Friend, co-author and Instigator Mary Schaefer (blog, @MarySchaefer) is launching a new product designed to help managers be successful building and leading great teams. It’s called the Empowered Manager’s Success Kit. When I heard about it, I thought it would be good to check in with Mary and find out what’s going on.
Q: What made you want to put this Empowered Manager’s Success Kit together? Aren’t there hundreds of success kits like this out there? What makes this different?
Mary: I put this together because of what I’ve observed in the hours I’ve spent over the years coaching managers of people. I see managers making decisions and taking action with the intention of being a “good” manager, but actually disempowering both themselves and their employees in the process. Ultimately the habits and mindset that support their choices undermine effectiveness.
For example, a good manager may want to maintain an open door policy and “be there” for his employees. Ultimately when his employees continually interrupt him, his resentment might build up, but because of his commitment to that open door policy, he just puts up with it.
An empowered manager finds a way to engage with employees, navigates what works for both himself as a manager and employees, without shutting people down, and helps everyone develop in the process, precisely by making a different choice.
I want to help managers with the transformation from good manager to empowered manager. An Empowered Manager is one who looks at their behaviors and gives him- or herself permission to make a different choice, even choices that may seem counter-intuitive, to improve interactions and performance.
This kit is different in that it addresses the “Yeah, but…” that comes up when you’re experiencing the “good” manager mindset and helps you move toward more empowerment.
Mary: I hope the tools and tips will help them take a different approach with their employees, providing the opportunity for breakthroughs in their work interactions and in work performance.
I also want them to discover simpler and more dynamic ways of working with people. We get in a mode of working with humans like we work with objects and forget that humans need a different approach. It doesn’t have to be more time-consuming or more difficult, just different.
For instance, I hear so many managers who are frustrated because their employees haven’t taken action on something that is part of their job. I hear, “I’ve told them three times. What more do I need to do?” Well, have a conversation. Do less talking. Ask more questions. The types of questions you ask make a huge difference.
In this case, even with the best of intentions, if “What more do you need from me?” doesn’t advance the discussion, try something different like, “When you think about starting on this assignment, what comes into your head?” I once asked this and my employee told me, “There are so many places to start. I don’t know where to begin.” I continued to ask more questions that helped him develop his own plan.
We get too “transactional” in our interactions and when people can’t answer the question we ask, we often don’t know where to go. So, try a different type of question.
Also, I think we underestimate the impact of our authority and title too. We need to learn to make it easy for people (i.e. humans like us) to interact with us.
The tools and tips in this kit can help remind managers of how humans work, and resolve issues with much less effort.
Q: Mary, this sounds great. Where can people go to find out more?
Mary: They can learn more at http://bit.ly/success-kit. The kit contains an assessment, a work book and a number of additional resources. Also, between now and October 21, we’re offering readers $20 off! Just use the discount code “intro20” (no question marks) and purchase before the end of day Oct 21, 2013 to get $20 off.