In John Hodgman’s humorous book, “The Areas of My Expertise,” he has sections entitled, “Were you aware of it?” It’s a parody of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and sample entry is, “Emily Dickenson collected little soaps . . . — WERE YOU AWARE OF IT?”
I would like to add an entry: “There is a way for managers to systematically deal with poorly performing and poorly behaving employees – WERE YOU AWARE OF IT?”
The Manager by Design blog advocates for a new field called Management Design. The idea is that the creation of great and effective Managers in organizations should not occur by accident, but by design. Currently, the creation of great managers falls under diverse, mostly organic methods, which create mixed results at best. This is the second of a series that explores the existing designs that create managers in organizations. The design discussed prior was, “Hire MBAs and Consultants.” Today’s design: Hire someone who has managed before.
In this “design”, organizations solve the problem of finding good managers by seeking people who have managed before. A more specific version of this is to put in the job description the requirement for people who have managed teams of a certain size: Have you managed a team of 5 or more people? 10 or more people? 50 or more people? By seeking this prior experience, organizations are making an effort to eliminate the error of having someone who is inexperienced in the role. With many management designs, hiring an inexperienced manager is far too risky.
Obviously, hiring managers from a pool of existing managers is an important way to reduce the risk and improve the quality of your management staff, and of course managerial experience tends to be better than lack of experience. However, overreliance on requiring management experience as the method of ensuring good management has its perils, because on its own, it’s bad design. Here are the perils: Read more
A popular thing for a manger to say—often in a team setting— is “Thanks for your hard work!” A popular addition is, “Thanks for your hard work and long hours.” Have you ever heard this? If you are a manager, have you ever said this?
The context is usually at the end of a project, after a release, or perhaps a budget review cycle. The managers says, “We put in a lot of long hours, and hard work. Thanks to all those who toiled to get this done!”
Hard work should definitely be appreciated, as it did, indeed get the work done. But is it worthy of praise? And in a team setting? I don’t think so. Read more
The Manager by Design blog advocates for a new field called Management Design. The idea is that the creation of great and effective managers in organizations should not occur by accident, but by design. Currently, the creation of great managers falls under diverse, mostly organic methods, which create mixed results at best and disasters at worst. This is the first of a series that explores the existing “designs” that create managers in organizations. Today I’ll start with a traditional way of finding managers: The education and prestige route.
In a previous post, I describe how it is important to provide some more details about what was good when you tell an employee “good job.” In this post, we look at the other side, “Bad job.”
When you want to say something like “Bad job” to your employee, you are actually striving to change behavior of the recipient of the performance feedback. On top of that, you have to get closer to the facts regarding what the person did. You aren’t allowed to say, “Bad job” (or “You really screwed up”)—this won’t change behavior for the better, but will serve to make the employee despise you. Instead of saying “Bad job,” start again with the event that happened to warranted the urge to say, “Bad job”. In essence, you’re starting a dialogue before rushing to “bad job”:
Manager: “I got that email from a customer that says that you haven’t provided an update on the delivery time frames. Can you explain to me what’s going on?”
If you are a people manager, you should be familiar with the concept of performance feedback. If you are not familiar with this topic, or are not actively providing it to people on your team, then read this blog. You need to start providing performance feedback, because it is a key skill employed by great managers, and will be a frequent tool in solving behavior and performance problems.
Performance Feedback is the act of discussing with your team members whether they are performing according to expectations, and what they should do differently or keep doing. It is typically given individually, but can be done as a team, as long as the feedback is on the level of the team, not the individual. Consider that an advanced skill. Let’s look at individual performance feedback for now:
When giving performance feedback, focus on what, specifically, the team member did, whether it met the standard of performance you were expecting, and what the team member should do differently or continue doing. Here’s an example of poor performance feedback:
Manager: “You did a great job.”
While this is a good example of positive reinforcement, this is a bad example of performance feedback. Read more
Welcome to the Manager by Design blog. This blog was created to help team managers improve in their ability to run teams. I’m talking about all sorts of managers, in any industry and at any level. This includes those just starting out as managers and those who have been doing it for years. I have seen too many managers struggle to run teams well. I have seen too many managers “freestyle” their way through the management tasks, and ignore others entirely.
Being a manager is tough, and managers develop their practices mostly through ad-hoc means. Management practices, whether good or bad, tend to be by accident rather than by design. It’s time this change and we develop a new field I’m pioneering, “Management Design.” The idea is that we can create and develop great managers by design rather than by accident.
If you are a manager of a team— subscribe to this blog to get regular tips and ideas for improving your management skills. These will be practical tips and concepts that you can apply when you’re ready.
For those of you in Human Resources, and are charged with Management Development (and even if you aren’t), read this blog for how you can – by design – improve how your managers are using the techniques and applying the skills necessary to be great managers.