3 Things Managers Should Be Doing Every Day

by Mike O'Neill

Would you like to know the secret sauce to effective management?

According to the experts it’s Building.

• Building Trust

• Building Teams

• Building Broader Networks


Successful leadership is about influencing others, and trust is the foundation. You cannot influence anyone who does not trust you. The manager must work to cultivate the trust of everyone they work with. They do this by demonstrating the two basic components of trust: competence & character. Competence doesn’t mean being the resident expert on everything the group does; it does mean understanding the work well enough to make solid decisions about it, and having the courage to ask questions where they may be less knowledgeable. Character  means basing decisions & actions on values that go beyond self-interest, and truly caring about the work, about the customers (internal or external) for whom they do the work, and about the people doing the work. If people believe in your competence and character, they will trust you to do the right thing.

They build trust by taking the opportunity to demonstrate their ability as they do their daily work, by asking knowledgeable questions & offering insightful suggestions. They use daily decisions & choices to illustrate their own values, expressing their concern for those who work for them or those for whom the group does its work. They reveal themselves, but not in an egotistical way, showing what they know, what they believe and what they value – and in doing this, they show themselves to be trustworthy.

An effective team is bound together by a common, compelling purpose, based on shared values. In a genuine team, the bonds among members are so strong that they truly believe they will all succeed or fail together and that no individual can win if the team loses. Besides purpose & values, strong teams also have rules of engagement – for example, what kinds of conflict are allowed & what kinds are not. Smart leaders make sure all the elements that create a real team are in place – purpose, values and rules – and then manage through the team.

They build a team by using problems & crises in the daily work to remind members of the team’s purpose and what it values most. They explain their decisions in these terms. They immediately call out team members who violate a rule of engagement – treating each other disrespectfully, for example – or who place their interests above those of the team.

Every team depends on the support and collaboration of outside people & groups. Effective group leaders proactively build & maintain a network of these outsiders, which includes not just those needed for today’s work but also those that the group will need to achieve future goals. Building a network can be politicking but it need not be if they do it honestly, openly and with the genuine intent of creating relationships that benefit both sides.

They build a network by taking opportunities to build & maintain relationships with colleagues outside their group. They consciously approach problems that involve another group leader in a way that both solves the problem and fosters a long-term relationship. They proactively share information with outsiders who would benefit from it. They encourage their group members to take the same approach when they deal with outsiders.

These are not necessarily additional tasks to put on your “To-Do” list. Instead, strong effective leaders manage and lead through the daily work. They do this in the way they define, assign, structure, talk about, review, and generally guide that work. They are masters at using the daily work and its inevitable crisis to perform their work as managers and leaders.

Source: Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation. Linda Hill & Kent Lineback. Harvard Business Review Press (2014)



One Today Is Worth Two Tomorrows. 

– Benjamin Franklin

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