DOING IT RIGHT AS A GENERAL MANAGER
Q: Recently, I got the good news that I will be promoted to become the next General Manager. Wow! This means I will be at the helm of the entire organisation. Indeed I am happy and excited about this as it proves that my hard work over the last 10 years have paid off. However, being a realistic person, I know this will come with new expectations and my current performance has to be upped many times from that of a departmental manager to a general manager. I really want to show results as soon as possible. So I am asking you what I need to do to become a dynamic and successful general manager as fast as possible.
Rearing To Go
A: The first thing to bear in mind always is that you are now a leader for both the “inside” and “outside”. You are indeed the “general-in-command” for all circumstances; taking all your people through familiar and unfamiliar terrains, and facing expected and unexpected experiences of both the good and not-so-good ones.
The Bottom Line: Seen from this perspective, you need to have multi-functional skills so that you can manage multi-functional responsibilities. You will need to balance the deployment of scarce resources while you coordinate your role with every department in a seamless fashion and to the expectations of your shareholders and customers.
In order to succeed in this, you need to inspire your people to a vision and shared goal. Unite and guide them to take certain direction that will help them work well with scarce resources and overcome challenges while growing in their jobs and lives at the same time.
Powerful Questions: What is your vision for the organisation that you will soon be leading? What values will you bring on board that will help you to do it passionately well? What have you learned in your old job that you can bring in here? What commitment will you give to yourself and your people to make your vision come true?
KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DELEGATING AND ABDICATING
Q: I get angry and frustrated with myself for not getting the results I want from my direct reports despite giving them the room to make decisions on how they want to get their work done. I have told them many times that I am giving them a lot of leeway with little interference, and guidance should they need, to help them in their career growth. The hardest thing to accept is that my peer managers are getting better results and enjoy a happier relationship with their team when their style is a lot more “autocratic”. What is it that I have done wrong?
A: Usually it is the “lazy” way of delegating that produces lesser-than-expected results than those who work harder through more autocratic ways. Just giving an order (with minimum instructions on the “how to”) is a sure recipe for failure. Hence, your “freewheeling” ways do not work well than those who exercise more control on the decision making process! One probable reason is that they provide more support to their people with details on what is expected and how things should be done. Yours could be just barking orders and you expect your people to know what to do when they probably do not know how!
The Bottom Line: When you sincerely want to delegate, you need to ensure some key conditions are present. The first and very important requirement is that the goal you want is measurable. Take for example you want a staff to chair a meeting. You need to put in someone who has the potential to do this, while at the same time you want to spell out what you want to see coming out of the meeting; which could be full attendance at the meeting and that they produce what they are expected to perform after the meeting. The second requirement is how realistic it is of what you want to be carried out. Back to the meeting example; if you expect your people to give you an incredible timeline, then you would not only be disappointed, but your people would too with you. The third one is to identify and acknowledge critical constraints. These can range from a person’s capabilities, available resources, circumstances and more. The more detailed and realistic you are, the higher are your chances of success.
Powerful Questions: What are your true reasons for wanting to delegate? What do you want to see being achieved as a result of this? What can you learn about the current failures that you do not want to see them being repeated? What are the successes that you are getting that you want to see more the next time?
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