I will be doing a webinar this Friday on the topic of high impact thinking. I shared the beliefs that I felt helped improve managerial success in my book, High Impact Middle Management. I udpated the list for the webinar, adding a few emerging beliefs. Here they are, tell me what you think - no pun intended.
How to Think Like a High Impact Manager – 2012 Edition
How do you define success? Which mindset will serve you well?
How do successful managers define success? I have noticed that highly successful managers approach their work differently than their less successful peers. What’s more, many of these same ideas are held by successful senior executives. This is important to note because a senior leader’s expectations of his or her managers will tend reflect his or her beliefs about how success is achieved. It also means that this mindset will serve you well throughout their career progression. Would you like to AMP UP your impact? Consider taking on, and acting consistently with, the following beliefs:
Management is a social act—With every meeting you attend and every conversation you take part in, there is an opportunity to either add to or detract from the quality of the relationship. Managers need the support and cooperation of those they work with. Management is a social act. It occurs in conversations. Conversations are your currency for creating progress and getting things done.
Human systems are chaotic and managers manage human systems—Great managers spend more time and energy working on systems, connections, and nonlinear human processes. Nothing is ever cut and dry, right? Expect that the most fruitful path to success might be indirect – oblique – circuitous – meandering. Facilitating progress is incumbent, then, upon making connections that move things forward.
Managers exist to enable people to do their best work in the service of organizational goals—The most “results oriented” thing you can do today is to help someone, or a team, do their best work. What do you do that enables excellence? Do more of that. Think about what your manager does that helps you do your best. Ask your team members what you can do to help them to their best.
Great managers do what others won’t or don’t—The difference between great managers and less effective ones is not the college degrees they hold or their Fortune 100 company experience. Great managers do things that others put off, avoid, or ignore. They still dread doing these things or are uncomfortable doing them, but they do them anyway.
Managers are “make something happen” people—Your job is to think creatively and proactively, and take initiative to improve the business and your team’s performance. This belief reinforces the concept that it is NOT a manager’s job to maintain or oversee what would otherwise happen on its own.
Managers should be outstanding role models because they influence the culture and tone of the business—It is not OK for managers to be unprofessional or model undesirable behaviors. Said another way, you must model the best of what you seek. It is a burden and a privilege. We don’t get to be disengaged. We don’t get to talk trash even if it relieves stress. We don’t get to roll our eyes at leaders who say things that demonstrate how disconnected they are. We don’t get to complain about the culture – we build it. We don’t get to be poor team members or partners. Your team members and peers are watching and will emulate you when they decide how they should respond to situations.
Adaptability is the key competency of our time – be flexible like Gumby! —When you show your teams what agility looks like in action, you are showing them how to work and thrive in today’s times. Agility is a mindset, and it is a set of practices, a way of working that can be both strong and nimble. Managers must have their finger on the pulse and know when changes in approach make sense and would be of benefit. Be open to exploring new options and creative solutions and resist the urge to get comfortable with the status quo.
“Managing” is real work—Managers should want to spend time managing and facilitating the work of others. Managers who do not believe their job is interesting and desirable will not likely serve themselves, or their organizations, well. Helping someone is real work. Coaching someone is real work. Facilitating a conversation is real work.
Great managers are coachable and responsive—Being defensive or combative does not reflect favorably on any manager. Being open and flexible makes one seem more intelligent and talented. If you have the constant need to prove that you are right you will undermine relationships with your superiors and your subordinates. Coachable managers learn more. Management is a hard job. We need to learn. We all need to be coachable.
Dysfunction is the context from which you manage, not what’s getting in your way —Organizational life is messy. People generate drama. Politics often trump courage. Styles clash. People don’t let others into their sandboxes. Stuff breaks. Great managers know that dysfunction IS and that helping their teams work through and in spite of it is part of their work as a barrier buster. Don’t have dysfunction be “wrong” or a “problem.” Minimize or eliminate it when you can, but otherwise, get over it and on with the work. Don’t let it stop you.
Being a manager is the best job ever! —If you want to have an impact, if you want to help make people’s lives better, if you want to make things happen, if you want to leave a mark, you must manage. There is no greater way to make a difference. The opportunity to affect your team members’ lives and careers is a humbling experience and an honor. Enjoy this opportunity and tap into the compelling nature of management every day.
This list of beliefs forms a powerful definition of success, don’t you think?! Tweak this to fit your situation and goals. For example, if agility is a key area of growth for your group over the next few years, put that one near the top of your list.
Imagine what a workplace would look and feel like if all managers took on this mindset. The atmosphere would be electric, exciting, and highly productive. What a great place to work!
Here’s the amazing part: You can adopt these beliefs right now and they will begin to work immediately. How might your world change if you more fully adopted, and acted from, these beliefs? What might be possible?
Which ONE BELIEF has the potential to make the greatest difference for you? Take this belief on – big time – all next week. I promise you that your world will change. Promise!