Being a manager in a corporation is not easy. You likely face a litany of challenges and are expected to rise to the occasion with little help. You are expected to deliver your performance objectives with limited resources, work with colleagues you may not necessarily trust, or deal with lackluster direct reports. Do any of these problems sound familiar?
If challenges like these are not addressed promptly, you could miss your performance objectives and hurt your advancement opportunities. So, you have two choices: Do more of what you have been doing or elevate your game as a manager by learning how to deliver results through others.
In this and future articles, I will share tips to help you become a better corporate manager. I will build on the lessons learned during my 25 years as a manager for three large corporations (P&G, IBM, and Microsoft), as well as my seven years as an executive coach for over 200 professionals.
Tip #1: Become a coach to your direct reports.Think about the best manager you’ve had in your life. What made them such a good manager? In my case, early in my corporate career I had a manager who regularly called me to his office to brainstorm potential solutions to business challenges. One of these challenges was to address the low brand awareness of a recently launched product. We held several
brainstorming sessions, covering such topics as defining the problem, reviewing the data available, searching for best practices, developing potential solutions, finding alternative ways to enlist other internal areas for feedback and support, developing a plan, seeking approval and funding, and executing the plan.
Throughout the entire process, my manager coached me, mostly one-on-one. At the end, he empowered me to lead the execution of the plan: making our product the exclusive sponsor of a game show in a highly rated TV time slot. This and other actions resulted in significant improvements in brand awareness, sales, and market share.
My manager not only coached me on how to analyze and address business challenges, but he also taught me how to coach direct reports. I paid it forward when I became a corporate manager myself and aimed to follow his coaching best practices with my new direct reports.
Contact me if you need help developing the skills and capabilities to become a better coach, significantly increase your business results through your direct reports (and peers and even your boss) and, as a result, accelerate your career growth.
Percy M. Cannon