Supervisory Leadership

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What governs your success as a manager?

Managers have three sets of challenges. The first two involve their objectives.

As a manager you must do your part to accomplish the organization's mission.

Accomplishing the mission means getting the daily work done through the group. Exactly what that work is will depend on the kind of organization that you are in. Whatever that is like, daily work has to be done, reports need to be written, and projects need to be completed. Not only that, those tasks have to be accomplished by the group and not by you. If you are doing all the work, you are not the leader; you are just an especially high-paid version of a plow horse.

Today’s job isn’t enough. Accomplishing the mission includes making sure that tomorrow’s job will be done well.

Getting tomorrow’s job done well includes planning for the future. It also includes training and making sure that people who work for you are better and more effective when they leave you than when they showed up.

Accomplishing the mission involves handling critical incidents. Critical incidents are those emergencies that will inevitably confront you. They won’t happen often, but they have a huge impact when they do.

As a manager you must care for your people.

Caring for your people means, first of all that you work to keep them safe. Keep them safe from forces outside the organization that might do them harm.

Caring for your people means helping them grow and develop. You can help them develop skills to keep them out of trouble in the future. You can help them learn things and achieve their personal objectives.

Finally, caring for your people means creating a great working environment.

In addition to those challenges involving the job, there are also challenges of career development.

The first challenge is to understand and survive the transition from being an individual contributor to being a boss. This is one of the hardest transitions in life and usually takes 18 - 24 months.

The second development challenge is to consciously set up a personal development plan. Folks with such a plan tend to do better than folks who don't have one.

The third development challenge is to manage your relations and reputation with your boss and others in the organization and industry.

Wally

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