Note: This was a series of talks I gave to leadership in my organization, so some of the comments here might not make sense in the context of a blog post.
This is not original work: I pulled heavilty from these four books to put together these talks:
If I did not site some of these works here, or pulled quotes directly from them, forgive me.
What is a manager?
“The output of a manager is the output of the organizational units under their supervision or influence”.
- Andy Grove, High Output Management
How do you, as a manager, add value to your organization?
By continually looking for ways to make things truly better for your team. Every hour of every day should be spent increasing the output or the value of the output of the people you’re responsible for well.
A team will only perform well if peak performance is elicited from individuals. Your expectation and goal setting can help motivate your team to perform better. No one shows up for work thinking to themselves, “I really want to do a bad job today.”
Setting Goals & Expectations
If you do not tell your reports, “I want you do XXX as part of your (job/project/task)”. Then they won’t do it. If you tell them what to do, but they don’t have the skills/training to do it, you’ve supplied them with an impossible task.
Example: If you have a project coming up, and one of the requirements is using some technology (Bash/Gitlab/ElasticSearch/Terraform/Redis/Whatever), you should tell your team what they’re going to be doing. Then, given who’s going to be working on the project, you need to find out their comfort level with the tech they’ll be using. If they’re going to be working on the project and not comfortable, it’s your job to find training for them.
This doesn’t just apply to technology. If you want your team to follow a certain practice, follow process in a certain way, communicate a certain way, you should train them on what you want. Asking them without showing them how to do what you want is ineffective.
You don’t have to train folks yourself. Look at what I’m doing. I’m speaking to you because our management identified a gap and wants us to work on it. They think I have knowledge of the topic that can help. You can do the same with your team.
If your manageer came to you and said, “Go buy a book and some courses on any topic, and give a presentation to the team in two weeks. This is 50% of your job for the next sprint.” Would you be upset? Or would you be excited to learn something new? You can leverage this with your team! You don’t need experts on a topic to create knowledge and get the ball rolling.
When someone isn’t performing
When a person is not doing their job, there can only be two reasons for it. The person either can’t do it (they need training) or won’t do it (they need motivation). Either they are not capable or not motivated. All you can do to improve the output of your employees is motivate and train. There is nothing else.
As a manager, the only way you can increase the output of your team is through motivation and training. If you are not training your team, then you are neglecting half your job.