Understanding your role as a manager.

A relationship is required to get from one level of performance to the next and have been known to cause significant advance things from where they are to where they need to be. The absence of the right relationships have been known t be responsible for the decline of organisations, contributed to the failures of products and played a part in the delayed launch of key products.

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 People have been known to see other people treated as things, and treat things treated as people. This behaviour stems from a few things, amongst which is a focus on a perspective that says; “my side is the only side, and my way is the best – take it or leave it”. Though not always verbally expressed, this is the interpretation of various “well meaning” actions. When people are not treated well enough, productivity suffers as morale is low and chasing the vision is not as easy.

 Granted, there are reasons to use discipline as companies fail when this is not done, it seems the case that discipline is meted out not to make the ‘offender’ better, but to prove some esoteric point. The problem with proving a point is that it is just that – proving a point. It doesn’t make the superior party stronger in real terms, neither does it make the subordinate weaker. One outcome of proving one’s point in an I-am-wiser-than-you way is that one relationship that could have led to future partnerships is been dented. And that partnership opportunity always comes where a strong relationship would have come in handy. It has been argued that a lot of today’s networking is as a result of past relationships poorly managed.

An article in the Harvard Business Review by John J. Gabarro and John P. Kotter suggests that the onus is on the subordinate to manage her boss. The boss, naturally busy juggling numerous work demands and well aware of the deadlines (and the scarce resources) may not always remember the importance of investing in the subordinate. Therefore, the subordinate is expected to look for times when the boss is most approachable and work with that. Making the boss’s life easier by taking on some of the extra work and suggesting new ways of getting better results.

 But what happens where the manager creates time to lead? That is, to show the way, be the way and be the bridge too? Or isn’t that how today’s manager arrived at the hallowed manager position – that is through the help, support and (in some cases) permission of key influencers? It emerges that the most valuable managers tend to be demanding but are also supportive, providing the resources necessary to achieving results.

 Before managers chalk their names under this list, it is advisable that a stock count be taken of actions taken specifically to support the subordinate in achieving the set standards.

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