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Managing the Manager

Source: BryansBizBlog.com

So you have hired your first ‘manager’. You have to now provide, or get, training and mentoring for this newly minted management employee. Additionally though, you may need training or mentoring on how to ‘manage the manager’.

So many times owners make the smart decision to hire a manager so that they do not have to be in the business every minute of every day. What has to happen however is that this new manager, if they have never managed must be supported as they develop their managerial skills. This is particularly critical when the new manager has been hired from ‘within’ the organization and now must now manage their former colleagues.

What is equally critical is the training and support the owner must get to learn now how to manage a manager. Robust management means having the authority to make decisions both in the presence and in the absence of the owner of the business. The owner will now have to develop an entirely new level of ‘delegation’. The owner will now have to clearly define what decisions the manager can make and then honor those decisions, even when the manager makes decisions which are different than that of the owner.

The biggest single issue I observe on a regular basis is that of an owner who wants their manager to do something ‘exactly like I do it’. From how something is done and said to the exact decision-making results, owners struggle with ‘how’ their managers manage. The second issue which often occurs is that the owner often bypasses their new manager, goes directly to an employee and then inadvertently countermands a decision the manager has made. In this case the manager feels undermined and undervalued. Both are reasonable feelings on the part of the manager.

Prior to hiring your first manager, clear expectations need to be established for both the new manager and the owner. It is wise to create management positions as a business grows. Understanding the complexities of that decision may require some support for both the owner and the new manager.

Weekly postings on management and organizational issues for both businesses and non-profits from Bryan Nelson of Vista Management Solutions.

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