How to become the most effective manager you can be

In my experience working as manager and consultant in and for organisations in the past 30 year one of the three most important success factors in business success is the quality of the management team. The other two are the balance sheet and whether the business model is aggressive enough to keep the business growing

Most of us do not have direct control over the balance sheet or the business model, but as managers we have full control over effectiveness as leaders in managerial positions. Jocko Willing et.al. differentiate between effective and ineffective managers. In his book Extreme Ownership effective leaders displays extreme ownership. For those who have actually read the publication we have to agree his reference is working mostly with exceptional specialist which for most of us is not the reality since our team will generally consist of a normal distribution curve of potential and performance.

So how do we translate extreme ownership into practical application in the normal day-to-day environment? What is the single indicator which will make a disproportional contribution to your effectiveness as a manager. It seems accountability amongst all the other factors is the 20% making the 80% difference. Although accountability refers to a mindset of taking ownership and not blaming others the most important aspect of accountability seems to being held accountable as a manager.

Why is being held accountable a driving factor in significantly improved effectiveness? Why do Olympic athletes and champions specifically require a coach? One can easily argue they are better than most other earthlings. What is the real contribution a coach can make in the life of an extremely successful athlete. Although the coach may have an intelligent opinion about practice, trends and experience the main contribution is holding the athlete accountable for input and growth. This accountability carries the athlete through the ups and downs of seasons by forcing the individual to focus on what they have control over, their goals and the input they should make to improve or maintain performance levels.  To be honest I am still to hear about a world champion in anything who does not have a coach. Why is that? Because they are dependent on others? I think not – it seems they need these exceptional high levels of accountability to achieve.

So if you as manager have the ambition of becoming the equivalent of an Olympic champion as a manager, logic suggest a coach who will assist you in holding yourself  accountable to consistently improve by focussing on what you need to do, what you have achieved and what you still need to pursue. The coach may be an external or internal resource and if you are lucky enough to have a system within your work environment where your direct line manager is able (has a mature teachable point of view)  and willing to act as coach, make sure you exploit that opportunity fully. If you do not have than opportunity do your homework to find effective managers in your industry or organisation and engage them in a focussed manner.

The bottom line is you will not improve as manager by continuing to do things the same way or waiting for “osmoses” to take care of the growth. You need to take accountability for your growth and find someone who will support you in this process of keeping yourself accountable. Research suggest this may be the best investment in time you have ever made in your professional career and if you are lucky the coaching may even be free.