What Does it Mean to be a Manager

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bones Biz

Today, let’s embrace the Manager position.  Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”  The “end” or the goal of the Manager is to have the people who report to you performing at or above minimum standards of performance.  It’s an awesome responsibility and it can be a super satisfying career.

The problem with the word “Manager”

Have you ever noticed this:  Someone gets promoted to manager because they are a fireball of energy and productivity?  Then, he or she becomes a chair-bound bossypants who never seems to actually do anything.

So, let’s shed these myths:

  • Management is a desk job.
  • Managing others depends on wielding your superior status on the Organizational Chart.
  • Managing others involves raising your voice.
  • Managers have a different set of rules than everyone else.

And, let’s adopt a new management model.   Management is about helping people – in the field and in the office – be successful. It is about leading by example and holding to the high personal and professional standards.  It is about helping a person with basic capacity and willingness meet and exceed expectations and measurable objectives.  Management is about the relationships that you develop with people who are aligned with common goals.

Now, let’s envision the ideal day in the life of a Manager.  It may go something like this…

Start the day…

Greet everyone you see with a “Good Morning” hand shake…look in their eyes and smile.

Check your email and update your calendar.  Review yesterday.  Celebrate what you got done.  Move forward (delegate?) what you didn’t. Respond to emails that need a responds.  Listen to or read something inspirational.

Check in with the other Managers.  Any late breaking news?  Weather issues?  Anyone not coming in today?  Update the work schedule and assign people-power.  TIP:  Keep the drama to a minimum by “Timing Out” the story. Just the facts, ma’am.

Invoice by invoice…

Visit with the team as they finish yesterday’s paperwork and update their Scorecards.  Don’t neglect to notice someone’s very good day or rockin’ invoice.  Brag on them in front of the team.  Ask them to relive, replay a positive interaction with a customer.  Notice when someone had a rough day the day before…and privately encourage them to, “catch the next one.”

The Sales and Service Meeting… 

Once a week, hold a meeting that celebrates Sales and good customer service. Update the Scoreboards.  Announce bonus achievers and contest winners.  Role play the whole Sales Process and incorporate the technical training.  Have some fun together.

Customer Challenges and Employee Issues…

Yes, you are the buck stops here person for customer complaints. Decide that you are going to enjoy the opportunity to turn around a frustrating situation.  It’s a wonderful skill to develop.

And, it’s your job to notice “willingness violations.” If someone is breaking the rules, take them through the disciplinary process.

Project time, Meeting time… 

Schedule time to work on things above and beyond the day to day duties.  If you don’t plan your time, someone else will.  Or it will slip through your fingers.  Work on projects (like your Operations Manual.) Participate in meaningful meetings.  Meetings are a good way to communicate update notes, and due dates for milestones, on your calendar.

You win some; you lose some.

You are just not going to get everything done every day.  And other stuff will come up.  You have to choose.  Every day…plan, execute, debrief and adjust. And, say goodbye to Mr. Slate.

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