Managing a manager is no easy task. Not only do you have to treat them as with any employee, ensuring they are producing work to your standard, but you also have to make sure that they are supporting their team.
Managing an employee is hard enough as it is, let alone an employee who is also responsible for other team members.
Surely, there's more to offer than just empty words of wisdom and support when it comes to managing a manager. Truth is, management teams are only successful if the manager is managed by a supervisor or someone in a higher leadership position.
If you're not sure if you have the right training or coaching skills to manage a manager, you've come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know about how to manage a manager.
How Do You Manage A Manager?
The best way to manage a manager is to set the example you would want to see from your employee.
If the employee has recently been promoted to a managerial position, such as a team leader or department manager role, you need to provide them with a smooth transition to support them into this position.
Here are our top tips.
It's common knowledge that managers and bosses are there to set an example.
So, the best way to manage a manager is to be the change you want to see in the company. It's not just about giving them advice in your one-to-one catch-ups - you have to be the manager that you want your employee to become.
Of course, the beauty of managerial positions is that they generally allow for individuality, as everyone will have their own ways of leading a team.
They still need some sort of role model throughout the working hours to mentally refer to.
This can come in handy during the transition process between staff member and manager, wherein they can ask themselves, "what would my boss do?".
Not only will this benefit the manager, but it might also help you realize what is and what is not working in your management style. This can only work to make a positive change within the company culture.
As mentioned above, being a manager comes with a lot of independence. There isn't just one way to manage a team, after all.
So, it's good to encourage autonomy when managing a manager, because it allows them to function independently.
This can be daunting at first for the manager, but also gives you a chance to look for any potential mistakes they are making.
The key is to avoid micromanaging a manager. The manager is managing another team of their own, so the last thing they want is someone breathing down their neck and examining their every move while they try to function independently.
You need to give them enough space to build a sense of trust.
Of course, there will be times when the manager will come to you for guidance.
You should only ever offer this guidance when they ask for it, or if you notice a consistent issue that is affecting the work environment or quality of work. Otherwise, it's best to give them space.
If someone has just been promoted to a managerial position, it must be because they are respected in the company for their hard work.
This goes without saying, but it's vital that a boss continues to show managers respect. It's the same as setting an example - if you show your manager respect, they will show their team respect, and respect will be reciprocated.
One of the best ways to show respect to a manager is to compliment them on their work.
If their team is doing well and the quality of work is improving, thank the manager for their work and time. These compliments shouldn't be forced or insincere, so do this only for genuine achievements to avoid sounding patronizing.
As much as you need to let managers do their thing, you also have to provide some form of coaching to ensure they are following the right management guidelines.
This is usually done in the form of one-to-one meetings, where you can talk openly about team members and the quality of work.
When you're managing a manager, you still need to check in with the team members. Not only is it important to show that you care, but asking about specific team members will help both of you see how projects are progressing.
Asking about how a particular team member is doing with a particular project also gives the manager a gentle nudge that the project is important.
Ask specific questions, like "What are you doing to help [team member name] with the project to get it done on time?". This also encourages the manager to take accountability if they aren't providing enough support.
Observe, Don't Micromanage
Lastly, you need to avoid micromanaging a manager at all costs. You don't need to watch their every move and check in with them every hour.
Instead, you can observe them in action, whether in the office or remotely.
So, while you won't be attending every one-on-one that the manager will have with their team members, you can check into the occasional team meeting or join them in job interviews.
Again, you need to take a step back and observe how they conduct these meetings and interviews, rather than lead them.
This also gives you an opportunity to provide specific feedback in private after the meeting or interview. You don't want to undermine or patronize them by interrupting their meeting or interview, after all.
So, there you have it! Managing a manager might not be an easy task, but the key is to allow them the chance to grow independently and learn from their own mistakes.
Your role is to not micromanage, and simply observe how they lead a team to ensure the highest quality of work across the company.
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