Advice from Bosses

I ask the managers of people participating in the Leadership Seminar to give their best management advice.

Great Insights from Local Managers

What are a couple things you wish you had known about being a manager before you became one?

  • I wish I had had the savvy to know that you can’t have all direct reports be just like you. At first you think if all the direct reports were just like you, then everything would work better. When you know better, you understand that it is much better to have a variety of people because a weakness in one person is offset by a strength in another person.
  • I would have liked to have understood the difference between leadership and management.
  • I also wish I better understood earlier in my career how incredibly important good communication was/is to good leadership and good management; it is easy to agree that good communication skills are important, but it is entirely a different matter to take the time and put forth the effort to develop those skills.
  • How much work it is to being a good manager, i.e. developing people skills, learning about personality colors (red, orange, blue, green), being a good listener (two ears and one mouth), learning that everyone has their own style of doing work-unlike my own, the ability to delegate responsibility to prioritize and set deadlines, communication skills (verbal and written).
  • Proper and effective tools for communication, and when to communicate and document.  E-mails are great for forwarding information and guidelines, but personal conversations have their place as well.
  • I wish I had known how much other people pay attention/notice everything you do and take so to heart everything you say.
  • How much is demanded of a Manager.  The demands on a manager come from all levels from subordinates to superiors, customers and boards.  Many times none have a clue, or care, what the others expectations are or the conflicts it creates.
  • If you don’t confront, you condone.
  • Each individual you have to manage is unique so you need to develop individualized management techniques for each person in order to be effective.
  • A basic key of management is to create clear expectations, communicate those expectations, and hold people accountable to those expectations.
  • Don’t think that because you are someone’s manager you are responsible for solving all of his/her problems.  Sometimes the problems are in fact your responsibility but often the employee is the person who needs to solve his/her own problems.  There’s a difference between listening and coaching someone to solve his/her own problems and trying to solve them FOR them.
  • Managers are nothing without their crew and are generally more expendable.
  • Mishandled authority will quickly make you the enemy.
  • Good hiring is the key!
  • Nip things in the bud when they are happening.  Don’t wait until a formal review to confront an employee with a list of things they need to change.