How Many Great Managers Are You Creating?

Yes, you share responsibility for creating “great” managers!

Since National Bosses Day 10 days ago, a lot has been written about the “characteristics and habits” of great bosses.

Many of these articles paint a unilateral picture of a boss who possess unique traits which she practices, there’s little sense of collaboration or reciprocity, and sometimes a sense that good bosses are born, not made. I don’t know about you, but these portrayals don’t comport with the reality I live in as a COO and consultant to Sales forces.

Admittedly, there are still too few “great” bosses in the Sales Management ranks, but where they exist, in large numbers, they are created by cultures of shared ownership, collaboration, and incremental improvement. There’s no one-way street of top down application of great skills by managers to their subordinates. There’s bottom up meets top down collaboration with an eye toward forward progress and the attainment of shared goals.

So what can you do as an [Sales] employee to create great bosses?

To create and sustain a great boss, you should:

  1. Set Specific Shared Objectives. Ambiguity about your collective and individual performance sets the foundation for planning to achieve success. Without a clear set of objectives linking activities, interim goals, and long-term business outcomes, you and your boss will never know how to assess performance and course correct. For more on the Activities, Goals, and Outcomes framework, click here.
  2. Ask for and Provide DETAILED Feedback OFTEN. Constructive critiques by managers and subordinates reinforce a culture of collaboration and ensure shared ownership for results and performance improvement. The key here is to be detailed and specific. It’s insufficient to characterize your or your bosses performance with an adjective, both of you must focus on examples (good and bad) and suggest tactics to improve and ensure forward progress.
  3. Ask Questions and Share the Answers. Opportunities for improvement and growth are identified through dialogue up, down, and sideways in an organization, particularly dialogue that focuses on questions of Why? and How? Yes, it’s sometimes uncomfortable to be asked Why did you do that? or How did you decide to do what you did? But these questions get us to think and get us beyond the circumstantial (the land of Who?, What?, and When?) and into incisive moments of learning and growth.

If you like this piece and have had success building Great Bosses in your organization, particularly Sales Organization, please comment or follow us on Twitter.


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