Sunday, July 8, 2012

Manager should be an inspiring coach

It's hard to transition from individual contributor to manager role.  Becoming a manager is equivalent to applying for a brand new job.  As individual contributor, the person is measured by how much work he completed.  When he becomes a manager, he is no longer measured by how much he got done.  He will be measured by how much his direct reports were able to accomplish.

There is a world of difference in doing what you do very well vs. motivating someone else to do very well.  It is entirely different kind of art.  Understanding how to be successful as individual contributor helps.  But that's just one of ingredients to become a successful manager.  Manager has to inspire, motivate and coach his direct reports to get better at what they do.

Over the weekend there were two articles that talked about how star performer does not necessarily make a good manager on Harvard Business Review.  Top contributor can fall in to a trap of knowing that he can do better than anyone and jump in to complete the task, thus failing to delegate.  This can produce even worse side effect of demoralizing team members if not done right.  Top contributor also tends to get the spotlight and get all the credits for completing the task even if it was a team effort.

Manager should be an inspiring coach.  It should be someone mentoring individual players, inspiring them, coaching them, and leading them through difficult times to help them become better.  Objective of the game is not to get the fame and glory for himself, but to win as a team and help everyone grow in the process.

Being a good manager is a truly difficult role to play.  It requires selflessness of saint, eternal optimism of a child, energetic display of a cheerleader and inspirational messages like Robin Williams' performance in Dead Poet Society.

No comments:

Post a Comment