Good managers develop their self-awareness and become great managers, more than they want to be. Unfortunately for many of us, we don’t do that. We don’t want to confront the uncomfortable truth that we are not the managers we think we are. So, we choose to insulate our deficiencies. And then become a burden not only to our employers but also to those we are supposed to lead.
When we face challenges, we don’t seek help. Because we think that seeking help is a sign of weakness. So, we choose to get on with it. Sadly, sometimes simple challenges can easily escalate into major disasters.
It is the fear of getting exposed that causes many of us to hide behind our weaknesses. Even when trying to solve a problem or making decisions, there’s a fear of looking ignorant by asking questions we are supposed to know.
Here is one good example – during our weekly meetings, my direct reports often said things I did not know. But I pretended to know – by nodding my head along furiously. These were things I should have known, but not from my direct reports. You can see how we get too afraid to admit what we don’t know, even to ourselves.
We hate anything that threatens our own views. That is why we surround ourselves with people and information that confirm what we already think. We get comfortable with people who share our beliefs and ignorance – these are the people we often promote into important positions.
We cunningly delegate our work
As managers, we must possess certain skills that our staff don’t have. And then pass on those skills to them. Surprisingly, many of our staff think they are well equipped with knowledge, we don’t have. So, they feel they could do their manager’s job. And in most cases, they are right.
It is a fact that if we delegate our work to the team, they can gain something out of it. But it is important that we know what we are delegating.
We cannot keep pushing our teams to carry out tasks we don’t understand. In other words, we are hiding our deficiencies by delegating our jobs to direct reports under the guise of motivating or empowering them.
Fortunately, managers can improve by;
Becoming transparent to ourselves
If we have challenges with understanding somethings, let us accept that we have a knowledge gap. Our knowledge gap is simply the things we should know, and the understandings we are supposed to have picked up along our management journey.
We must get the courage and discipline to step back and see the inside-outside of our management life. Why do we have to feel embarrassed about it? It is impossible to even for great managers to have all skills or to know every detail of management. No manager has seen it all. There is always new things, situations, and changes in circumstances.
Paying real attention to ourselves
We have to focus on becoming exemplary managers. By being aware of our weaknesses, emotions, strength, and values. We have to identify and fix our skill gaps by constantly asking ourselves; in which areas are we not making a positive contribution to our work and the teams? What causes that? And how can we address that?
Let us get feedback from the people we trust, including our staff. Ask for help from people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.
Keep learning and be persistent
Self-awareness can help us to identify and deal with our deficiencies. And we can learn it like any other skill. Many people are not good at doing things in the beginning. The things that they do right now and are very comfortable with were once a nightmare. Nothing is perfect in the first attempt.
If we put our heads down and work hard, we can overcome all these deficiencies. To become good managers, we must also be persistent. We should take up further training and learn new skills from others – including our own staff because they certainly know things we don’t.
Why good managers are so rare? Please leave your thought in the comments box below.