These days, “leadership” is often viewed as superior to “management”. Leaders get the magazine covers, the C-suite offices, the accolades, and the rewards. Managers toil away keeping the trains running on time.
But the fact is that in the absence of management , leadership won’t accomplish much in the way of results. Management is more than important – it is vital.
Why is management so important? There’s one main reason: truly talented people will not be drawn to poorly managed organizations. And no organization can survive without talent.
Our research has shown that people are hungry to be managed well, even if they are already high performers. We’ve found three crucial elements to skilled management as it relates to attracting and retaining talent: just the right amount of supervision, timely and relevant feedback and coaching, and rewards commensurate with performance. We write about each at length in our book.
But in our research one work came up again and again as productive team members described their managers: “Helpful”.
That’s the one thing great managers have in common – they are genuinely, truly helpful.
There’s a lot in that word. When someone is helped they are provided the resources, advice, and counsel they need. They know they have support when and wherever they need it. But they also know that once they have been trained and directed they will not be micromanaged.
That’s the essence of being helpful as a manager – providing your best performers everything they need to do their work so that they can shine, the support necessary to overcome obstacles of all kinds, and rewards based on achievement and relevant to the person being rewarded.