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TLS Continuum Part 23: What is My Role Here?

Congratulations you have made it to that corner office. Now comes the hard stuff. What really is your role within the organization? What are the organization expectations now you have reached this level of your career ladder? The role of senior leaders within our organizations is dramatically changing and to be successful you need to likewise change. You need to change from being a manager to a coach. The purpose of this post is to explore the two roles and their impact on the organization.

To begin with we need to be sure we are on the same page as to the definition of the two terms. If you Google the term Manager you get back a definition stating that manager is noun stating that a manager is a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization. Note that the definition uses the term controlling or administering. This concept leads one to believe that success is measured in terms of the degree of command and control that the individual places on those human capital that work for them. If likewise we Google the term coach we find that the definition is give (someone) extra or private teaching. Taking these two terms together we can vision the differences.

The easiest way I can think of showing the difference is taking it from the view of the generational mix in the workplace. The manager can be taken from the view of the traditionalist within the organization. They are used to the status quo. Everything is done by a chain of command and information is passed on under a need to know basis. The idea of the manager thus becomes one of telling the human capital assets that this is the way it will be done and it will be done that way. The organization thrives on the basis of management making the totality of decision of how the organization operates.

The new normal in the terms of corporate culture relies on a totally different view of the organization. It becomes critical that everyone within the organization becomes involved in decisions that determine how the organization functions. The new culture exemplified by the three pillars of the TLS Continuum – Voice of the customer, culture specific and continuous improvement. The primary pillar affecting the manager-coach is similar to the sports team coach. As the team coach you are responsible for planning out the plays and relaying to the team what you expect, why you expect it and how it affects the players. Your job becomes to personally work with those on your team who can’t make the cut and explore ways to either get them up to the required performance level or discuss alternative directions for both the organization and the human capital asset.

Given the choice in this rapidly changing environment we call a workplace your managers must become coaches not managers. They must ensure that your teams on a cross-functional basis know and understand everything about the organization. They must understand the financial ramifications of their actions. They must understand the voice of the customer. They must understand how their role fits into the voice of the customer. Your responsibility is to take the team to the next level by helping them to reach their full potential as assets to the organization. You are charged with showing the roadmap to becoming a great organization. When the human capital assets are falling behind it becomes the coach’s task to lead the assets to the required performance level.

You make the decision are you’re a manager or a coach? Realistically evaluate your place within the organization and see if you have the required expertise to make the transition.


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