This article goes over a study done by Linda Hill, a Harvard Business School Professor. This study is about those who become managers for the first time, and Linda writes about the 5 common myths and misperceptions that lead to mistakes in their early days. Some of the mistakes that she observed are as follows:
Myth 1: Managers wield significant authority
Linda discovered that many new managers reported that they were shocked by how constrained they feel. New managers have to deal with a web of relationships, with their bosses, subordinates, peers, people inside and outside of the organization. All of whom who have relentless and conflicting demands given to them. Linda suggests that until new managers give up the myth that they have such authority and need to realize that they need to negotiate their way through these people and their demands, they will end up frustrated and facing failure.
Myth 2: Authority flows from the managers position
Linda writes that many managers believe that whatever authority they posses comes from their title. Good managers learn over time that they must earn that title of authority from their subordinates through respect and trust. They must show their character, that they are capable of getting things done, and that they are competent if they want their subordinates to follow their lead.
Myth 3: Managers must control their direct reports
New managers often look for compliance to orders from their subordinates, they must keep in mind that compliance is not the same as commitment. Linda points out that if subordinates do not have commitment, they will not show initiative. And if subordinates do not show initiative, it will be difficult for managers to delegate effectively. Linda suggest that managers nurture a strong commitment to shared goals, rather than following whatever the manager says.
Myth 4: Managers must focus on forgoing good individual relationships
Linda says that managers must focus on on building a team, not on friendships. When managers focus on individual relationships, they lose the fundamental aspect of effective leadership. By shaping the team’s culture of norms and values, managers can unlock the diverse talents that make up the team.
Myth 5: The manager’s job is to ensure things run smoothly
Linda writes that if a manager is only trying to make sure that the operations run smoothly then they are making a big mistake. New managers also need to understand that they are responsible for making changes that will enhance their group’s performance. Many new managers find it challenging because they find themselves having to challenge organizational processes or structures that exist above and beyond their area of formal authority. Linda writes, ‘only when they understand this part of the job will they begin to address seriously their leadership responsibilities.’
I personally found this article helpful in understanding my new manager and I do intend on bringing these points to our next managers meeting to help improve the store’s operations and the effectiveness and commitment of our staff.
Now my question here is, have you ever experienced a manager with that conducted business with these myths? How was that experience? Did you find yourself questioning their ability as an effective manager or did you think their style of management produced positive outcomes for your organization?