HOW TO MANAGE SMART PEOPLE
In any given week, I receive via email, fax, snail mail, blogs, various websites, magazines, etc... all kinds of business, leadership, relationship and financial related articles. Usually after sifting through what looks good and what doesn't (and the 'doesn't' category is usually about 90% of what I receive and ends up in the garbage or shredder) I sit down at night and read, read and read.
Well tonight, I ran across an article that had an interesting title: "How to manage smart people". And well, since I happen to manage and lead a group of VERY smart people, I thought I should read it. So I did. And did, and did, and did, and did. Holy smokes - what a great article!
It's from a website called UIWEB.COM which describes itself as a website containing "Essays on web design interaction usability experience architecture etc." I'm not even sure how I found the site, but the article that I read tonight was excellent, so I wanted to link it here and also share a few tidbits from the article that really stuck out to me. So, here are a few of them...
First of all, the article is written by a guy named Scott Berkun and he is talking about managing people and how to do a great job at it. The article is very practical and beneficial to anyone leading a company, staff or even volunteers.
A few thoughts...
(Speaking of a manager he once worked for...):
- "Arguments always centered on some problem that needed to be solved, and what the best approach would be to solve it. If there was a disagreement, he'd restate the goals and expectations, make sure everyone was still on the same page, and then lead a discussion of possible alternatives.
He didn't care if he was right or wrong, only that the best ideas survived...
His authority, though obvious since he was my boss, was rarely something he had to exercise or use as a tool to get things done."
- "They (managers) have more to do with enabling the happiness and productivity of the people that work for them than anyone else in the organization.
(They)...have an emotional responsibility to their reports, or to the people who are dependent upon them.
A manager sets the tone for dialog(sic), enables or prevents a fun work environment, and interprets (or ignores) the corporate rules and structure, into a daily practice of shared work."
- "...he hired people very carefully, trying to find people that would work within his management philosophy. He chose people that were self motivated and confident enough that he didn't have to expend much energy figuring out how to get them to work hard. Then he created an environment where good ideas rose to the top, further encouraging smart people to want to contribute.
Even if you don't have a team of rock stars, it's your job as manager to either work with the people you have to make them better, define their roles to match their strengths, or to manage them out of your group/team/company.
In the end, good managers know how to use as little hierarchy and authority as needed for the group to be effective, regardless of the domain."
Again, the link.