How To Manage An Experienced Manager

The key to managing an experienced manager in your operation is to monitor their results. If they are getting the results that you expect of them, stay out of their way. If they are not getting the results, you had better take over – at least until you sort out what is stopping production.

When you hire a manager to look after a section of your business, it is a waste of time for you to continue doing the job you hired them to do. The whole idea of placing them in that position was to free you up from having to work there.

And yet many people will fall into just that trap. They will hire a manager to look after their production department, or their service section, and then continue to work directly with the employees in those areas. The result is that the middle manager virtually disappears and the employees in those sections will come to you, instead of their manager.

Experienced or not, however, if a middle manager’s area of responsibility is not producing what you want of it, you had better get in there and have a look around. There is a gradient to this, however, depending on the severity of the indicators:

  • If you are simply seeing a gradual downturn in the results, you should ‘become interested’, but not interfere too much. Give the manager a chance to handle it, but let him or her know that you know something is not quite right
  • If the indicators are that something serious is going on, like a total crash in the expected results from the area, you should actually take over completely for a while. You need to see what is going wrong and do this you actually need to replace the manager in his or her role for an amount of time. However, when the problem is fixed you need to give the manager his or her job back; otherwise you will be stuck with it for good. Make sure they understand what you have done whilst you held the reins but be doubly sure that they know you have given their job back to them so that the wheels do not fall off again

There is a time to bypass and there is a time to keep your hands off. Each of these actions depends on the results that are being achieved. It is therefore vitally important that you set things up so that you can measure those results accurately. You can do this by setting up a measurement system.

Try this exercise for each of your existing managers. Ask yourself what it is that you expect them to achieve in their position. Be clean on what they are actually supposed to produce for the organisation, and understand the reverse view of this as well; what important results would not be achieved if there was no one in that position?

In other words, why did you hire them in the first place? If they are the Sales Manager, maybe it is profitable sales volumes. If they are the Finance Manager, it is probably something to do with the business income or the management of receivables.

Having established the results they are supposed to achieve, decide on the way these will be measured, then sit down with the manager and get their agreement on those desired results and those methods of measurement. You now have the basis for managing your experience manager.

The next step is an easy one: simply monitor the results they produce. As long as the manager’s section or department is producing what you want, leave them alone. For instance, never give a direct order to any of the people who work for that manager. Always put your instructions through the manager so it arrives with the employee from their manager, not from you.

Should the results begin to falter, take an interest in what is going on. If the results begin to crash and burn, you need to step in and take over from the manager who has failed you.

The hard part for many business owners is keeping their hands off an area when all is going well.

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