‘I don’t have time for a workshop,’ said the manager.

- Leadership

by Ralph van Roosmalen

In most companies the management is starting to prepare itself for the yearly  performance review rituals. They are looking back at the last eight weeks of the year to decide how the managers can rank their employees from one to five. No worries, this isn’t a rant about the lost value of those kinds of reviews. However, if you are interested in experimenting with reviews, read this article to get inspired.

This blog is about the manager and his own development. I did a lot of recruitment in the last five years, looking for smart and creative professionals who get things done. In most interviews I just asked three questions and the last question always was: “Tell me what did you do to become a better tester/professional/developer/etc.”

In most cases there was silence and then: “Errr… I wanted to read some books, and I errr.. I follow some blogs on LinkedIn and errr errr… Maybe I could have done more.” Yep, should have done more. In the current economy being creative and knowledgeable is essential, you need to keep developing yourself.

I believe in leading by example. As a manager, you should set an example in everything. Cleaning up the office kitchen in the evening, get the clean cups out of the dishwasher in the morning, live up to the values of the team, be on time for meetings. Nobody said it was easy to be a manager.

Most of the time, managers realize they should lead by example and the good managers even do. However, there is one area where most managers completely do NOT lead by example — actively becoming a better manager. I had some talks with Management 3.0 facilitators and they all came up with the same stories. Most of the managers say that they are too busy to attend a training. No time. They need to create this, create that, take care of this, take care of that, preview the end-year reviews, etc. So many excuses… and in most cases a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you take care of a lot of things because you don’t think your employees will, your employees won’t do those things… and you’ll be right.

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As a manager, during the end-of-year review, you probably need to say something about personal development to your team members. How about this year first apologize because, as a manager, you did not lead by example in personal development?

simply-managing-henry-mintzberg

Next explain that you would like to work together with your team members to come up with a Team Competency Matrix for the whole team, including you, the manager.

If you would like to be a manager of an innovative, forward-thinking organization, then you need to experiment a lot. Management has to be creative and experiment quite often, in order to foster an environment that welcomes such behavior. If you never get out of the office as manager, you will never gain new insights, work with your peers and learn to experiment. I don’t consider reading some blogs on Harvard Business Review as going out. I refer to visiting conferences where you can learn things, attending workshops, getting out of your comfort zone. As Henry Mintzberg said in his book Simply Managing, “Managing can be seen as taking place within a triangle where art, craft and the use of science meet.”

Take some time for a Management 3.0 Workshop soon:

Photo by Aron (Unsplash)


2 thoughts on "‘I don’t have time for a workshop,’ said the manager."

  • Justyna says:

    After you article, I just thought about one sentence that stuck in my mind ‘managers are too busy to improve’.

  • Gary says:

    Your article accurately identifies the balance a leader has to make on a daily basis. The best ones are able to continue to develop while handling the day to day responsibilities.

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