Resolve To Be A Better Manager in 2012

Posted on December 28, 2011.

We are not immune to the urge to make New Year's resolutions. When you reflect on how 2011 went, it's hard to avoid thinking about what you want to improve on in 2012. While you are thinking about it, we have a couple of suggestions of what to put on your list:

Focus on the 98% that works well.  I've recently been reading Living in the Sweet Spot Preparing for Performance in Sport and Life. While the book is about sports psychology, as the title suggests, there are direct applications to other areas of your life where you are looking for high performance. A key theme in the book is about remembering the 98% of things that you are doing well, as opposed to obsessing on the 2% that isn't going well. According to the author, you get a much greater performance boost from the positive emotion generated by focusing on what is going well, than by exclusively focusing on what needs to be fixed.  This is certainly true in management. It's far more efficient for your employees to use their time leveraging their strengths than using all their energy trying to improve on their weaknesses. 

Talk less, observe more. Want to be a good boss? Then you need to help your employees be more successful at their jobs. Chances are you would be more helpful if you shut up and watched them do their jobs first, and then offered some helpful suggestions based on what you saw. Better yet, ask your employee what they think they do well and what they want to work on, then help them be aware of when both things happen. Sometimes all a person needs for improvement is to have someone call attention to the behaviors they want to focus on at the time they are occurring. The common mistake is the manager who wastes a lot of time (and hot air) telling people what to do without ever checking to see if they already know how. Don't be an annoying bag of wind and waste everyone's time in the process.

You may have other things you resolve to do in 2012, but if you can work these in, the return will be worth the effort.