"People leave managers, not companies." - Marcus Buckingham.
This popular quote captures the central role of middle managers and people leaders. They either lead their teams to effectively execute company strategy, or they lead to everything unraveling.
It's a crucial job and they are certainly feeling the pressure. Research has revealed that up to 20% of managers are dissatisfied with their work. They are simultaneously expected to execute on major transformation agendas, often not having a voice in the direction of those agendas, and they face a daily reality of relentless and conflicting demands.
There are no quick fixes to working through these challenges, but the models in this list will definitely help. Here's what's covered in this Playbook:
Let's dive in.
SET THE SCENE
Establish the right conditions and leverage fundamental approaches to set you and your team up for success.
Google's Project Aristotle revealed Psychological Safety as the key ingredient behind high-performing teams. Click into this model for practical techniques to build it.
As a manager, one of your key roles is to set the direction of the team, providing them with meaning and clarity. Not an easy task, but this model will help.
How do you break out of the crushing weight of middle-management busy work? Part of it is making the distinction between important and urgent tasks. This classic model is a proven way to do just that.
How do you approach your 1-on-1s and empower individuals in your team? Use these models to go to the next level.
Building on Psychological Safety, use this to understand what drives and how to better engage team members.
Sure, use the Circle of Competence, but don't stick people in unmoving boxes. Use this model to consider people mobility across job roles or projects.
In your 1-on-1s be sure to have a view and empower your staff to identify and work with their Circle of Competence, particularly in how and where they choose to collaborate.
Need to support your team with growth conversations? Use this model to direct their capability development plans.
As tempting as it is, 'telling' your team what they need to do better won't always move them to action. Instead, build self awareness with the GROW Model.
Beyond coaching, sometimes you'll need to challenge people and raise difficult conversations. Click this model to explore how to do it with Radical Candor.
Use these techniques to build high performing teams, quickly.
Working with your team involves understanding the stages your team must work through, and how you should lead through each stage.
As a people leader, you'll likely be in more meetings than anyone else in the team. Since you'll live in them, why not make them work more effectively and even get rid of some of them altogether.
Want a culture of accountability? Why not take a page from Apple's book by assigning Directly Responsible Individuals?
Multitasking will kill performance of you and your team. Understanding Deep Work will help you schedule uninterrupted focus periods to get creative and thinking work done.
Whether you're implementing Scrum, Kanban, or have not made the transition to Agile – you can still begin to implement an agile mindset with a practice of interaction, experimentation and finding value.
Finally, use Cialdini's classic Principles of Influence to persuade people upline and downline.