because one of the biggest variables is your organizational culture. Some cultures support their people when it comes to accountability issues, while others cast blame.

If your culture is focused on learning and growth, you tend to tie accountability with learning and professional development. For example, if Sarah misses an important deadline, the manager will discuss what happened to create that result. Sarah may have had a good reason but didn’t communicate it ahead of time.

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Acknowledgments

People don’t need to be acknowledged all the time. In fact, if you’re constantly praising someone, it can become noise after a while.

But that isn’t normally the case. More often than not, we don’t give sufficient acknowledgement to the people who make our lives easier/better/more comfortable. As yesterday was Random Acts of Kindness Day (which I introduced two weeks ago), take a minute to acknowledge someone who isn’t expecting it.

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The Benefits of Patience

The more stressed people are, the more impatient they become. When impatient people congregate, mood and morale gets worse…and bad feelings accelerate.

Leaders know the value of patience. Those who exercise it regularly are rewarded by everything from diffusing people’s anxiety and bad moods to making better decisions.

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A Toast for the New Year!

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard this dozens of times in the past few weeks, “I can’t wait until this year is over.” It’s not surprising given our current environment.

What with the severely contagious Omicron variant crushing massive swaths of the population or rushing to complete year-end deadlines or worrying about inflation, challenges like these have accumulated quickly and definitively.

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Juggling Priorities

Many people take a deep breath at the beginning of December. The realization that there’s only one month left in the year comes as a shock, no matter how many times you’ve gone through it!

The people who succeed are those who manage their priorities effectively. Not all priorities are equal! On the other end of the spectrum are people who are unrealistic about what can actually be completed in the remaining available time.

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