Wait, I'm The Boss?!?

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Wait, I’m the Boss?!? The Essential Guide for New Managers to Succeed from Day One Peter Economy, Inc.’s Leadership Guy WaitImTheBoss.indd 3 9/17/19 6:36 PM…
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Wait, I’m the Boss?!? The Essential Guide for New Managers to Succeed from Day One Peter Economy, Inc.’s Leadership Guy WaitImTheBoss.indd 3 9/17/19 6:36 PM This edition first published in 2020 by Career Press, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC With offices at: 65 Parker Street, Suite 7 Newburyport, MA 01950 www.careerpress.com www.redwheelweiser.com Copyright © 2020 by Peter Economy All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or trans- mitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval sys- tem, without permission in writing from Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. Review- ers may quote brief passages. ISBN: 978-1-63265-164-8 Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-­Publication Data available upon request. Cover design by TK Cover photograph © TK Interior by Maureen Forys, Happenstance Type-O-Rama Typeset in Crimson Pro, Drina, and Aquawax Pro [printer location TK] [printer TK] 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 WaitImTheBoss.indd 4 9/17/19 6:36 PM Introduction Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet. —HENRY MINTZBERG, management professor C ongratulations! You have been selected to be a manager in your organization. As you begin your leadership jour- ney, know that you have been chosen for good reasons. Your boss has seen potential in you as a leader and believes you have what it takes to move your organization forward. And, make no mistake about it. Managers make a very real difference in their organizations—they bring the weather. According to research conducted by consulting firm DDI (Development Dimensions International), organizations with high-­quality leaders are thirteen times more likely to outper- form their competition. Not only that, but DDI’s 2018 Global Leadership Forecast reported that the top two challenges for organizations today are (1) developing “Next Gen” leaders and (2) attracting/retaining top talent.1 It’s therefore in the inter- est of your organization—of every organization—to identify, train, and develop high-­quality managers. Managers like you. But there’s a problem. Most organizations do not train their new managers. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review by Jack Zenger, CEO of leadership development consultancy Zenger/ Folkman, on average, managers first get leadership training at WaitImTheBoss.indd 11 9/17/19 6:36 PM xii WAIT, I’M THE BOSS?!? age forty-­two. This is about ten years after they began super- vising people.2 In other words, they receive no training in how to lead others for more than a decade after they were assigned the job of doing so. According to Zenger, three specific problems arise when new managers aren’t given the training they need to do their job—and to do it well: 1. Practicing without training ingrains bad habits. Although it would be great if every new manager automatically absorbed good habits from their man- ager, the simple truth is that lots of bad managers are out there. And these bad managers make poor role models. In fact, researchers have found that over 35 percent of professionals have quit their job because of a manager, and 15 percent of professionals are con- sidering quitting their job because of their manager. 2. Practice makes perfect only if done correctly. The old saying “practice makes perfect” doesn’t really mean much when you’re practicing bad manage- ment. If you haven’t been trained in how to be an effective manager, then you could very well be prac- ticing the wrong approaches to management. 3. Your young supervisors are practicing on the job whether you’ve trained them or not. The simple truth is that when you’re put into a management posi- tion, you’ll try to be a manager—whether or not you’ve been trained to be an effective one. Again, chances are, bad management habits are being practiced and supervised employees aren’t at all happy about it. This can have all sorts of negative effects on employees and the organization, from lowered morale, to decreased engagement, to increased absenteeism, and much more. So, what can you do if you’re a new manager who hasn’t been offered any training in how to lead or be a manager? WaitImTheBoss.indd 12 9/17/19 6:36 PM Introduction xiii Read this book. And then put what you’ve read into practice. This book is a complete guide to all the things you need to know as a manager. And, although it’s written with the new manager in mind, it can also serve as a useful refresher for any manager, no matter how experienced they may be. Although technology and changing demographics have transformed the workplace in remarkable ways over the past several decades, the basics of managing others have largely remained the same. Employees know what