How does today impact what it takes to be a great manager?  The makeup of the labor force, the economy, and the culture are constantly changing.  What worked well 10 years ago (or even yesterday) might not be the best approach for today.  Great managers flex, they adapt, and are in tune with what is going on in business and their associates.

In a meeting with a Fortune 100 Leader last week I was asked a great question:

“From what you see in today’s economy, what do managers need to do for their associates to be successful?”

What a great question!  She knows that the world has changed and to be most valuable within her firm, she has to help managers with skills that matter TODAY!

4 WAYS to be a GREAT manager today:

  • Be strategic.  Great managers survey the current landscape, look at what this means for the future and communicate how the associates can best contribute with their role.  They help their associates make the connection between where the company or department is going and what they need to do as an individual contributor along the way.
  • Make the time for ongoing discussions (coaching) to help associates stay or become engaged.  There seems to be a lot of fear and apprehension in the workplace today about what is going on in business AND in everyday life.  To help associates stay productive and not let that fear derail them, great managers connect with individuals on a regular basis to find out what is important to them, review goal and activity progress and help them move forward.
  • Show Flexibility.  One-size does not fit all.  Flexibility in all approaches are extremely important in our diverse workforce.  Schedules, responsibilities, expectations all need to flex to pull the most out of each person.  Great managers review current processes and rules to make sure that they are not barriers to future success – for the team and its’ members.
  • Communicate.  Amazing how the same message to a group of people is “heard” so differently.  For each audience (whether 1 or 10) great managers carefully plan and practice to capture the right tone and words.  The Corporate Memo is overdone.  Today great managers utilize a variety of media when possible, teleconference,web-conference, live meetings, small groups, or a mixture  – to fit the needs of their group.

These four approaches work no matter what the economy is doing…if you believe that the best way for YOU to succeed is to help your associates succeed.  The great managers of today help others be ready to contribute tomorrow.