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Was Steve Jobs an exceptional manager?

Ha. It's a loaded question, isn't it? It really depends who you ask. At one extreme, he's been described as a world-class jerk. On the other end of the spectrum, he's been heralded as an inspirational leader (of genius proportions).


How is it possible that this question can generate such a range of opinions?

Because most of the corporate world is entirely confused about what exceptional management is.

(often times the most confused are the people who are actually doing the job...)


If you are a people leader at any level – Supervisor, Manager, Director, C-Suite or CEO – I want to help clarify this for you. And if by that, you think I’m going to be the next person to try and draw a line between management and leadership...and then tell you which one is better...you can stop reading right now. I hate that conversation. It’s a waste of time and it doesn’t actually help us improve.

The problem is, most of us are still entirely confused about what Managing is.


Especially those who are actually doing the job.

If you are a people leader at any level – Supervisor, Manager, Director, C-Suite or CEO – I want to help clarify this for you. And if by that you think I’m going to continue to try and draw a line between management and leadership, and tell you which one is better, I’m not. I hate that conversation. It’s a waste of time and it doesn’t actually help us improve.


So here we go....




Every people manager has three fundamental responsibilities in their role. Three categories to their success, if you will. None of these three categories is easy. They are all simple to understand, but take time…and more importantly, intentionality, to master.


Responsibility 1: Deliver Consistent Results

As leaders of a team, department or division, we have a responsibility to deliver results. Getting results, for a manager is like oxygen. Our ability to deliver results enables opportunity and growth for our areas of responsibility, and for our organizations. At the end of the day, we are placed in a position of leadership in a certain area because that area needs to accomplish something specific in order for the rest of the organization to perform. Skillful Managers have learned how to deliver consistent results – they are clear on what results they need to deliver, they create the necessary momentum in their teams, and they measure their progress.


Responsibility 2: Nurture Key Relationships

Results are great, of course. More than that…they are necessary. But it’s not enough. The day we say yes to a manager role at any level, is the day we become incapable of just showing up and delivering results all by ourselves. If we remain singularly focused on getting results, without acknowledging the simple reality that we can no longer do it alone, we will consistently work below our own potential. We also will not likely enjoy the work very much! Skillful Managers have learned how to nurture key relationships – they know their people (especially their strengths), they challenge and stretch them, and then they support the heck out of them. This isn’t possible unless there is already some clarity on what success looks like (what results we’re after), which is which this responsibility is 2nd, not 1st.


Responsibility 3: Drive Strategic Growth

Lastly, we have a responsibility to drive strategic growth. What does that mean, you ask? It means we’re moving the organization forward – not just ourselves, or our individual teams, but the entire organization. We understand, and perhaps helped create, or organization’s strategy, and we know how to make decisions that support the long-term direction. Of course, this isn’t possible unless we are first delivering consistent results, and also nurturing the relationships of those around us…which is why this responsibility is 3rd.


As you (or your Managers) evolve in their roles, it’s important to tackle one responsibility at a time. There’s an order of operations to become a Skillful Manager…just like there is with anything we learn to do exceptionally well in life. Be sure to start at the beginning.


Stay tuned…we’ll go deeper on these three responsibilities in the coming weeks.


Wishing you heaps and heaps of success,


Laura


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The Skillful Manager Program develops exceptional Managers: Managers who Get Results. Managers who Nurture Others. Managers who Build your Legacy. You can learn more about our training programs here.


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