they want from their managers, and they definitely know what they don’t want. In 2018, LinkedIn Learning released the results of a survey of nearly 3,000 professionals who were asked this question: “What is the single most frustrating trait you have experienced in a manager?” These four specific traits of bad bosses rose to the top: 1. Having expectations that aren’t clear or that fre- quently change (20 percent) 2. Micromanaging (12 percent) 3. Being aloof and not involved (11 percent) 4. Not fostering professional development (11 percent)3 In an article on LinkedIn explaining these survey results, leadership training expert Elizabeth McLeod weighed in on the #1 trait of bad bosses: A lack of clear expectations is the root cause of poor per- formance. Leaders often think they’re clear, but the data tells us a different story. Employees need to know why this matters (the purpose) and what good looks like (performance expec- tations). Show me a leader who says, “I shouldn’t have to tell them, it should be obvious,” and we’ll show you a team that isn’t clear.4 This book is all about learning how to be a good boss—an effective, perhaps even great manager and leader. I hope you get as much out of this book as I put into it. For further insights into management and leadership, please take a look through WaitImTheBoss.indd 13 9/17/19 6:36 PM xiv WAIT, I’M THE BOSS?!? my more than 1,500 articles on Inc.com (The Leadership Guy): https://www.inc.com/author/peter-­economy. I wish you well on your journey as a new manager! WaitImTheBoss.indd 14 9/17/19 6:36 PM PART I SO, YOU’RE NOW THE BOSS To add value to others, one must first value others. —JOHN MAXWELL, leadership author and speaker B ecoming a new manager can be a nerve-­racking and con- fusing experience for anyone who has never supervised or managed others. That, however, does not need to be the case. Anyone can become an effective manager given the right tools and some experience. In this Part, we will explore the basics of becoming an effective manager and creating a high-­ performing organization. Topics include • What managers do • Setting goals • Measuring and communicating employee performance • Creating a learning organization • Building teams and teamwork WaitImTheBoss.indd 1 9/17/19 6:36 PM WaitImTheBoss.indd 2 9/17/19 6:36 PM 1 Managers Do This (Not That) Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. —PETER DRUCKER, management guru T here has long been a controversy of sorts about what man- agers do, and how that differs from what leaders do—if it differs at all. This controversy can be summarized in the pre- ceding quote by management guru Peter Drucker. According to Drucker, the job of the manager is to do whatever assign- ments they take on right, that is, correctly and well. However, Drucker then suggests that the job of the leader is to be selec- tive about the assignments that they decide to do—to do only the right things. (And, I assume, to do those right things right.) Although I understand Drucker’s sentiment, I personally do not believe that management and leadership are mutually exclusive. The best managers I know are also the best leaders. They combine both jobs seamlessly, transitioning from man- agement to leadership—and back again—as required by the task at hand. The word management has traditionally been defined as “getting work done through others.” It’s the nuts and bolts of running a team, department, or organization. Leadership, on the other hand, is considered to be something a bit more WaitImTheBoss.indd 3 9/17/19 6:36 PM 4 WAIT, I’M THE BOSS?!? emotional—and inspirational. Consider these quotes about the power of leadership: My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better. —STEVE JOBS, cofounder, Apple You manage things; you lead people. —ADMIRAL GRACE MURRAY HOPPER, computer scientist The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —MAX DE PREE, former CEO, Herman Miller In this book, I’m going to give you the tools you need to become both a better manager and a better leader. For many of you, becoming a manager might have come as a bit of a surprise. One day you might have been working on your own project at the office—a skilled individual con- tributor to your team—and next thing you know, you’ve been assigned to manage the team. All of a sudden, your job has changed completely. Instead of just doing the work, you also have to motivate and lead others to get the work done. Chances are, you’re going to be expected to learn how to manage on the job, without any formal management training. