Informational Interview Series
In the informational interviews with managers, I asked them what does it take to be a successful manager and what specific functional or technical knowledge is critical to their positions?
Their points of view were diverse but connected to each other, I summarized them in 4 keys to demystify the secrets of successful managers:
- Care about people and work: Managers without hearts won’t engage employees’ hearts for work. Some managers put more efforts on brain engagement by making sure the work is done on time and on budget and forget to empower and motivate their co-workers to deliver the best of them and to make sure that they are growing and are successful.
- Able to learn: Basic knowledge about the position and the life experience are very important to a successful manager. The interviewees agreed that the knowledge can be acquired and the skills can be developed but the soft skills are difficult to change. In a government setting, the managers should follow rules, collective agreements, policies and guidelines. They need to have an overall knowledge and guide people without knowing all the details.
- Be like a parent: The interviewees advised building strong relationships with employees and keep a positive attitude without taking things seriously because it is not an open heart surgery. Good managers should develop a “thick skin” and self-confidence to handle though situations. They also should act as parent and make tough decisions.
- Have a vision: It is important for managers to have a vision and share it with their co-workers. The latter trust their supervisors and do the right things because they are more engaged in leading the journey towards the destination. After all, everybody should head the same destination and complete each other to make it happen.
Think about it: Manage projects and Lead People