The BNet post, and a recent conversation with a Progressive Manager have led me to do some more thinking on the matter. The truth is that many of the managers I meet and work with are ‘accidental’. They have landed in management positions because they are ambitious, bright and have good interpersonal skills. But they have not learned what good management looks like. More importantly they do not understand the potential of good management to transform a mediocre team into an excellent one. ‘Management’ is perceived as a necessary evil that should intrude on the day job as little as possible.
So, if you want to motivate (I would prefer to inspire) and engage frontline managers give them a taste of what a truly great manager is able to do in turning a group of ordinary people into a truly excellent team. This is just about the most rewarding thing you can do. Developing other people and increasing your impact on the world by working effectively through them can be a real buzz.
Managers who achieve this sort of impact don’t do it by fitting in management around the day job. For them, management is the day job. They may still spend some time working in the team rather than on the team – but this is likely to be less than 50% of the time (in BMW I believe managers work in the team 10% of the time with other 90% on management and leadership).