Great Job Performance Won't Make You a Good Manager

Great Job Performance Won't Make You a Good Manager
From Recruiter - October 15, 2017

In many organizations, promotions into management are based on little else beyond good job performance and tenure. However, being great at ones job doesnt necessarily mean that a person will be a good manager. For example, an employee can have large sales numbers but be too aggressive to manage people. Similarly, producing a high volume of product on an assembly line doesnt qualify one to make schedules or delegate responsibility.

In reality, individual management candidates should be looked at much more closely and judged according to more relevant criteria.

One factor to consider is alignment between the employees skill set and interests and the demands of the prospective managerial role, says Katherine Alex Stevens, product manager for the Becoming a Better Manager program at HBX, the digital learning arm of Harvard Business School. Is your strong executional performer ready to stretch to a role requiring strategy development and people management? Will he find the new role personally and professionally fulfilling? Dispositional factors can be a useful indicator as well: Does the employee go beyond simply identifying problems and proactively propose solutions? Does she not only look to fulfill her own obligation to a team project, but empower her teammates to succeed as well??

Becoming a Better Manager

If youre a manager who was promoted into a role you dont feel prepared or qualified for: Dont panic.

Instead, you should spend more time thinking about your processes and less time thinking about personnel, says Joseph Fuller, professor of management practice in general management at Harvard Business School and the instructor for the HBX Becoming a Better Manager course.

Processes are those steps and actions that determine how work is done in an organization or team. Managers who are unhappy with their results should be asking: Which process drives the specific outcome? Who is involved in the process? What information drives relevant decisions?

Candidates preparing to move into management positions should ask similar questions about processes to make sure they understand the role theyre getting ready to assume: What processes are most important in determining whether a unit meets its objectives? Who is involved? What data are people relying on to make decisions? What assumptions frame their choices?

Managers often dont understand the importance of the way they structure a processwho is involved, what information is available to them, what their incentives are, etc., Fuller says. Executives need to evaluate the quality and efficiency of their managerial processes just like they assess operational processes. Managerial processes drive results, and results create opportunities for companies and for individual managers.


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