It can take months and years to learn and apply all the mechanics of daily to annual operations. This aspect of management often eclipses what I find the most rewarding and fun part of my job: building and leading a team.
Management doesn’t have to involve people while leadership insists on having others. I compare my staff to that of a football team. Similar to coaching a team of athletes with specialized strengths and physical attributes from the 145 pound kicker to the 250 pound lineman, I am assigned a staff of individuals with different strengths of educational degrees and certifications, experiences, skills, and potential. It is up to the coach and leader to get to know and assess his team, help with sharpening skills, and then deploy whoever is best suited to the task. Although this exercise of knowing your team is time consuming and often the most challenging for managers, I find that this is time well spent for both my organization and my staff.
Leaders see the BIG picture and can identify the context for any and all directed efforts. Leaders do the research and begin to identify opportunities. Leaders look for the most capable staff with the appropriate skill set, educate them on the needs, and then set the goals for the work.
Communication and education to your staff is critical for successfully implementing a new program. Where some more entrepreneurial leaders fail is by not continuing to review and provide feedback on those more routine, yet still vital, staff efforts.
With success, the staff on their own will place the bar of performance high and then hold everyone else accountable to clear it. This is not too unlike a positive form of what Economic Behaviorists call cultural cognition or maybe this phenomenon is simply a carefully cultivated cultural norm. These unwritten expectations work both ways and my staff will give me notice when I’ve fallen short of their expectations.
The most pleasing pay-off for your efforts is to hear your words and your goals repeated back to you from your staff and to read the objective data supporting your well-honed premise brought to life by your team.