Bruce Tulgan is the founder of RainmakerThinking Inc., a management training firm. His latest book is It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss. He is also the author of It’s Okay to Be the Boss, Managing Generation X, and a number of other books. He has written pieces for numerous publications, including the New York Times, USA Today, Harvard Business Review, and HR Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.rainmakerthinking.com.
“In one ear and out the other,” said a construction supervisor in a major real estate development company. “I would say to this one guy over and over again, ‘The details really matter.’ He was nodding his head, but I couldn’t tell if he was nodding to me or nodding with the music he was listening to. So finally I started making him take notes whenever I talked to him.”
What is good judgment anyway? It’s not the same thing as sheer brain power, or mental capacity, or natural intelligence. It’s not a matter of accumulated knowledge or memorized information. It’s more than the mastery of techniques and tools. In simple terms, good judgment is the ability to see the connection between causes and their effects.
There are 168 hours in a week. How do you use them? There are 1,440 minutes in a day. How do you use them? Most people waste endless minutes and hours without ever realizing they are doing that. Are you keeping track of your time and using it with purpose?
Some bosses really are jerks. But if you think that your boss is a jerk, the first question you should ask yourself is this: Is it really the boss or is it you? Have you been allowing yourself to be under-managed by this boss? Or have you been engaging in a regular one-on-one dialogue about your work?
In organizations across all industries, there is a shocking epidemic of “undermanagement” - the opposite of micromanagement. The vast majority of supervisory relationships between employees and their bosses lack the day-to-day engagement necessary to consistently maintain the very basics of management.
You can help your employees improve, even on the most intangible performance issues, if you start focusing intensely in your regular management conversations on spelling out concrete solutions. For example, if an employee is failing to meet quality standards, give her a checklist of what she needs to get right.
So what do you do if you really want to be a hands-on manager but
you just have too many employees to manage? I’ll have managers say to me, “I
have 72 people; how do you manage 72 people?”
The first question I ask is: Do you have a chain of
command? Or are you really managing 72 people?
How many of the employees whom you manage are responsible for managing others? If you expect them to become as hands-on as you, you have to spend some time up front talking with each of them to prepare them.
Do you want to be great at solving employee
performance problems? If you are talking with employees about the details of
their work on a regular basis, then talking about small problems should be something you do as a matter of course.
Accountability is the new watchword in just about every business. But what does it really mean? Accountability means having to answer for one's actions. The idea is compelling. Here’s how to make it work.