What Do Great Managers Do?

Chess board and hand

In my ongoing journey to learn how to become a great manager, and to teach others, I came upon an older article in the Harvard Business Review that was great.  Below is an excerpt from the article and then the link to the full article, which is worth reading.

The article mentions a manager of a large drug store and how she learned to find out the unique talents of her large staff and then strategically place them in the position or give them projects that they would naturally excel at.  I have to say that even though I know some of my staff’s gifts and talents I don’t often have the opportunity to allow them to use them to their fullest.

After reading this article I do want to find out more ways I can let my staff use their talents more often as I know this would make them not only happier, but also make our practice better.

I really like the comparison in the article regarding how average managers play checkers with their employees, but great managers play chess.  Since I am not really familiar with chess I did a Google search and found out what chess is about and now can understand more of what this comparison below means.

A survey of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup Organization found that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: These managers discover what is unique about each person under their management and then capitalize on it. Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. More important, you won’t win if you don’t think carefully about how you move the pieces. Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.

Being a manager of people is not a job for the light-hearted.  It can be difficult and stressful.  It is important as manager to never think you know it all, because managing is a life-long learning journey.  

I also have attached a link below to Greg Blencoe, the author of “The Supermanager” Facebook page.  Greg has been doing some great videos with tips on good management.  I think you will enjoy watching and listening to what he has to say.

Greg Blencoe Author of The Supermanager Facebook Videos

Harvard Business Review “What Great Managers Do”


2 thoughts on “What Do Great Managers Do?

  1. This about covers it Tina: Being a manager of people is not a job for the light-hearted. It can be difficult and stressful. It is important as manager to never think you know it all, because managing is a life-long learning journey.

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