Are you a Task Manager or a People Manager?

by | Apr 11, 2013

This is not a fictional story and the changes took place over many weeks. As a scenario many can relate to, its clear from my conversations with managers, that tinkering with possible solutions only produces a short term fix.

One of my clients, Ray, a senior financial services manager in his early 30’s commented, “I know I should delegate more but it doesn’t seem fair on the team to be dumping my work on them” he explained. “And I can’t ask everyone to stop calling me for help because they need to get their jobs done too!”

Recognising the need to take a fresh approach to his business challenges, no one was more surprised than he was when he became a bonafide leader of people, rather than a task manager. This is what he did.

In spite of his concerns, he knew what he wanted from his role and what he needed from his people. Ultimately, clear-cut, written goals were to him the foundation for obtaining what he was looking for.

  1. Ray worked on developing his plan for getting there: his road map to keep him on track. His plan also helped him anticipate and overcome obstacles that would get in the way.
  2. Ray asked himself the question “what’s in it for me?” and identified compelling benefits: fewer working hours; increased sales; more family time and considerably less stress. The importance of self-motivation cannot be undervalued.
  3. Ray knew he could do this! Initially, small successes built his confidence, he developed his people skills, he delegated tasks that he knew he should not do and he protected his time. Ray’s self belief bolstered his expectation of success.
  4. Finally, he Never Gave Up. Sometimes things didn’t go to plan. Delegated tasks came back incomplete, or not on time or to a poor standard. Ray used his desire and confidence to follow through with his plan and never gave up.

Failure to change from being a task manager to a people manager stems from giving up too soon, “I tried that – it didn’t work!” The same failure stems a defeatist attitude, “I knew when I gave out that work, I’d end up doing it.” The same failure stems from a lack of time to plan and set goals, “I’m just too busy – I’ll try get round to that tomorrow!” Be aware that obstacles can get in the way of achieving a result – be just as aware of cast iron excuses being given.

Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal. Stay Focused.

Yes, stay focused! This is a key determinant to your results. It’s less about what is happening around you – it’s more about what is happening inside your head!

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Michael Levy

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