Five Keys for New Managers, Personal Power and Decision Making

Recently in coaching conversations with several new managers, I found myself thinking about Harvard’s David McClelland and his findings about managers.  In his now classic research he found that managers fall into three motivational groups.  His conclusions are timelessly pertinent: 

  • Affiliative mangers need to be liked more than they need to get things done.  Their decisions are aimed at increasing their own popularity rather than promoting the goals of the organization. 
  • Managers motivated by the need to achieve focus on setting goals and reaching them, but they put their own achievement and recognition first.  In contrast to highly affiliative managers, they aren’t worried about what people think of them.
  • Institutional managers are interested above all in power.  Recognizing that you get things done inside organizations only if you can influence the people around you, they focus on building power through influence, rather than through their own individual achievement.  People in this third group are the most effective and their direct reports: 
  • Have a greater sense of responsibility.  
  • See organizational goals more clearly.
  • Exhibit more team spirit.

Again and again it’s clear that effective delegation may be one of the most difficult tasks for new managers.  Their reluctance to delegate assignments has roots in real fears of two kinds:

  • Losing stature.  “If I assign high-profile projects to my staff, they’ll get the credit.  What kind of visibility will I be left with?  Will my boss understand the value I’m adding?”
  • Overburdening the staff.  “Will my staff resent me?”

Five keys for new managers!

  1. You are no longer an individual contributor.
  2. Your main task is the development of talented staff.
  3. You are a partner with your boss–not his/her servant.
  4. You have key corporate objectives to achieve–through others!
  5. You are responsible for holding staff acountable.

The essence of a manager’s work is that by giving away power, you increase the total sum of power.  And as a leader, you actually gain more power.  Indeed, successful management is more an art than a science.   Successful managing is so satisfying that it becomes addictive!

Link to original post

Leave a Reply