What would you do with an extra hour in your workday? Read The Manager’s Dilemma and find out.
Managers tend to excel at problem-solving. Team members tend to bring problems to their managers, for a variety of reasons. What happens when you bring a problem to an excellent problem-solver?
The Manager’s Dilemma – How to Empower Your Team’s Problem-Solving examines the dynamics that arise from team members bringing their issues and problems to their manager and how this undermines the team’s performance.
The book also explores the valid reasons for escalation, the problem-solving steps, identifying at what step an individual team member might be getting stuck and how to develop and coach team members from different starting points.
You’ll also examine your own problem-solving mindset, as a manager, and how to introduce the new approach. Based on the SMART framework and Manager-as-Coach, you’ll have a lot of A-HA moments while being supported to apply the framework to your own team.
Targeted Age Group:: All audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 1 – G Rated Clean Read
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have worked with hundreds of leaders and managers who excel at problem-solving but don't understand why they never seem to have much time. They have found themselves in an unhelpful dynamic of being the center-point of their team. By this, I mean that a dynamic of constant escalation of issues – big and small – to the manager has arisen within the team and the manager doesn't know how to change the dial, build the team's confidence and free themselves up.
From my own management experience, I identified an approach that I started to use with managers and there were a lot of A-HA moments. What I was saying really resonated with managers, along with my approach to developing individual team members. Not only that, but managers who applied the approach saw huge changes within individual team members, increased performance and more time for them.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
While the book is non-fiction, I choose to use a fictional team of typical team archetypes and their manager, to develop out the very subtle challenges at play in The Manager's Dilemma.
CHAPTER ONE: THE MANAGER’S DILEMMA
What’s the one “thing” that makes a good manager good?
This is a question that regularly crops up when exploring topics such as leadership, emotional intelligence, and personality styles. I customarily demur from answering the question as it’s usually asked in a manner that leaves me thinking that if the questioner could just find that elusive elixir, all would be right with their world. Since there is no silver bullet to sort out all the challenges of management, I don’t like to give false hope.
That said, I have noticed one “thing” being particularly prevalent in managers. It’s not a “way of being” or a particular “style” of doing something. I have no formal research evidence to back up my initial observation. I can’t tell you the exact percentage of the management population that demonstrates this “thing”. However, I can tell you that I’ve run my theory past hundreds of managers and it has resonated with all of them. Of which, the most recent response was, “Yes, of course, look at how we like Gerry, because he’s good at sorting stuff out while Jacob makes very little effort”.
Just what is this “thing” that managers tend to be good at? In short, it’s problem-solving. Managers tend to be very good at solving problems, resolving issues and getting things sorted out. To be clear, I’m not saying “every” manager is good at this. You might be thinking of Mary from accounts, who never solves problems, just leaves a trail of them behind her. Or Dan, two bosses ago, who dithered and dawdled and never seemed to make up his mind. Some managers definitely suffer from decision-making-phobia, while others are in the CYA game.
All of that said, most managers tend to be good at getting things sorted out. Why might that be? Taking a step back, who tends to get promoted? At the junior levels, the people that catch management’s eye tend to be those that can figure things out, get things resolved, at least come up with some ideas and suggestions. Let’s face it; people who take that approach tend to make managers’ lives easier. Ironically, the employee’s reward is often more work, in the guise of additional projects, high-profile projects, opportunities that provide them with greater experience, exposure and confidence. When promotional opportunities come up, who’s most likely to succeed? Yep, our problem-solvers. So, they move up the ladder and into management.
Just to reiterate the point, I used to lecture third-year manufacturing-design engineering students on Human Resource Management. The module was introduced in response to evidence that showed that many engineering graduates moved into management roles within five years of graduating. What do engineers tend to be very good at? You got it, problem-solving.
Surely, managers being good at problem-solving is a good thing, right? On the face of it, yes. It would seem to be a good thing, but let’s take another step back and consider it from another angle.
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