The Call of a Manager

As a manager, what's the best thing you can do for your organization?  Is your highest goal making money?  Is it the financial largess of your organization, or the praise of your customers?  Have you ever wondered how noble it is to help a very few people make a lot of money?  What is the greatest good of a manager in a for-profit organization?

I've recently read a couple of different articles about how managers must "balance the drive for performance against the needs of the employees." You must admit that the tension between the two seems real.  We can put profits and performance before people or we can put people before profits and performance.  That seems accurate.  Many leaders toil away years of their career unable to "balance" these competing interests.  The argument for balancing these competing interests appears, on the surface to be reasonable.

However, when you think deeper,  rather than an either-or balancing act, the strongest teams align themselves in a win-win relationship.  The same is true for companies.  Win-win relationships are enjoyable, self-motivating, and sustainable.  How could it ever be in the employees best interests if the leadership strives for their well being at the expense of profit?  Very few employees are "better off" when their employer suffers.  If the organization's reason for being is its own people, a well-performing company is in their best interests.  When associates benefit in accordance with their contribution, the scales stay in balance.  If associates receive more (or less) than their share of the value created by the organization, sustainability begins to deteriorate. Overcompensate either and eventually the business will fail. For examples of either imbalance, take a look at the history of unions in America.

So back to the middle manager.  What's the middle manager's highest purpose?  Understand the intricacies of the relationship between your team and your organization and make sure both parties win.  A true sustainable win-win relationship encourages each side to win more, because winning for one party is not losing for the other.  Look for places in your organization where one side wins at the expense of the other and question, even change, them.  Help your team understand the best way for them to further their career is for the company to be successful.  But also work with your leaders to help them develop the mindset that the best thing a company can do is help every employee have a great life.  Master the art of creating win-win for your organization and your team.  Be creative and persistent.  Your goal is to help your team improve their quality of life, and their value to the organization.  It's a great job.

What types of win-lose relationships do you find in your organization?  Can you do anything about them?