A Good Manager

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Leadership - Good Management

An executive with a lot of personal appeal usually has the gift of empathy. Webster defines it as the capacity for participating in another's feelings or ideas. You put yourself in someone else's shoes. You listen with an understanding heart and mind. If you have empathy, you cannot only understand others, you can inspire them.

All managers must delegate to others many things they could do better themselves. If they want the goodwill and cooperation of those under them, however, it's best to keep that fact to themselves. They can coach and train people, but it must be done tactfully without flaunting their superiority or undermining the self-respect of their people.

"See everything, overlook a lot, correct a little." Those words were written by Pope John XXIII. They ought to be kept in mind by everyone who teaches or supervises others. The common error is to try to correct too many faults at the same time. A much more effective way is to work on one thing at a time.

Take a professional golfer, for example, who tries to teach people how to play golf. The person who comes to him for lessons may have three, five, or even more basic flaws in his swing. All of these may have to be corrected before the person can expect to hit a golf ball consistently and well.

If the pro told his pupil about all these errors at once, the person would be hopelessly confused. Instead, the pro, if he's smart, simply points out one or two of the most glaring errors. Hopefully, if the golfer corrects these, and starts to hit the ball a little better, he may be encouraged to come back and learn more. Then the pro will give him something else to work on.

The same principles hold true for those learning new skills in business too. The best way to handle them is exactly the same. Work on one thing at a time, and watch for every opportunity to praise their progress.

Try to help them succeed one step at a time. Success is a great motivator, and when they have mastered one step it will spur them on to master the next step.

The most important thing in helping people improve is the teacher's continued, steady interest. You can't teach something to people one day, then forget it for three months and expect them to show amazing improvement.

Some, of course, will learn faster than others. Some too, will have more natural ability than others. Good instructors adjust their teaching methods accordingly. The important thing is to give each your attention and interest, the more skilled right along with the less skilled.

Many will stumble along the way. That's perfectly natural. No one becomes highly skilled at anything overnight. While setting high standards, then, good managers will be tolerant--and most of all patient. They won't blow up when people fall short, or continue to make the same mistake over and over, or otherwise fail to perform as expected.

Another thing--best results are always easier when you build on people's strengths, rather than by harping on their weaknesses.