The Truth About Managing Your Managers | THE LEADERSHIP COACHING INNER CIRCLE™

“We have policies, processes, and procedures; why can’t my employees just comply?” “We explain the initiatives, and yet no one seems to get it.” “Why is my team disengaged?” It could be that you don’t have a policy or procedure problem, a goals problem, or even a process problem. What you may have, is a “failure to communicate and align your managers.”

Everything Starts At The Top

As business owners, executives, and supervisors are all aware, managing employees is one of the hardest parts of running a business. You must balance their strengths and weaknesses, their personalities, and their skill sets, all while trying to earn and maintain their loyalty. And then, like a marching band conductor, you must bring them all together so they’re working in unison for the success of your organization — each member playing the right note, at the right time, from the right location on the field.

Managing your managers is no different. They act as your section leaders, training and directing those in their departments, and providing coaching and encouragement as needed. But they still need direction from the highest level. You’ve still got to pick the music and write the drill.

Each of your managers has a distinct personality and approach to management that affects their leadership style. One may be deadline-driven, another prone to dawdle. One may focus on building their team’s strengths, another on correcting their team’s weaknesses. One may communicate a lot, another only a little.

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To communicate clearly, you may need to slow the pace and explain the goal with a little more detail so the person on the receiving end can get full perspective. Once they get the context of your request, most can carry out the task or project exactly as you envision and prefer.

It boils down to giving up some control and trusting that the person you hired and trained will do their job well. You are accustomed to doing the work, and you are reluctant to give up control for fear they may not do it as well as you have. When you do their work for them, it sends a clear signal that you do not trust them or do not have confidence in them. Let the person do the job for which you hired them.

If you make the shift of trust, you may learn, as many have, that they can not only do it better but faster as well. By giving up control, you gain greater productivity and profitability, both on their end of the equation and on yours for having the ability to focus on the bigger picture in the business.


While it is important to not waste time in unnecessary meetings and the endless round of “reply all” emails, there is a point of inclusion that is critical to your team. This is a shift from the old ways of thinking, where edicts were rendered by upper management and cycled down to those who were just expected to do the work. This is a time in business where collaboration is key.

Your people are more than just cogs in a wheel. They have ideas, strengths, and skills that you don’t have. If they have a responsibility in an initiative, be sure to include them on the front end of the process. Get their input on strategy and planning and allow them to be in these types of meetings in order to understand the “why” of what they have been asked to do. Not only does this engender trust, but it also provides clarity.

As leaders, we sometimes need to turn the “push” on ourselves. If your company productivity isn’t what it should be, ask yourself some hard questions, and take responsibility for making it work. Instead of pushing your team, push yourself to get to the root cause, and fix the problem.

The bottom line is, as a leader, there are times you need to push hard. There are also times when YOU should NOT push hard, but instead, voice your expectation of your team when they need to. A good leader will reach into their toolbox to find the right leadership style needed in the moment.
Your people are more than just cogs in a wheel. They have ideas, strengths, and skills that you don’t have. – Leyda Lazo 
If you want things to be different, we have to change. 

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.

Choice is a function of awareness.
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