The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.
Over the course of my 19 year career, I have seen both the best and the worst people managers. Great managers are so hard to find, and just because someone is a great professional doesn’t mean they’ll make a great manager. So how do you avoid putting people in management that are doomed for failure? The key is to uncover their motivation for being in management.
The best managers are those that understand and embrace the concept of “Servant Leadership”. They believe their job is to serve their team, grow their team’s skills and confidence, remove hurdles and obstacles they face, and give credit and power back to the team. The worst managers are in management for the status, the title, the control, the perks. They’re in it for themselves rather than for their teams.
Culture Building Tip
To prevent hiring or promoting “bad managers”
- Invest in a personality profile that provides insight into a candidate’s emotional intelligence skills.
- Don’t make management the ultimate status in your company. Reward, recognize and promote subject matter experts who don’t desire to manage others, so you don’t create a culture where management is the only status of success.
- If you do promote someone to management, first equip them with supervisory training on how to do so. If they struggle, consider giving them an “out” that doesn’t tarnish their reputation. Accept that management is not for everyone and correct those mistakes as soon as you know coaching won’t improve their style.
- In the interview process, ask the question “What is your motivation for being a manager?” If in their answer they say “I” more often than “team”, they’re likely not pursuing the manager’s seat for the right reasons and are more likely to be ineffective.