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably draw from your own experience—looking to your own boss for examples of and pointers on how to be a manager. You’ll probably also take a look around at other managers to see how they manage and lead their people and their organizations. You can also learn firsthand from skilled mentors or teachers about the right ways to manage people, how to get things done for your organization, and how to properly serve clients. WaitImTheBoss.indd 4 9/17/19 6:36 PM Managers Do This (Not That) 5 But just as you can learn from others the right ways to manage and lead, you can also learn the wrong ways to man- age colleagues or teams. No organization is perfect, and exam- ples of bad management can be found everywhere: from the supervisor who insists on micromanaging to the boss who fails to properly communicate with their employees. Observe the managers you come into contact with, both within your own organization and in other organizations. Do they use intimidation and fear to get results? Are employees empowered and energetic when they come to work or do they seem disengaged? Pay attention to what you see and think about the different actions you would take in order to obtain the results you want. If the manager does all the work an employee was origi- nally assigned to do, or if a manager tries to make all decisions themselves, then that’s not being helpful. Part of the job of any manager is to scale their impact throughout the organi- zation. That’s done by delegating responsibility and authority to employees and then holding them accountable for the work they’ve been assigned to do. Before we get into the details of delegating work (which is covered in detail in Chapter 7), let’s first take a look at the four things every great manager does. FOUR THINGS EVERY GREAT MANAGER DOES TODAY If you took a business class in high school or college, you may recall the four “classic” functions of management: plan, orga- nize, lead, and control. The foundation of how a manager gets their job done is comprised of these four, and these basic func- tions can help you in your day-­to-­day management duties. However, I believe that these four classic management functions fail to reflect the reality of the new workplace, which is based on an entirely new partnership between workers and managers. This partnership is much more collaborative than WaitImTheBoss.indd 5 9/17/19 6:36 PM 6 WAIT, I’M THE BOSS?!? it was in the past, with employees and managers working together to achieve the organization’s goals. The time when managers ruled the roost by bossing around their employees and instilling fear in the workplace is, thankfully, behind us. Here are four things that every great manager does today. Empowers Remember the last time you were trying to do an assignment and your boss was questioning your every decision—con- stantly looking over your shoulder and asking you why you were doing what you were doing? This kind of micromanage- ment doesn’t get the best out of employees. Instead, it causes them to shut down—they wait for their boss to give them direction for every move they make. Instead of being engaged in their work, employees simply check out. We’ll take a much closer look at the sorry state of employee engagement today in Chapter 14. Today’s best managers empower their employees directly while establishing a corporate infrastructure (creating teams, skills training, and more) and culture that support empow- erment. Whether or not your employees say they want to be empowered, it is vital that you create an environment that enables and encourages every employee to give the very best of themselves on the job. Energizes Managers know how to make good things happen—for them- selves, the people who work for and with them, and for their organizations. They often bring strong technical skills, organi- zational ability, and work ethic along with them to their man- agement positions. But the one quality that transforms good managers into great ones is this: they know how to energize others. Have you ever worked for someone who added to your own natural energy? Perhaps they took you to a higher energy state and brought out your best performance by creating and WaitImTheBoss.indd 6 9/17/19 6:36 PM Managers Do This (Not That) 7 communicating an inspiring and compelling vision of what your organization could be, and what your role was within it. The very best managers inspire and excite employees and colleagues—unleashing the natural energy within them. They don’t sap the energy from an organization like poor managers do, but rather, channel and amplify it. A twenty-­first-­century manager knows how to successfully transmit the excitement they feel about their company and its goals to employees, in ways that can be understood and appreciated. Communicates You may already know firsthand the kind of positive effects that are created for a business when managers know how to communicate effectively with their employees. In contrast, you may also be familiar with the negative effects that can occur when a manager fails to communicate effectively and well. When managers fail to communicate effectively—whether it’s such things as making assignments, tracking project details, or setting expectations—they are missing out on a critically important role of management and are potentially reducing employee engagement. Communication, the lifeblood of any organization, is a key function of the modern manager. With