This article was based on episode 79 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Stitcher. Get a copy of John’s book 10 Key Traits of Top Business Leaders when you become a member at mamieks.com/join.
Do you remember your first day as a new manager? Maybe you were promoted. Maybe you were hired in, or maybe you grew your own team. However you got there, you were now responsible for one, two, or even more people. You were lucky if you made it to your second anniversary as a new manager. Research has found that 60% of new managers fail or seriously underperform.
Your first day may have been decades ago or just last week. Either way, according to John Murphy, the lessons that will enable new managers to start off strong are useful to all of us.
John Murphy has always been fascinated by the subject of leadership. Throughout a career which began as a salesman and progressed to serving as CEO of a Pan-European insurance company he developed a keen understanding of what great leaders bring to the processes of hiring, coaching and mentoring. He is the founder of John Murphy International and is an internationally successful coach, author, and speaker.
THE TEAM IS A REFLECTION OF THE MANAGER
When a team is struggling, john asserts its more of a reflection of the manager than the team. The manager’s role is to facilitate the team to accomplish its objectives. Often, when the team isn’t working well, it’s in part because the manager is suck in a command and control mentality.
This is all too common for new managers whose understanding of what managers do is informed almost exclusively by their past experiences with former bosses. It’s also deeply ingrained in many cultures. The challenge is that the current needs and expectations of employees doesn’t align with the old hierarchical way of managing a team.
In John’s experience, the more a manager tries to lead through control, the greater the disengagement of his team members. In essence, the command and control operating system will exacerbate the gap between the manager and the team, rather than solve it.
FROM A COMMAND AND CONTROL TO SUPPORT AND SERVE
A manager’s job is not to direct people, but instead to grow and support them to be the best versions of themselves and work as effectively and efficiently as possible. This type of management is called Servant Leadership.
John provides this visual: Organizational structures are typically pictured as triangles with the most senior person at the top and everyone else in various positions underneath. The inversion of this illustration depicts servant leadership. The servant leader or manager sits at the bottom and supports, assists and empowers those pictured above them.
To make this shift, it’s helpful to ask the following questions:
What is it about me that makes me worth following?
What’s our team purpose, vision, core values? How can I role model these?
What does success look like for each of my individual team members?
What does success look like for me? What does my boss think success is?
When you have these conversations with your team, you begin to align in ways that build trust and establish your leadership approach as supporting, rather than dominating, others.
START STRONG BY IMMERSING YOURSELF IN THE ORGANIZATION
John recommends being proactive and formulating a deep understanding of the people, organization’s fundamentals, and skills needed to succeed in the new managerial role.
Educate Yourself: Don’t just listen to what people tell you. Get a good feel for the organization by reading its strategic, operational and business plans. Learn about what matters to the business’s success.
Build Relationships: Reach out to your new stakeholders, whether external or internal. Work toward building interdependent, supportive relationships with clear expectations. When you manage these relationships well, these individuals become brilliant allies for both yourself and your team.
Grow Your Skills: Managers have new activities they are responsible for such as planning and leading meetings, giving feedback, etc. Study the tools and processes to build your ability to be effective at these critical responsibilities.
Set Expectations: Meet with your team as a group and individually to coordinate goals and other expectations such as important values and norms for how you’ll work together.
JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE Called A MANAGER DOESN’T MEAN YOU KNOW HOW TO MANAGE
We all can continue to develop the skills of people management. It’s up to you to build relationships, find resources, and invest in yourself to become a great manager. With a servant leadership mindset, a desire to develop authentic and mutually valuable relationships with and beyond your team, a shared vision for success, and an orientation to keep learning, you’ll be on the right path.
KEEP UP WITH JOHN
Get a copy of John’s book 10 Key Traits of Top Business Leaders when you become a member at mamieks.com/join along with dozens of other guest bonuses and episode guides.
This article was based on episode 79 The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.