Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Manager as Developer

Date: April 30, 2012
Editor's Notes: I will be previewing over the next few weeks management training- coaching lessons that will eventually be included in the new Mobile Training & Coaching APP for managers and individual contributors committed to their own professional development.

If you are interested in being the first to know about it's release - email me at -, and I'll put you on the list.

Focus: Management Success
Enhancing the Role of Manager in 21st Century Workplace
Audio duration: 3 mins. 01 secs.
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Manager as Developer – Enhancing the Role of Manager in 21st Century Workplace 
WC: 436
Transcript - print now
Have you ever thought about the connection between management and photography? I love photography.  I actually developed that love from a friend who had a dark room in his apartment.  I particularly love black and whites and I had the opportunity to acquire a cool camera to express that new found love. 

The bonus to knowing this friend?...I got to be in the dark room and watch the pictures I took develop.  I loved the process of watching what I had seen and captured through the lens slowly come into full view in the chemical wash. 

I see management in the 21st century workplace in a similar way.  These days, just supervising the activities of employees doesn’t seem enough to meet ever changing business needs and to maintain our company’s competitive edge.  The need to retain talent, the different generations and levels of maturity that comprise our teams members call for a kind of management that can make the most of everyone’s capabilities. 

That’s where the role of developer comes into play. My old trusty friend Webster defines develop as follows: to make visible or manifest, to work out the possibilities, to cause to unfold gradually.  My favorite from that list is “to work out the possibilities.”  

As we exercise the role of developer, how satisfying would it be to nurture and facilitate in an employee what’s possible; perhaps a needed characteristic that, up until our involvement, was weak or nonexistent? 

And there in lies the connection between photography and managers who develop.  We get to look for and identify what’s possible, then take a snapshot of what we see and help that characteristic, talent, or skill come into existence. 

What a great opportunity to exert leadership.  I just bet there will be many times in which we’ll be able to see what’s possible when a team member does not.  That, by the way, is having vision, seeing for them, seeing when they cannot.  We can move from manager to mentor and what a meaningful and satisfying place to be. 

I recommend that time be taken to assess what’s possible and needed to develop for each team member.  Next, sit down and talk with each of them about what you see in them; share your vision. Then, ask them what they see and together begin to create a plan to realize that vision. 

A final note: there is an additional benefit to this experience. Besides going from manager to mentor, you’ll also enhance your relationship by adding the qualities of collaboration and partnership.

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