There are many qualities to a good manager: ability to deliver positive reinforcement, establish attainable and challenging goals, ability to engage and motivate, and ability to create a clear vision of the target state are a few that can readily be named. Today, I would like to discuss one particular sign of a good manager, the ability to build sustainability beyond his or her presence.
It is said that a good manager run a “tight ship”, meaning they have a good grasp on what happens on their department at all times, and they are involved in such a way that leads everyone to do what they have to do. But what happens if that manager is absent for a long period of time, or if she or he leaves? Will the proverbial ship reach its destination?
A good manager plans for absence. We all want to grow, so we need to plan what will happen to our department once we move on. A sign of a great manager is the way the department stands once that manager is no longer there. What systems have been created that ensure that things will get done when they need to get done, in the way the need to get done? What monitoring mechanisms have been created that will ensure that any fall out is captured?
Being a good manager requires that you have a clear vision of the “mission” of your department, and that you have a clear idea of the steps needed to achieve that mission. Next, you will need to think about how you are going to implement those steps? What is the first module of behavior change that needs to happen? All along, you need to be measuring the essential behaviors and outcomes, in order to know for sure that you are in the right path.
That is why not everyone can be a great manager. It takes a lot of attention to detail, and diligence to be able to understand these shaping steps, and to carry them out. A good manager is recognized through day-to-day operations; a great manager can be recognized in his or her absence. What will your legacy be?