the speed of business today constantly accelerating, managers must communi- cate information to employees faster than ever. In fact, with today’s technological advancements, managers have a wide variety of ways to communicate with their employees and get their messages across—email, text messages, tweets, video conferences, and more. Supports Your role as a manager is not to hover over the shoulders of your employees. Instead, it’s to support them. Rather than being a strict watchdog or police officer, a manager must become a coach and cheerleader for their employees—inspiring them to achieve more and better than they ever imagined possible. WaitImTheBoss.indd 7 9/17/19 6:36 PM 8 WAIT, I’M THE BOSS?!? Supportive managers know that it’s not all about shining a spotlight on their own achievements. They aren’t hungry for everyone’s attention. Instead, they shine a spotlight on the achievements of their people—providing them with the train- ing and resources they need, as well as the authority they need to make their own decisions and get things done. Sure, their people may make mistakes from time to time, but after all, how does anyone learn without making mistakes? What is critical is this: even if the employee falls down, today’s managers reach out a helping hand and pull them back up. WHICH MANAGEMENT STYLE SHOULD YOU ADOPT? More than most positions, the way you choose to do your job as a manager can and often does have a tremendous effect on the people around you. One style of managing, for example, might get your people inspired, excited, and engaged in their work, whereas another style might cause them to tune out and shut down. As a result, it’s particularly important to choose your style of management wisely. Think about how your current or former managers or bosses managed. What style did they employ on the job? How did their chosen approach make you feel? Your coworkers? Did it bring out the best in you and those with whom you worked, or did it cause you to shut down? Let’s take a look at three different styles of managing. The Theory X Management Style Do you believe management is something you do to people, instead of something you do with them? If so, you may iden- tify with what is commonly called Theory X management. This approach to managing assumes that people aren’t particularly motivated on their own to do their work. As a result, manag- ers who are believers in this style may utilize intimidation and fear as a means of getting a response and results. WaitImTheBoss.indd 8 9/17/19 6:36 PM Managers Do This (Not That) 9 Be careful, however. Although delivering threats and ulti- matums may bring about short-­term compliance, it almost always results in a long-­term decline in performance. Long-­ suffering employees simply quit and look for new jobs, or per- haps even worse, they chronically underperform—retiring in place. Managers must take command of their organizations— that’s an important part of the job—but in a way that doesn’t shut down employees or disengage them from their work. So, make sure that people are accountable for results and that goals are being attained. But remember to maintain respect for and clear communication with your staff. After all, the major- ity of employees who leave their positions do so because of the negative actions of their direct supervisor or manager. The Theory Y Management Style Some people believe that Theory Y management is the best approach for managers to adopt. This approach assumes that people basically want to do a good job and can and should always be trusted to do the work. The manager who adheres to this style is sensitive to an employee’s feelings, sense of self-­ worth, and tranquility. As a manager, you may get a response with this approach, but you are not likely to consistently get the best possi- ble results. Why not? Because there will always be someone (maybe more than one person) who takes advantage of bosses who adopt the Theory Y management style. They may consis- tently arrive late for work, call in sick, fail to meet their goals, and generally slack off. If the behavior of these employees is not corrected, then you’re setting your organization up to fail. Balancing Theory X and Theory Y When deciding which management style to adopt, keep in mind that balance is key. The style of management you adopt can be situational, that is, it can (and should) change depending on the situation or the person you are dealing with. Being a balanced WaitImTheBoss.indd 9 9/17/19 6:36 PM 10 WAIT, I’M THE BOSS?!? manager means removing company obstacles, creating a work- ing environment that allows employees to reach their goals, and spending more time and energy dedicated to one of your most important jobs: inspiring everyone to do their best. But it also means tracking employees’ progress toward achieving goals, regularly meeting with them to determine why they aren’t achieving their goals, and then helping them correct their performance. Employee
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