Good Manager | Bad Manager

posted on 22nd January 2016 in Blog, Business, Expatriate with no comments

Bruce Lee Image in HK Airport

Lumikha Curriculum: Manager Learning for Managers

In his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz discusses his training document for Product Managers called, appropriately enough, Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager. To me, this kind of learning is the best: it’s succinct, specific, and very actionable.

The best thing about this approach is Horowitz’s contra examples. In my humble version, the contra examples are things I do all the time. Enumerating bad habits is a great way to help myself be vigilant.

For this exercise, performed in a series of one-on-one meetings with all the Atelier Lumikha managers, I identified four focus areas that every manager should consider.

  1. Organizational Alignment – Is the manager down with our corporate mission? Do they strive to collaborate, develop themselves, and develop their team through consistent performance evaluation and hands-on coaching?
  2. Operational Excellence – Our vision for offering kick-ass execution on a range of business services at offshore rates with a small, highly effective team.
  3. Personal Development – Does the manager allocate time and energy to reflection and self-improvement. Self-awareness is a key character trait of top performers.
  4. Team Development – The highest ROI activity for organizational excellence. “Nuff said.”

Align to Lumikha’s Vision of Excellence

Image of Acropolis with quote: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Good Managers:

  • are strategically aligned and passionate about the work.
  • understand and embrace our mission.
  • fully commit to excellent work product and often ask themselves if the work produced by themselves and their team is the best that it can be.
  • seek input, help, and suggestions from their colleagues, team, and management.
  • know that the hive-mind leverages the most important asset at their disposal: the team.

Bad Managers:

  • view their work as just another job.
  • prioritize their needs over their team, the company, or the clients.
  • assume if no one is complaining everything is okay. And believe “okay” is acceptable.
  • don’t seek input or help from their team or colleagues. They go it alone.

Panache & Excellence Make an Operation Great

Naveen Jain in zero gravity and quote: Success doesn't necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. A great strategy alone won't win a game or a battle; the win comes from basic blocking and tackling.

The win comes from basic blocking and tackling.

Good Managers:

  • rigorously structure the day with routines that are consistent and provide the framework for execution and process improvement.
  • organize priorities and people to accomplish tasks efficiently and well.
  • don’t flinch at objective evaluations of themselves and their team because they understand “what gets measured gets done.” For them, tracking key performance indicators (KPI’s) provide intel for effect continuous improvement.
  • use immediate, thorough, and objective feedback to make the team more effective.
  • empowers the team and supports thier decisions especially when they are wrong.

Bad Managers:

  • haphazardly organize daily activity so that external events dictate their work tempo.
  • assume their staff will “just figure it out.”
  • resist measurement or offer excuses for poor performance.
  • hoard decision-making authority to herself because “I’m the boss.”

Improve Yourself to Set the Example

Bruce Lee image with quote: Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential.

…the function and duty of a quality human being is the…development of one’s potential.

Good Managers:

  • lead by example so the team sees the correct execution in action.
  • use constant self-examination to seek areas for improvement.
  • attain greater professional competence through research and independent learning.
  • is a ninja when it comes to his tools. His proficiency inspires excellence through contagious enthusiasm.

Bad Managers:

  • focus on external matters without asking questions or reflecting on their actions.
  • assume they are too high on the food chain to be concerned with self-improvement.
  • believe it’s not her job to dig in and develop a complete understanding of he job.
  • lacks proficiency with her job tools and delegates their operation to the team.

Always Be Developing Your Team

Statue of Alexander the Great with quote: I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.

Alexander the Great knew a thing or two about management.

Good Managers:

  • know the context of his work and makes time to help his team explaining why what they are doing is important.
  • learn first, then teach.
  • establish, document and train clear process and governance so employees know exactly what to do.
  • identify issues, create and deliver learning to address shortcomings or opportunities. Great Managers train all the time.

Bad Managers:

  • try to do all the work themselves because training the team is too time-consuming or (worse) she doesn’t believe her team has the potential to be effective.
  • do not understand the rationale for their activities.
  • do not have time to explain the “why’s and wherefore’s” to their team because they are too busy.

A rambling concoction of commentary about business and living in the Philippines, travel around Asia, things read and opined upon.