Author Ellen Ensher covers the distinction between management and leader, walks you through a day in the life of a manager, and discusses the importance of focus and clarity.
- Think of someone you know who's quit their job. Why did they quit? Buckingham, an expert on employee engagement says, "People leave managers, not companies." In the 2018 Harvard Business Review, authors found that people quit their jobs when their jobs were not enjoyable, their strengths weren't being used, or they weren't growing in their careers. In other words, you wanna be the manager that people stay and perform for, not the ones they quit.
To make that happen, be a leader as well as a manager. Before anything, let's define management. According to management guru Peter Drucker, management is about setting goals, organizing activities, motivating employees, communicating, measuring performance, and developing people. What is leadership then? To paraphrase hundreds of leadership books, leadership is the process of influencing and developing others to perform towards set goals or a vision.
Or in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, "Leadership is about making others better "as a result of your presence." Being a manager and being a leader are not the same thing. However, the best managers are also leaders. So when you become a manager, you don't automatically become a leader. You have to earn and work at it. There's been a lot of research at characterizing the daily life of a manager as having a great deal of variety, fragmentation, and brevity.
This means you have a lot of different types of tasks to do, that you have a lot of constant interruptions and only brief windows of time to think or (inhales) just take a breath. Let's step into the shoes of a busy HR manager and consider how much this professional's day is like yours. 6 a.m., wakes up and responds to 15 emails about next steps on a training workshop and gives direction about the best candidates for an open position in sales.
Get up, get dressed, and drop kids at school. 7:30 a.m., drives into the parking structure and sees a handful of people with signs picketing in front of your office. This is now your job to figure out what is going on and the best way to enable your employees and customers to get into the building. 7:45 a.m., grabs a cup of coffee and checks out top news headlines. Notices that your main competitor just added paternity leave to their suite of benefits, so makes a mental note to explore this.
7:52 a.m., two employees walk in for a curriculum design brainstorming session. This is an interrupted by an urgent text from your daughter who has forgotten her lacrosse stick and has game after school. And the beat goes on. Tired? Exhilarated? Maybe both. Recent management research finds the average time a manager spends on any one activity is somewhere between 48 seconds to nine minutes.
So how do successful managers thrive with high demands? According to Daniel Goleman, it's all about maintaining focus. Goleman says, "Directing attention to where it needs "to go is the primal task of leadership. "Talent here lies in the ability to shift attention "to the right place at the right time." We've just scratched the surface of management. I recommend that you conduct informational interviews with managers in your organization and industry to see how they focus and thrive.
Business professor Ellen Ensher defines what management is in the era of the global workforce and exactly what the role of the manager involves. She explains how to create a compelling vision and culture for your organization, define business goals, and connect the big picture to your team's daily tasks. Next, discover how to build your team, partner with HR on hiring and firing decisions, and coach and mentor employees. Ellen touches on topics that are on the mind of today's leaders—resilience, trust, storytelling, and more—and shares tips to become the best professional version of yourself.
- Roles of a manager
- Becoming a new manager
- Engaging employees
- Creating a compelling vision and culture
- Setting goals
- Hiring and training
- Evaluating performance
- Coaching and mentoring