The Manager’s Playbook

Managers Playbook

Everyone’s first experience of management is being managed.  If you’ve had bad managers, or even just average ones, it can be hard to know just how much positive impact they can have.

Being a ‘Manager’ also has a bad rep. It’s not associated with dynamic, interesting, important work. But it should be. Because being a manager is an opportunity and a privilege. From a company perspective, having a team will enable you to achieve things that you never could on your own. Individually, you will have incredible influence on your team members, both on their future careers and their daily working lives.

In many organisations, one of the hardest things about becoming a manager is that you’re left to ‘figure it out’.  

In the name of ‘figuring it out’, managers often make costly mistakes, not to mention suffering hours of stress about whether they’re doing the right thing.  

42% of new managers admit they developed their style by observing and mimicking a previous manager, rather than through any type of formalized training. Nearly half of survey respondents who had 10 or more years of managerial experience said they’ve only received about nine total hours of training. For those with less than one year as a manager, 43% have had no training at all. – West Monroe Survey

Managers learning by Osmosis

Many of us are thrust into management positions with little training or equipped with effective tools or processes – to lead and manage people, departments, business units or whole companies. We most often learn by osmosis, and this can be good or bad, depending on what type of manager/boss we have had along our career path.

You see and experience the knock-on effects of this in many organisations. When the manager above has been promoted because of superior technical skills, but is lacking the managerial skills to lead and manage people. To further compound this, they make poor hiring decisions. The outcome is that people become disengaged, which results in politics, silo mentality, poor productivity and poor retention of ‘A’ players  – a vicious spiral. This also has a negative impact on the business due to the cost of mis-hiring.

In my own experience, at 22 years old I was unexpectedly thrust into a management position and I had to learn on the go. Looking back, if only I had a playbook ‘this is what and how you do it’ – how business would have been much easier, less exhausting and less stressful. Even though the business strategy was good, as the company I lead achieved amazing growth for many years – mistakes were made in the people and execution parts of the business.

If what I described above sounds like you and you’re in a management or leadership role, then you’re likely asking how you can move to that “next level,” going from a good to a great manager or leader. A Manager’s Playbook will help you get there faster.

A Playbook For An Efficient Manager

Being a successful manager involves a new set of working practices, habits, and behaviors.  You’ll only be motivated to make those changes if you want to be good at the job and see it as a core part of your professional identity.

In many companies, some people make the step to being a people manager without really embracing the role.  They still attach their professional identity to their previous job. They still see themselves as a Salesperson first rather than a Sales Manager, an Engineer over a Construction Manager, an Accountant over a Finance Manager, a Tradesperson over a Factory manager etc. etc.

To become a great manager, you’ll need to make it a core part of your work.

The Key Focus Points of a Manager

  • The Results/Outcomes: you’re there to achieve results which couldn’t be achieved without you. 
  • The Team/Group: you’re going to do this by optimizing how a group of people can work better together than they could individually.  
  • The Individual/Bring out the Best: you’re guiding and supporting people to improve and work at their individual best.

Creating your Manager’s Playbook

Start off by creating a folder or file that will hold all of your managers’ tools and responses to any situation you face or may face – the ‘this is how it’s done’ Managers Playbook.

Then on one page, list what you currently have and add to it as you develop the relevant tools and processes and gain managerial experience. Some call this knowledge management – a collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of the company.

This will be a working document (a recipe) where you create, maintain and share. It will help you train and empower emerging leaders – ‘this is how you do it’.

“A sign of a great manager is how many potential managers they create under them” (succession planning) – John Maxwell

I suggest that there are at least two sections in your Manager’s Playbook:

  1. General Section – that is pretty much universal for all managers/leaders of the organisation
  2. Role Specific – tools and processes

What should be included? 

From a Scaling Up/Rockefeller Habits perspective, I suggest the following.

In the General section:

  • Core Values and Amplifiers
  • Vision Statement – BHAG & Purpose
  • GROW Model of Coaching/Performance Management
  • Daily Huddles – How to Guide
  • Job Scorecard Template
  • Weekly and Monthly Meeting Agendas
  • Meeting Ground Rules
  • Weekly 1-on-1 Coaching/Check-In form and How to Guide
  • Talent Assessment Guide and Scorecard Template
  • High Impact Hiring Interview and Reference Checking Questions
  • Organizational Structure
  • Quarter and Annual Priorities for the company
  • 4x Quadrant Prioritization Matrix
  • 32 Time Bandit Busters
  • Manager’s Reporting Template
  • Scaling Up/Rockefeller Habits Execution Checklist
  • Personal Development Plan Template

In the Role Specific section:

  • Own Job Scorecard
  • Department Scorecard/KPI’s template (with Leading and Lagging Indicators)
  • Manager’s Checklist
  • Talent Assessment Scorecard
  • Specific Key Business Critical Processes 

Having a Manager’s Playbook will help you avoid mistakes and equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate your role as a manager with confidence, with less stress and in turn delivering great results for your department, business unit or company.   

Need more information on implementing Manager’s Playbooks in your business, give us a call.

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