Managers are the single greatest factor in retaining employees (Gallup Organization, State of the American Workplace, 2012). Nurturing good managers is therefore crucial to building great companies. Sometimes I think we forget just how important good managers are.
Senior leaders should provide their managers with development opportunities and professional coaching. Having a coach helps managers build stronger skills and resilience. Companies that offer coaching enjoy marked performance improvements—not only from managers, but from those who report to them, as well.
It just makes sense. Executive coaching grants managers time to practice introspection, which is necessary for ongoing learning. Job pressures frequently drive managers to take on too much work, encourage interruptions, respond quickly to every stimulus, seek the tangible and avoid the abstract, and make decisions in small increments. As a result, most managers are too pressured to act without thinking.
To be truly effective, managers need to consciously deal with these pressures, take time to step back, view the broader picture, seek others’ expertise and carefully review analytical information.
Becoming a More Effective Manager
To conquer the challenges associated with managerial demands, we need managers to develop introspection skills and insights. Consider the following suggestions:
- Be aware of which roles you naturally prefer. Don’t ignore those that make you uncomfortable. Stretch beyond your usual limits, depending on what the situation calls for.
- Be sure to disseminate information to others so you can delegate more and help your people grow more self-sufficient.
- Avoid the traps of superficial decision-making because of time pressures. Make use of other experts and analysts.
- Schedule time for the tasks you believe are most important. Don’t let daily pressures crowd out time for reflection, innovation or other critical values.
If you feel there’s no time for introspection, let alone to stretch yourself any further without snapping, you’re not alone. But that’s why so many successful managers have an executive coach working with them.