There is more to being a manager than just…

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Jennifer Fallon writes in the Epic Fantasy novel Warlord:

Damian patted the lad on the shoulder and continued along his way, thinking he should have thought to ask the boy his name. Almodavar would have done that. Then again, he probably didn’t need to ask. Damian suspected Almodavar could address ever Raider in Krakander by name, and there were thousands of them. He probably knew the names of all their wives and children, too.

There’s more to being a good general than knowing how to win a battle, Almodavar had often told him when he was a lad. It’s about knowing your men. Knowing what drives them. And sometimes it’s knowing how to avoid a fight.

Isn’t this true for managers just as it is for generals? Look what happens when I take the second sentence and change it a bit:

There’s more to being a good manager than knowing how to make money, Almodavar had often told him when he was a lad. It’s about knowing your men. Knowing what drives them. And sometimes it’s knowing how to avoid the sale.

Are you able to do that? If not, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It just means you should probably refrain from trying to be a manager. Find someone who knows these things instinctively and let them do it. You should concentrate on your own comparative advantage, whatever that may be.

Elad

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3 Responses to “There is more to being a manager than just…”

  1. thesowhat Says:

    I would not say there is an either-or, making money is about a lot of things, and the time and attention spent on the people in the organization is one of the factors. Spend zero time and performance will start dropping as people are unhappy, people are not developing in their roles, and managers get swamped as they get little leverage from their people – while high achievers start leaving. Spend 100% time on the people and none of the real work gets done. It’s all about finding the right balance, which also changes over time.

    I have seen some really bad examples of the “avoid the sale” scenario; one example was a company which was pretty much ruled by the Sales organization with the CEO as the star salesman. Customizing a lot of deals in an industry where the profitability is driven by standard products, processes, and contracts – not a good idea. And though it appeared for a long while that the company was winning, this is essentially how they lost the war.

  2. sherfelad Says:

    Thanks, Thesowhat!
    Very interesting comment.
    Expect for very few exceptions, I don’t really believe that there is ONE truth or one right way. The point is to actively think about these issues and not take them for granted.
    My point of view is that managers, as I define them, should be people who know about people and how to make them excel. It does not mean that you don’t need numbers people or marketing people or any other type of people. But managers who deal with people, in their core, should have certain qualities.
    I am also not saying that making money is not important. Actually it is. Very much so. The question is one of balance. Unfortunately I find that the balance tends to tip towards the sale more than towards the people. Of course, avoiding the sale at all cost or in a scenario of ego like the one you are describing is not beneficial for anyone. But short-term monetary thinking is a problem that we should consider when we think about how our company/team should operate.
    I appreciate the comment and would love to read more of your comments in future posts.
    Elad

  3. thesowhat Says:

    Thank you for the quick feedback. Agree with your comments.


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