What good management comprises — what bosses do to make their people productive — isn’t really a mystery. We can argue about the exact wording, but the basic elements aren’t in doubt. We’ve summarized them in what we call the “3 Imperatives”: Manage yourself, manage your network, manage your team. In writing about these elements, we’ve described them in terms of what good managers do and what all managers should strive to do. But it’s not hard to rephrase them from a direct report’s point of view — in effect, a “Direct Reports’ Bill of Rights” — as follows.
Every direct report should be able to expect that the boss will:
- Be Trustworthy. Trust is based on competence and character, and so people can expect the boss (a) will know what to do and how to do it, and (b) will possess fundamental values, standards, interpersonal skills, emotional maturity, and levels of caring that support the work and those doing it.
- Exercise influence beyond his or her group. Every group works in a web of interdependence within a broader organization and beyond. Success — through, for example, securing needed resources, attention, and cooperation — depends on the boss’s ability to exercise influence in that broader context through a network of ongoing, mutually supportive relationships.
- Create a team of his or her group. A group is a collection of people who work together. A team is a group whose members are mutually committed to pursuit of a clear purpose and the achievement of goals based on that purpose. In a team there is a “we” separate from the individuals involved and the people in that “we” believe they will all succeed or fail together. Why is this important? Because members of a team are more engaged and committed and as a group are more innovative and productive. A competent manager knows how to transform a group into a team — by fostering a compelling purpose, worthwhile goals and clear plans, productive work processes, and a culture of “we.”
- Recognize individuals and support their development. People want to belong and be recognized for themselves. Thus, an effective manager knows individual team members, works with them, supports their development, and recognizes their contributions — all within the context of the team.