Going from Good Manager to Great: Part 1

This is the first of a series of posts looking at what most managers need to work on if they are to go from being an OK manager to being a great one.

Understand the Maps

Part 1 – Learn to Read (and Shape) the Maps

Most managers have a pretty good idea of what they need to get done. They have their own map of ‘organisational’ priorities. Their management consists of allocating tasks and shaping work according to this map. It is the only map that matters!

Great managers understand that every employee carries around in his or her head their own ‘map’ of their priorities. Every one of those maps is different. And they all differ from the manager’s organisational map. Great managers know that it is these personal maps that really decide what gets done. It is these that hold the key to performance. Understanding personal ‘maps’ is crucial as they drive decision making and motivation. They provide the directions in which their owners channel their energy, skill and drive.

Each person’s map differs because of the beliefs that each person holds. For people who are confident and self-assured the maps are full of shallow gradients and interesting looking paths. For those who are less confident they are full of rocky precipices and ‘dead end’ canyons. Each persons map is dynamic an dis being continually shaped. Great managers play a full part in the shaping process.
For some people work is a place of stability and security where they want routine and fixed hours. These are the loyal soldiers who get things done. Others are innovators, mavericks and change-makers who are always looking for ways to change the world. For ‘loyal soldiers’ the maps are relatively gentle and serene – for the change monkeys they are a series of first ascents, usually with frequent falls and patches of white water. For most of us the maps cover mixed ground.

Great managers know that it is not enough to simply publish the organisational map – and hope for the best. They spend time in conversation with each employee helping them to explore the organisational map and to shape their own personal map appropriately.

The best way to improve your map-reading skill is simply to do it. Spend more time 121 with your people – looking for clues to their own peronal maps. Are they looking for a serene stroll or a wild adventure? Are they fired up by the thought or increasing margins or fearful of the consequences?

Spending just 30 minutes a week 121 with each person will be enough understand their maps and enable them to give their very best to work.

Improve your management map-reading skills here!

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