As a business consultant and marketing executive for over two decades, I was always hungry to improve as a manager. Fortunately throughout my career, I’ve been lucky to work alongside a number of remarkable business leaders. So of course, I took every opportunity to quiz the ones I considered the most effective about what they thought they were doing right. Surprisingly, the answers I got shared one very unexpected message: “Good managers get over themselves and get on with helping others.”
So here’s what I learned, boiled down into what I call the five selfless rules of management:
1. Nurture others’ talents
It’s not how well you’re doing, but how well your group is doing that defines your success as a manager. Assign the right skills to the right tasks, keep co-workers excited about each other’s talents, and encourage learning. Set professional development goals as part of the review process and reward achievement accordingly.
2. Be honest
Don’t let your pride get in the way of telling the truth. After all, honesty is one of the hallmarks of a great leader. Always set honest expectations with your team, your boss and your clients. Deliver when you say you will. Keep everyone informed on your progress at all times, regardless of whether the news is good or bad. Transparency is the best way to gain trust and build integrity.
3. Serve your team
See the people who report to you as your customers, the same way you see your boss and your clients. This rightfully places shared success above personal ambition. Make a point of finding out what your team needs, identify the roadblocks to their success, and go about removing them. You win when they win.
4. Cultivate a successor
A good manager will eventually be in line for a promotion. If your group is going to remain under your chain of command, it’s crucial that you have the right person heading it up. Find someone in your group who understands the challenges of your role and help them identify with your management ethos. This will ensure everyone’s ongoing success.
5. Make your boss shine
Get to know your boss’s targets, and brainstorm ways you and your team can help her reach them. Demonstrating that you’re a key to her success will ensure she keeps you close by, no matter how high up the ladder she goes.