You’re a manager, which means your days are filled with meetings, schedules, and heading off problems before they metastasize into crises. You also guide and encourage your team, and keep them on the right track. So you may be a manager… but you’re not just a manager.
In actuality, you’re a superhero.
That’s right. And just like superheroics, managing is something only a few can do. Knowing you have a special talent means you need to use your powers for good.
Discover your superpower.
How you approach management has a lot to do with identifying your particular abilities. Perhaps you have the adamantine claws to slice through the barriers that prevent your teams making progress. Maybe your ability to project a vision of your strategy is a Bat-beacon your teams and team leads can turn to in the darkness of project uncertainty. You might simply be fearlessly inventive, coming up with business strategies and project possibilities to drive the company forward. Or perhaps your true gift is to bring others together into a league of business heroes and wring justice, or at least consensus, from the chaos.
Not every manager is the same, and not every successful manager is necessarily a role model to pattern your career on. Figure out what your unique value is, and use that knowledge to make your management techniques stronger, faster, and bulletproof.
Superheroic management begins at the beginning. When starting a new job, or even a new project, learn the ins and outs of the environment to make sure you can see where you can best add to the culture of the company.
Rivette Scarlatti, project development manager at Exceptional Business Systems, says, “As a manger you want to stand out, but you don’t want to alienate people by being ‘over commanding.’ You should make an effort to blend in with the corporate culture and be sensitive to the networks that are already in place while looking for ways it can be improved.”
“You are not just a cog in the machine,” says Lars Risdal, Chief Administrator for Hudson Valley Tudoring. “As a manager you are a big part of the machine itself. Know how this ‘machine’ or business works and you will see how you fit into it. Learn every part of it, how each member of your team fits in, and see how they interact. It can only help increase your super powers.”
Protect your secret identity.
As a manager, you always walk a fine line: You need to be approachable yet not too chummy with those you have to manage. It really can be like having a separate identity. The trick is to be honest, fair, and approachable. Being able to be both a manager and a pal really is a super power.
According to an anonymous manager of a technology department, “It’s critically important your team members know they can come to you when they have an issue. A key part of that is making time to talk to them so they’re confident they can approach you. At the same time, you need to project purpose. Your teams need to know you have clear goals and expectations, and that following your lead will make them successful.”
Be aware of your Kyptonite.
Once you know your weaknesses, you can face them, and like any supervillian, defeat them.
Of course, once you identify that weakness—because everyone has one—you have to find the best way to make it work for you instead of against you. Hate numbers crunching? Find a Quant Jock and bring her into the team and make sure she knows what a valuable member she is. Your own manager isn't sold on your current project? Find a way to make them an ally by finding what they need from the project for them to look good.
Risdal says, “A company is a group effort all with the purpose of forwarding that company’s goals. We are all in it together. Never be afraid to ask for help. You will be better off for it. If you try and take on a workload all by yourself, do you know what you’ll get? Long hours and overdue or dead projects. Do your part and let everyone else do theirs."
Have a team of allies.
Superman had Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, Batman had Alfred, his faithful Butler. And you should have allies on your team who can watch your back. Keep an eye out for their hidden talents, and work to get them on your side.
Scarlatti elaborates. “Nobody can do it alone, and anyone who tries will quickly find themselves facing insurmountable obstacles and possibly even being shown the door. Find your team. Build your team. Nurture your team. When your team succeeds, you succeed. Let others have their moment in the sun. It only reflects well upon you and helps build loyalty.”
So there you have it, super-managers—the keys to assembling your own team of corporate Avengers to fight the fiscal battles. So put your capes on and go up, up, and away.