Management Development - About Experiencing the Sharp End
Many managers are focused on the heady world of stepping out of the limelight and managing their businesses and teams from a distance - after all that's what managing is all about, leading a team of people to do the work that needs to be delivered.
The challenge comes when a manager is sufficiently remote from the key work areas, that they find it hard to relate the reality their people experience to the management role they are showing to their team.
And that remoteness can make a team ethic from being the way the work best gets done.
That's when it's important to get down and dirty and get with the people who do the real work. It's time to spend some time at the 'coalface' and to really get to understand the experiences that their people have, each and every day.
Sure, a manager manages people and to do that best it's vital to build relationships that work effectively with their team. To do that requires credibility and trust which only comes when those they manage know that they really do understand the issues they face each and every day.
Those very issues that make their job challenging and sometimes more difficult to do.
Their job may become, in extreme cases, almost impossible to do well - and every manager needs to know this, finding out by being there, talking closely with them, failing to judge or argue, simply finding out how they are feeling and experiencing it first-hand too with and alongside them.
When a manager makes their mind up to get at these real-world experiences - where possible on a regular basis - of the challenges their people face, it becomes much more easy for their people to relate to that manager, as well as to understand what is - and even what isn't - possible.
The view from the sharp end can be a lot different from that from the manager's office way up in the executive suite.
The sharp-end is where it's possible to learn more (often much more), providing a manager with the valuable - possibly even critical - insights vital to make the most of the manager-employee relationship. And that an incredibly important relationship with those who are ultimately, the people who deliver.
And there's more, once employees see that their manager is prepared to get their hands dirty too, they will recognize their preparedness for the debates and discussion you all have together, creating much more of a cohesive team than ever before too.
A manager and team working closely together?
Now, that truly is a goal worth working towards, now isn't it!