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LEAD: The New High Performance Manager

Management as an art, not a science, particularly in today’s dynamic workplace, writes Anthia Falekkos

One of the many definitions of a manager is a “person who is responsible for controlling and administrating an organisation or group of staff”. This definition in the current workplace and economy describes a role that is redundant. The new high performance manager needs to adopt another set of core values.

A manager in today’s workplace has a unique, ever-changing and evolving role to play. She needs to be mentor, enforcer and motivator all at once and create an environment where staff can perform and thrive in a responsive culture striving for a common goal. This multitude of roles makes the difference between a high performance manager and the prehistoric manager who is not trusted by staff and who is consistently putting out fires. If a manager cannot drive performance whilst creating a healthy working environment in which employees are motivated and are valued, she will find it very difficult to retain loyal staff and will fall prisoner to every manager’s nightmare: high staff turnover. Like the saying goes, people do not leave their jobs, they leave their managers.

The most effective managers can identify and address the needs of their team whether this be more training to be provided, more recognition and motivation, or more transparency on issues that concern staff. He is not self-interested, stealing the recognition from the team’s efforts and hard work. He does not praise a staff member to her face in one breath and cast underlying doubts on the employee’s capabilities and values to superiors in the next. He is careful not to place a single team member on a pedestal but instead holds all team members in high regard. He does not favour certain staff members above others but utilises each team member’s strengths to create a collective result. He keeps promises and carries out these in a direct and ardent manner.

Trust received by employees is central in assisting a high performance manager to drive his team to new heights. It is of the utmost importance that the manager has credibility with his staff members and builds a reputation of fairness and openness. A high performance manager knows how and when to utilise the strength of his staff and builds on these strengths to get the best out of each individual employee. By growing and focusing on each employee’s strengths the manager facilitates the employee to excel in their field and find the satisfaction in their jobs that they might have been craving.

A new high performance manager will take risks to do more than what was thought to be possible by motivating employees to go beyond their limitations, to go out on the edge to reach success. She has to adapt her management style to suite each and every individual within the team. She has to adapt her strategy moment by moment to the every changing environments in which she and her team find themselves. She is a wise mediator and facilitates the resolution of conflict within the team. She is decisive on the outcomes to be achieved by her employees. She disciplines when required and constantly provides constructive feedback. She learns from her mistakes and has the determination to strive towards triumphing over any problem facing her staff. She has her employees’ best interests at heart and stands up for them in tough situations. Great managers strive towards excellence and create an environment that encourages the development of the people they lead.

He clearly understands the concept of management as an art, not a science found in physics books! ❐

Author: Anthia Falekkos is CEO of Extraordinary Futures