25 JunLeadership, Management, Recruiting | 4 Comments
This post is the third of three which began with:
Now let’s distill this down a bit further, and then if you want more, you can read First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. These four areas are called “the Four Keys” of great managers in the book:
1. Choose People For Their Talents
Rule to break: Hire for experience, intelligence, and determination.
When selecting people, select for talent, not simply experience, intelligence, or determination. Skills and knowledge can be taught, talent cannot. Skills are the “how-to’s” of a role, like how to sheep with a focus macro. Knowledge is the information you are aware of, like the importance of Starlight for damage dealers on the Hodir fight. These can be learned, or taught, at any point. Talents, however, relate to reoccurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior in the individual. They have to do with how your individual brain is wired and what you’re good at, that gives you joy. A talent is evidenced by a tank that not only has extreme combat awareness and reaction time, but takes joy in exercising it through protecting the squishy players.
“There is no point in trying to assess people’s abilities without first finding out what they care about.“
- Robert J. Thomas
Great managers are excellent at knowing what talents will matter to their teams and organizations, and selecting for them. Also, they have the confidence to hire excellent people and let them perform to their utmost.
“If you hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.“
- David Ogilvy
2. Define the Desired Outcomes
Rule to break: Set expectations by defining the right steps.
When you are setting expectations, focus on outcomes, not the steps to get there. Your people are individuals and may find routes to the goal that you’d never think of. Empower, don’t micromanage. Get obstacles out of the way, provide resources, and point your people in the right direction. They don’t need their hand held every step along the way, and attempting to do so won’t help them grow.
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
- General George S. Patton
3. Motivate Based On Their Strengths
Rule to break: Motivate by helping your staff identify and overcome their weaknesses.
Motivate someone to improve their areas of strength, rather than focusing on their weaknesses. Their areas of weakness have to simply be adequate to do the job, any further development effort will pay off much better if focused on their strengths. Don’t expect or require everyone to be equally good at everything, or that’s what you may get, in the most mediocre way possible.
Get to know your people, befriend them even, and learn what makes them special and gives them joy to do well. Support them in developing that!
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.“
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. Promote/Position People Based on Strengths
Rule to break: Develop your staff by helping them learn and get promoted.
Help your members find the right fit for their particular talents and strengths. Don’t move them to a new role, from one they excel at, because it will make them more well-rounded. Never force someone to primarily focus on an area of weakness, especially by deliberately promoting them so that they can “work on it”. Don’t let job descriptions tyranize your organization. If you have a person with the perfect talents for a job that doesn’t exist, which will benefit your organization, create it. Ensure that your organization doesn’t provide rewards and recognition only to people who are promoted up the hierarchy, even if it takes them away from what they’re best at.
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”
- John Buchan
“In a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their level of incompetence.”
- Lawrence J. Peter
A Final Question
If you comment, perhaps you’d answer a question for me. How many GREAT managers have you known, and why did you think of them that way? Thanks!