A Manager Must Be A Teacher

A good manager must be a teacher.

I wrote that note after watching a manager from another department come into the sales department and proceed to lecture a worker.

The manager was being critical of the person’s work in their usual condescending manner, telling them what was wrong with how they had performed their job.

Now the worker kept pushing back, explaining why they did what they did and how it was the correct decision at the time but the manager would have none of it.  The worker tried to explain how another department had assisted and directed them in doing what they did.

The worker suggested they should get together, the manager, the worker and the person from the other department and discuss this matter so they all three can understand the situation, get it right and make it acceptable for all parties.

The manager gruffly responded saying, “No, you two work it out and get me what I need.”

I really wasn’t surprised by this remark.  The corporate culture among management has become one of I’m too important and too busy to deal with this stuff you take care of it.

Having been a manager for over 17 years I agree managers can’t be responsible for doing subordinate’s work.  That’s why they hired them, to do a job so the manager can take care of the leadership responsibilities.

But leadership is not shouting orders and making demands.

Leadership is about taking your staff, department and company and getting the best out of everyone.  It’s about making people into one entity, taking them all in the same direction towards the common goal.

Your job as a manager is to teach everyone that common goal and to show them how to get there.

Everybody is different and everybody needs to be taught differently.  Part of your job as a manager is to know how to teach people and get the best out of them.

Some people need more than others and some need too much, those you need to direct elsewhere.

As a manager you need to get involved with your staff (at work and about work, stay out of the petty and personal).  You can’t just say do this and do that or I’ll have your job.  You need to convey expectations and make sure everyone understands those expectations.

In this particular instance the manager may eventually get what he wants after much frustration, time and expense, but since he doesn’t want to take the time to teach and convey his expectations and help people understand how to get there, he will continue to waste time and money as the problem will most likely keep repeating itself.

The management blames the operator.  The operator is let go only to have someone new come in and make the same mistake.

You have to be a good teacher to be a good manager.  Otherwise the only thing you’ll become good at is the interview process as both an interviewer and eventually an interviewee.

You are a manager to manage people, not numbers or quotes or processes, but first and foremost people.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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