Management theory gives managers the tools and techniques to lead and manage their team. However, there remains a knowing vs doing gap. This gap between the theory and the actual management of a high-performing team is part of the manager’s mindset, and ultimately, it impacts their ability to lead themselves and lead their team. Traditional management training fails to address this, and the Thriving Manager & Leader framework aims to close this gap.

The Thriving Manager & Leader framework delivers tools, techniques and mental constructs to enhance the focus, resilience, motivation, confidence and empathy of the managers and their teams. The framework has been developed to enable the following concepts:

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1. The move from doing to enabling others

Every time you engage with your team, look for the opportunity to develop their capabilities. Get out of the habit of doing the doing for them.

Catch a fish, and you feed a man for a day.
Teach him how to fish, and you teach him for a lifetime. – Chinese proverb

2. Recognise effort, celebrate success, challenge underperformance

Recognise great results and any diligent hard work aligned to best practice process, even if this work has not resulted in success on this occasion.

Look to highlight and celebrate individual and cross matrix team success highlighting what caused the success to happen.  Challenge underperformance, try to take ‘the personality’ out of the equation and look first to understand the root cause. Look at the process. The sales management issue log in this playbook will provide a useful reference.

3. Become a great questioner

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. – Francis Bacon

The way for you to understand any management situation is to ask incisive questions.  This quote by Rudyard Kipling is a good one:

I keep six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

Become a great listener.

Hold back the urge to stamp your fix on problems. Give team members every opportunity to explain a situation, root cause and potential fixes.

4. Develop a performance culture

Look to develop a set of management behaviours that support and challenge your team with a balanced focus on both the results and the person. A great tool is to run the purpose and values exercise in the playbook.

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5. Give useful feedback

  • Praise effort, especially on best practice process (this is growth mindset feedback)
  • Deliver input as soon as you can after the event in question
  • Make the feedback evidence-based (always)
  • Do not be drawn into the famous ‘shit sandwich’ approach! (something good, something to improve, something good)
  • Ask for feedback from your team

6. Have the courageous conversations

Sometimes, because it is challenging and difficult, it is easier not to give feedback when picking up on disruptive and damaging behaviour. However, foster a habit of doing this in a supportive but challenging style.

7. Develop a contingency management style

Develop a style that allows for the context of the situation; the skill, desire and experience of the individual; and the associated timescale.  It is sometimes appropriate to be directive; however, if you want engagement by the team over the long term, it pays to be consultative whenever possible.

8. Delegate effectively

Be specific on outcomes required, resources available, procedural guidelines, no-go areas and escalations; most managerial conflict comes from the ambiguous delegation.

9. Become a great coach

  • Diagnosis is crucial
  • Avoid prejudgment and be open to learning
  • Run through the diagnosis and the conclusions with the person you are coaching and ask them to challenge and build
  • Ask the individual to talk through their commitment to change and what they are going to do
  • Write up the agreed diagnosis and plan
  • Get the individual to ‘sign up’ to implementation and reporting
  • Reward effort on the right things and guide away from the non-productive

To find out more, contact us about our “Thriving Manager & Leader” framework.

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