These days it seems the term “management” is a bit passé. We need to think about being leaders and visionaries, which of course is important in this environment of transformation, organizational change, and ever-higher expectations. But what about the human side of leadership? What about “being a manager?”
Let’s face it: Although our families and loved ones come first, work consumes the majority (or at least a very big part) of our waking hours. A meaningful job, and in particular a good manager, can make the difference between those hours being incredibly rewarding or sheer misery.
As adapted from the ideas presented in Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, a good manager should enable teams with a sense of accountability, mastery, and purpose in their working lives.
Accountability is having clear goals, but with the control, tools, and autonomy to accomplish them successfully. Simplified, it’s avoiding micro-management while still communicating clear goals that are actually achievable.
Mastery is ensuring we have an ability to learn, grow, and improve our job performance and skills over time, linked to topics and development areas we care about.
Finally, purpose is knowing that our work means something. We have all slaved to create the Powerpoint deck (or a similar project) that never went anywhere or influenced anything. We need to feel we have an impact and that there is meaning to our sweat and tears.
Of course, accountability, mastery, and purpose do not guarantee that everything will be perfect, nor will they necessarily prevent disappointments and setbacks that can so heavily weigh on our spirits. But they do mean that despite the up and downs, we can strive to accomplish something meaningful and further ourselves (and those around us) every single day.