This week I was reminded of one of the more challenging roles I have held and some of you will be about to face.
I call it The Rebuilder.
The rebuilder is a manager who is taking over an existing team or department and their job to truly complete is: To rebuild the team, rebuild the foundations, rebuild the confidence of the team or department and bring back performance throughout the team.
As Focus mission is to fix the broken world of work, we have spoken to a large number of “leaders” and managers about what is broken in their workplace and how we can collaborate on fixing fundamentals to complex problems that they are facing as a business or as a leadership team.
Our dedicated weekly Focus newsletter, leaders letters, helps people with a senior title evolve and become leaders or improve their leadership skills.
The Elephant In The Room
Let’s address the elephant in the room, managers and above rarely receive or seek out management coaching or training.
This is a big problem…
and importantly for their businesses.
Why is this a big problem? Your personal development will slow, your career will likely stagnate and your business performance will only hit a certain level.
Managers of all levels and experience require constant improvement, yes you can learn on the job, however, typically you do not improve any of your core skills or arguably, more importantly, your core weaknesses.
How can you improve any baseline numbers or hit targets or KPI’s when you are failing to improve yourself?
Professional Business Requires Coaching
Sports and business have many parallels, the difference is in almost all professional sports you have dedicated coaches, you receive coaching daily for your professional career and the majority of the team you are coached on improving your weaknesses and improving your core skills and then applying this in a team and squad environment.
Even the worlds best and greatest athletes are coached seek help and receive coaching every day! This should be no different for business professionals.
This very rarely happens in the work setting, the only time this happens is when executives are recommended a coach or a startup is maturing and the investment team seeks out a coach for a founder or the founding team.
Career Stagnation Is Your Problem
Almost every career stagnates at one place or another, this can be more many reasons, the most common; you stop wanting to progress and seek out help, seek out improving your weaknesses or seek out a mentor or a professional coach.
Step up and develop your career!
Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First
Put on your own oxygen mask is a famous business quote that translates to look after yourself first, this could not be truer notably when it comes to actually helping your team or business improve, if you are not improving yourself, how are you improving others?
Invest In You
One of the big takeaways in talking to leaders is they end up not using their training budget or “wasting it conferences”.
Stop wasting your annual training budget on conferences you learn small and disposable pieces of information or fail to attend because you are too busy.
Get Focus:Professional Management Coaching
Focus offers a tailored package that has been built for managers across all levels, whether you are a:
A newly promoted manager
A Head of Team or Head of Department
A Director who is lacking confidence or delivery is slipping away
A VP who is too busy juggling meeting requests and sitting in back to back meetings to develop themselves or their team
A C-suite member who has become detached from their discipline or lost their influence over their team.
We work together with you, we then:
Build a tailored package to your specific situation
Build a growth plan together
Build your skills, session by session
Build out your confidence and communications skills
Build out a set of templates for you to use and roll out internally
Each coaching session is 60 minutes and virtual. Each session is one to one, with homework to improve your skills and actions to tackle and roll out after every session.
No Timewasting! To ensure we are compatible and you want to be coached, we arrange a quick 15-minute session to run your situation and see if we would be a good fit.
The packages can be paid for directly from your business or if you are looking to pay for this yourself this can be set up. This enables you to invest in yourself or your company to invest in your long term success.
Get in touch below to start your coaching with Focus.
This week’s anonymous career advice comes from “middle manager with middle manager problems”.
Dear focus, I am a self-taught manager and I struggle managing my team and manage my manager’s expectations. What is the best way to develop my management style of managing my manager and managing my team?
There is something quite important about understanding you can improve as a manager and improve managing those around you and those you come into contact with regularly.
An issue managers face is typically being able to create time to manage, to do their own work and manage out managers, or at least their expectations.
Middle management is the hardest area of management, it is often the time you learn most about the work environment, the way people are motivated and what expectations truly are.
Personally, I have a belief that management is an art form that a tiny per cent of people have managed to crack, it evolves every day and with every interaction, so this advice won’t be perfect but will be a guide to help you improve as a manager and improve communications and expectation management.
Managing up is about relationships and time management, most senior managers are time-sensitive and struggle to have much time to dedicate themselves to one to ones or one to few.
From experience key to managing up is to communicate the most important aspects and goings-on with clear thought and in digestible chunks. Being able to have an exec summary and a list of objectives and the ways you are thinking of tackling those objectives often puts you on the front foot.
One issue to countermeasure is handling the requests and helping your manager to know when you can take more work on and when they need to take work off you. This happens with a relationship and having clear one to ones and clear communications around hurdles.
Managing around you is an area many ignore as managing those managers in the same position as you are is an important part of your development and building a support network.
Managing Your Team
Managing your team is always a challenge, something that has been a help in my career is working out the individual motivations and the way people want to be managed and compare to how you manage them. Surprisingly you will find some are motivated by praise, others are motivated by money and some are motivated by knowing they can improve.
Being able to have open conversations, help problem-solve together and collaboratively and speak on the right level will help you have better relationships and improve as a manager, being trusted and proving you have their best interests is vitally important. This comes with time and having their back and supporting them by knowing when they need you, when they want you and when they don’t know they require support and guidance.
An important lesson: saying my door is always open and not being available is something that upsets and frustrates your team far more than you will know.
More actions you can take to proactively progress as a manager:
Ask to co-create leadership principles to roll out to your leadership teams if this does not exist and will enable you to understand different situations and working environments particularly if you have access to broader teams, for instance: tech vs non-tech management are completely different challenges.
Leadership is not a linear journey and often you learn more in challenges than you do when everything seems to be going well.
Keep up on knowing you want to progress and being proactive in developing out your career.
Finally, never discount free resources on YouTube, LinkedIn and don’t be afraid to invest in books.
LinkedIn’s growth and development under Jeff’s guidance has been incredible and has strategically transformed LinkedIn from an occasional visit to a daily utility for many businesses and professionals. If you haven’t already watched Jeff’s famous all hands from 2016, watch it at the bottom of this letter.
Future Focus Something to remember this week, while looking forward to the future, ask yourself how are you looking to develop your existing staff. It’s easy to look at the upcoming months and look at the list of objectives you want to hit, however, without your people in recent months the business wouldn’t be in the place it is today.
Help to develop personal growth plans together with your leaders and their teams. Ensure you make and take the time with your managers to create personal development plans for each team member, fix dates and milestones in to understand the progress and how you can continue develop your team.