The Great Myth

December 4, 2009

 By Bill Harrison

It is important to understand the following: When you “make” someone a manager or promote someone to manager or give someone a manager title – that does not impart the skill sets for that position.

The title of “manager” could apply to a project manager for example, or superintendent, or foreman. These folks all manage people; so don’t get hung up on the title. Now, how do most folks get selected to be a “manager”, or “superintendent” or “foreman”? Primarily because they stood out for their individual performance, attitude, work ethic and hard work, right?

When they are moved into a management role what is expected? The boss expects results. Managers must get those results by doing what? Is it still based on their own initiative and hard work?

No!  “Managers” must get the job done through others! There is a major shift in skill sets required isn’t there? If fact, many managers get frustrated in trying to get the job done through others and end up doing it themselves!

We all know and understand the serious negative consequences of permitting this to happen; but we do it almost daily. In fact, many bosses are doing the work of their managers for the same reason. Scary, isn’t it?

Being a successful manager is based on solid people skills; and most managers lack that critical essential. Getting results through others is the biggest challenge in the industry; way ahead of the economy, government, and other issues. If you agree, please send me a note on this. If you disagree, also send me a note. Let’s talk about this so we can get a better handle on it.

You must ask yourself this question: “What level of performance am I accepting or teaching from each and every manager on my team?” Let’s start with the honest answer to that question.

It is clear that a significant number of managers are focused on getting the job done. So, what’s the problem with that? That sounds pretty good to most of us. We want folks who “git ‘er done.”

I am shocked at how many managers do not understand their primary role – to get the job done - at a profit. There is almost an attitude of getting it done, no matter what. And that translates to getting it done at any cost.

There are also a significant number of managers who do not understand the cost of doing business. There is little grasp of what “throwing overtime” at a job does to the bottom line. What happens when we keep saying “we will get to that later?” And now it is later; and now we are in the overtime mode. What happens when four team members are standing around because of a lack of needed material, or some supplies, or of tools? Do your managers truly understand how that affects the job cost; and how dramatically?

Stop! Take a serious look at recent jobs that lost money or at least did not make the kind of bottom line dollars you thought reasonable. Really dig into it; you should do a thorough autopsy on every closed job. Then just answer honestly. How many of those losses or slips in profits could have been avoided if a manager had done their job? You will soon discover that lack of proper management/ supervision is costing you a lot of money. Maybe I should make it even more emphatic – A LOT OF MONEY!

An honest evaluation of most managers would suggest that most are not really focused on profit. I didn’t say they would tell you that; but their actions make that pretty clear.

Copyright 2009 by PLI, Inc.
The Phoenix Leadership Institute, Inc.
P. O. Box 1403, Centreville, VA 20122
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