8 best practices for managing managers

In some ways, managing managers requires the same responsibilities as managing any employee — you need to help them set goals, grow within the company and advance their careers. But when it comes to leading managers, one must also give them leadership coaching and development, according to Amy Gallo's recent article in the Harvard Business Review.  

Ms. Gallo, a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and author of the HBR Guide to Managing Conflict at Work, offered eight tips for managing managers.

1. Model the behavior you'd like to see. Citing research by Sydney Finkelstein, PhD, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business in Hanover, N.H., Ms. Gallo says direct reports learn to lead by example, so their bosses must demonstrate the desired behavior and leadership style — all the time. "It's not particularly authentic to say I'm going to be a role model on Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. People are watching all the time," said Dr. Finkelstein, according to the report. "It's useful to be deliberate and aware that people are paying attention."

2. Focus your coaching on managers' relationships with their direct reports. In addition to checking on a manager's own progress on a project, for example, it is also important to evaluate how the manager interacts with his or her own direct reports, according to Ms. Gallo. It's important to speak directly about how they coach others and give feedback. For example, instead of just asking, "How is that project coming along?" you could ask, "How are you working with Phil on that project?"

3. Give public praise. If you pay your employees compliments in public, ask for their advice in front of others and give them opportunities to demonstrate their expertise, your managers will do the same for their own direct reports. "Give people opportunities to demonstrate their credibility in front of others. When you show that you value someone on your team and their direct reports are watching, it can really help," Dr. Finkelstein said, according to the report.

4. Implement an apprenticeship model. A formal apprenticeship model will provide opportunities for you to give individualized attention to your managers beyond holding meetings together. Dr. Finkelstein suggests doing "real work together, looking for opportunities to explain what you're doing and how you're doing it," according to Ms. Gallo.

5. Give them room to do their jobs. While it's important to establish a close working relationship, it is important to avoid micromanaging and also give managers room to develop their own unique leadership style.

6. Send them through the same training. If you attended a formal leadership training program and your organization is able to provide new managers with similar educational opportunities, it is a good idea to select the same curriculum for them that you completed, according to Ms. Gallo. "Really good exec ed programs teach a common language and that can be really valuable" for you as well as your direct report, Dr. Finkelstein told Ms. Gallo.

7. Get acquainted with their team. Without undermining your direct report's authority, get familiar with their team so you can give the manager the most relevant feedback.

8. Seek input on your own performance. Don't wait for your annual performance review to gage how you're doing as a leader. Occasionally check in with your direct reports to see what aspects of your coaching you can improve upon and what you are doing well.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars