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Expand Your Mind: About Managers

by Miki Saxon

Great managers hire the best people available—even when managing them is outside their comfort zone. One of the most challenging differences happens when introverts hire extroverts and vice versa, but there is more information available for the latter than the former. That said, here is something for all you introverts stressing over managing those noisy, pushy extroverts you were smart enough to hire despite the discomfort.

You’re a quiet introvert leading or managing others at your company. Odds are, then, you have a couple of not-so-quiet extroverts on your team. So how can you get the very best from these “too talky” types? Know what makes them tick and help give it to them.

Does your manager on a given project constantly touch base to see how things are going? Does it annoy you? Would you be surprised to know that the technique works, especially when managing non-direct reports?

Managers who are deliberately redundant as communicators move their projects forward more quickly and smoothly than those who are not.

Just how much difference does a middle manager make to the success of a knowledge-based company? Especially as compared to the innovators who do the actual work and the executives who set vision and strategy? Quite a bit according to Wharton management professor Ethan Mollick.

Managers accounted for 22.3% of the variation in revenue among projects, as opposed to just over 7% explained by innovators and 21.3% explained by the organization itself – including firm strategy, leadership and practices.

I find it very annoying when excellent advice is so specifically targeted in title language that those who aren’t part of the designated group skip it because they assume it is valuable only to the reference in the title. So as you read the next few offerings ignore the focus and consider how to adapt the information to your own situation.

Have you ever wondered which skills to hone to further your career or to develop in your people to help them grow? Skills that also can benefit people who may not want management, but still want to have more influence?

These C.E.O.’s offered myriad lessons and insights on the art of managing and leading, but they all shared five qualities: Passionate curiosity. Battle-hardened confidence. Team smarts. A simple mind-set. Fearlessness.

Last today (and my favorite) is the advice to go to the dogs. It’s aimed at entrepreneurs, sales and customer service, but if you embrace it as a manager I guarantee that your group’s productivity, innovation, retention and all around performance will skyrocket.

Is it possible most things we need to learn about business success we can learn from a dog? … They can be brilliant business instructors. … The next time you seek business advice try walking a mile in your dog’s tracks instead.


Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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