How Managers Succeed
Managers succeed by putting other goals before their own agendas. They succeed by placing the company goals first, and they succeed by helping employees achieve their goals. When employees are functioning at their best, then the department is, too. And that is what makes the manager succeed. For this chain of events to occur, however, managers must understand what makes different employees tick.
Most mentors have in mind the goal that the employee will become as good at something as they are — perhaps even better. This benefits your employee, of course, by providing opportunities for growth and advancement. But it benefits you, the mentor, as well. If you can create and shape your own replacement, you are freed to pursue new opportunities yourself.
To hear all the talk about meeting employee needs, you'd think companies don't consider managers to be employees. Of course, you are just as much an employee as are the people who report to you. But an odd thing happens on your climb up the corporate ladder: Your expectations are supposed to become more global. While upper management hopes that line-level employees care about the company in some way, it expects that you, as a manager, care about the company at least as much as you care about yourself. Fair or not, that's the way it is. As the company invests more in you — salary, training, responsibility, perks — it expects more from you.
When Doug got his first job in management, he could hardly wait to share the good news with his family. After everyone congratulated him, his older brother took him aside. “I know you got a raise with your promotion, but let me tell you something,” he said. “Your hourly rate just went down.”
Doug soon learned that his brother was right. Doug was a working manager, accountable for his primary position as a corporate trainer. And he was responsible for the four employees who now reported to him, watching over their work and providing the guidance they needed. Sometimes Doug's day-to-day responsibilities were so demanding that he couldn't break away from them, so he worked late, and even on weekends, reviewing the work of his subordinates. He felt like he had ended up with two jobs — and no appreciation.
Even before Doug received his first paycheck as a manager, reality shattered his expectation that he would cheerfully delegate work to a staff happy to take on new responsibilities, grateful to Doug for making such a positive difference in their lives. Instead, Doug found himself mediating often-petty disputes and telling people what to do. The people who had last month been his peers and who had joined with him to discuss solutions for work group problems now expected him to have all the answers. And of course, he didn't.