A successful manager is focused on their team. They can communicate a vision, they can lead and they can direct and manage. In doing so, a successful manager will generate outstanding performance. So how do you become a successful manager?
I was recently asked to assist with a team that was experiencing problems. The team had undergone great change, including 40 per cent staff turnover and their leader had been newly appointed to the role having been promoted internally. The manager wanted me to get the team to ‘gel’, but after meeting with her it was clear that what needed to come first was the manager’s shift to leader.
The manager was stressed out and stretched. She was managing multiple projects and attempting to straddle both her previous role and her new role as manager of multiple stores. It was not a surprise that the team was experiencing problems, but she was struggling to understand. I gave her an analogy to explain her situation.
Conducting an Orchestra
Let’s imagine an orchestra positioned on stage, with the various instrumental groups and the conductor at front. In order for the orchestra (team) to be in perfect harmony and perform in an outstanding way, what must the conductor (leader) do? The conductor needs to be confidently in command. They need to have a clear understanding of what the musical director wants to achieve, then translate that understanding into a clear vision. They need to inspire, excite and engage the musicians, then ensure everyone is aware of what they need to do and where they fit in the overall picture.
They need to inspire, excite and engage the musicians, then ensure everyone is aware of what they need to do and where they fit in the overall picture
Staying with this analogy, the manager of the team was trying to conduct a performance while also trying to play the violin, manage the lighting and oversee the concert marketing. It’s little wonder she was achieving little with her team and they needed to ‘gel’.
Making it Happen
Imagining herself as the conductor, the manager then explored what had to happen to conduct her role well. She identified her purpose, her role and her goals. She identified what she needed to focus on, what she needed to delegate and what she needed to outsource.
After going through this process the manager brought the team together to explain where the business was going (vision), the big goals for the next 12 months and the conductor analogy.
I then facilitated a discussion around what needed to change in order for their manager to lead effectively. The team identified opportunities such as backing their own decision making rather than going to her with minor questions; senior staff put their hand up to train new staff and were excited by the opportunity. In essence, the team stepped up to share their manager’s responsibilities.
By the time the session had ended everyone was on the same page with their own personal action plan, as well as a shared understanding of the pressure the manager had been under.
Rachael Pickworth is a multi-award winning entrepreneur who established, built and sold her own business before building MAD Leaders, to assist leaders to be the best they can be and make their unique difference. For more than 13 years she has worked with staff, teams and managers from organisations including PWC, L’Oréal Professionnel, Cities of Darebin, Stonnington, Kingston and Yarra, AGD Mining, Quix Foodstores, VicRoads, Orica, Myer Limited, Link HR Consulting, 3M, Orica and Telstra’s Top Talent Identification Team.
Five Things Your People Want From Their Work
People want to…
1. Be led;