In chess, the pieces move simply in isolation but play becomes incredibly complex, especially when facing a formidable challenge.
Much has been written already on management skills, so I'll be concise and focus on a couple advanced moves.
Even as a servant-leader, I still recognize that sometimes the manager needs to be in front.
Share a User Guide* on yourself first, then ask others to share how they work and collaborate best.
Your most important decisions may be to define priorities, versus actually process, based on company goals and return on investment.
Face any bad news directly by admitting the problem and initiating a conversation, then facilitate ways to fix the problem.
𝗙𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲
Managers often want to bear down on inputs to productivity, such as hours worked, activity done, and other easily measurable factors.
However, I encourage managers to determine desired outcomes and to explain any guardrails. Set a destination not the path.
If managers complain about employee behavior, but cannot objectively explain why, then I revisit those outcomes.
Understand unique drives. There are three main forms of motivation which help to describe people’s motivation:
𝘗𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 – The desire to be seen as an influential figure. This person may be rewarded by leading a task force or meeting an investor.
𝘈𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 – The desire to see work get done. This person may be rewarded with clear appreciation and a new challenge to solve.
𝘈𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 – The desire to have others see them. This person may be rewarded by acknowledging their efforts in front of the whole team.
Good managers help employees to work productively. Great managers also look for ways their employees can grow.
Encourage training, mentorship, and other forms of support to prepare for more responsibility.
With projects and development, plan ahead like a chess master. Encourage excellence to improve performance.
Actively soliciting others’ opinions increases your knowledge.
Questions like, “What could I have done better in that meeting?” or “How can I help you grow?” prompt useful conversations.
Don’t settle for sparse responses. Push to go deeper.
𝗧𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗰𝗵 𝗮𝗹𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝘂𝘁:
𝘈𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘌𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘳𝘴 – Describe the issue (no excuses), apologize, address, and plan to prevent. 𝙎𝙪𝙘𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙢𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙪𝙢.
𝘈𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸 (𝘖𝘯𝘭𝘺) 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘔𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘴 – Inadvertent first mistakes may happen, but second ones show a failure in learning, competence, or motivation and must be addressed swiftly and firmly.
In management and in chess, you need to be thoughtful and creating when facing complex challenges. There is always more to learn.