Think your primary responsibility as a manager is to hit your numbers? Think again. Your boss might judge you on your numbers, but read why focusing on your people’s development will give your career a bigger boost than anything else.
When I ask managers what their primary responsibility or objective is, they often react with, “To hit my numbers!” Ultimately, while shocking for some managers, the primary objective of the manager is not to hit your numbers but to make your people more valuable and sustain their positive performance. No, I haven’t lost my mind just yet, so take a moment and follow through with this line of thinking before dismissing it.
Of course, your numbers are very important. For the most part, it’s what managers are measured against and what determines their income, as well as their tenure within their company and position. However, when you initially focus on making your people more valuable, skilled and effective, the byproduct is, your direct reports hit their numbers and do so more consistently with less stress on them, as well as on you. Just take a moment and think about how this would affect you and your team?
Of course, there may be that manager I encounter at times who would push back on this philosophy and make a statement such as, “Keith, I’m already hitting my numbers. So, why change what I’m doing and more specifically, why should I invest more time learning how to coach my team more effectively?”
For this manager, my response is, “That’s great to hear you are hitting your numbers and goals but is EVERYONE on your team hitting their individual quota and commitments?”
Rarely, if ever, do I hear a “Yes. Everyone on my team is consistently reaching or exceeding their monthly, quarterly and yearly goals.”
Think about what would be possible if they were? What would that mean to you? How would that affect your overall results, goals, income, reputation, legacy, peace of mind and ultimately, how would that affect the time you have each day, now that you have less challenges and problems coming at you?
Make Your People THE Priority
While many managers inherently know this to be the correct leadership mindset, there’s still a difference between knowing it and actually living it. Some managers still push back, assuming, “If I had everyone on my team hitting their number, then the company would just raise my quota and commitments!”
Maybe, just maybe, that’s true. However, do not lose sight of what accomplishing this would mean for your people, your company and for you. Your company cannot take away the fact that you are now a hero who is setting an entirely new precedent when it comes to performance and what is possible for a team to achieve. Ultimately, this is how you would be known, which would be something you can take with you throughout your career. Additionally, think about the type of quality individuals and candidates who you would be attracting when it comes to building a team of champions? After all, who would you want as your boss? Would you rather work for the number focused, “just get out there and get the results!” type of manager, or the manager who puts people first?
When you authentically make your people the priority, not just in words but in action, the support you provide and the stand you take for them, imagine the impact this would have on the level of trust and loyalty between you and your team and how this deeper level of engagement would strengthen the relationships you have with your direct reports, especially when it comes to retaining your top performers? The fact is, your top people don’t leave their current job to take on a new role elsewhere just for the money. After all, in many cases, the compensation package for their new position may be less!
Besides, isn’t this what we want for our people and what we all want to do as a leader? That is, to make a positive impact, which is what I hear practically every manager talk about wanting to achieve, not just in good times but during challenging times as well?
The Best Question Every Great Leader Asks to Build A Strong Team
There’s a fundamental shift that needs to happen in every manager’s or leader’s thinking and it starts with the questions you’re asking yourself each day. Most managers start the day with these self limiting questions. “What do I need to do to hit my numbers this month?” “What do I need to do to close more business?”
Notice the focal point of these questions. They’re entirely focused on pushing your people to generate the result. And then managers wonder why they’re exhausted at the end of every quarter! Managers have tendency to celebrate their wins or quota attainment for a brief moment of time, whether it’s one day or one hour, right before the counter resets back to zero so they can get back to the grind of pushing their people to hit their next quarterly quota.
Or worse, when some managers sense that a certain sale could be lost or their quota is being threatened, rather than leveraging an opportunity to build their people, they react and do their direct report’s job themselves, swooping in and becoming the super seller so they can close more business and save the day. But I’m sure that this has never happened nor applies to you or anyone you know who may be very, very close to you. ;-)
Here’s the alternative question that every manager needs to ask themselves each day.
“What can I do today to make my people more valuable than they were yesterday?”
Re-think your core objective as a manager. Where do you spend the majority of your time each day? What are you doing every day to challenge your direct reports to be their very best? To set expectations higher and continue to raise that proverbial bar of what they can do, as well as what they think they are capable of achieving so that they can fully tap into and live their potential? This is your responsibility when you made the choice to take on the role of manager and leader and something every manager needs to model for their team.
This is the question that brings you back to what you coach your people around, which is the process, not the result. Now, you can facilitate a deeper, more engaging conversation and identify the gap or opportunity to develop and refine the talent of each individual on your team. And when you focus on making your people better each day, you build a team of champions that produces the sustainable results you want as a byproduct. That’s how you consistently hit your business objectives. It’s only by first adopting this mindset that a manager can begin to consistently, authentically and effectively coach their people and truly deliver the most value to their organization, their direct reports and ultimately become the leader that you truly can and want to be.
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