LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
Whether your peers are senior vice presidents or first-line managers, managing sideways is challenging. Your peers don’t report to you. You are not formally responsible for reviewing their work. You don’t hire people on their team and you may not even get to interview their job candidates– yet, your success often depends on their success, their team’s success, and the success of their planning, processes, and execution. Let’s first review managing up and then apply the best tips to managing sideways.
Managing Up: consciously working for the mutual benefit of yourself and your boss. It doesn’t mean avoiding work, rebelling, kissing up, or trying to turn the tables on a higher-up, but instead understanding your boss’s position and requirements and making yourself known as a stellar employee by exceeding [your boss’s] expectations and needs. – Idealist
I especially like what is not included in that definition. To that same point, managing sideways is not manipulation or trickery, but a method of establishing the best way to collaborate (produce or create), communicate (impart or exchange information), and cooperate (work together) between teams. What is the best way to identify these best practices?
Meeting privately with each colleague creates an opportunity to discover how your teams could collaborate, communicate, and cooperate better. Note the intention of “one to one” meetings. This helps build rapport, establish trust, and encourage transparent conversation. The best way to learn is to ask questions. Answers to questions can ultimately generate quick wins for the entire organization. Here is a great list of questions from Get Lighthouse:
- What’s one thing we could change about our processes that would help your team?
- Is there anything my team does that your team really likes? Why do they like it?
- What’s the hardest thing about working with me or my team? Why?
- What do I not know about your job that I may have an impact on?
- What’s your biggest challenge right now for you and your team?
- How can I help make your job easier to do?
- Are there any interpersonal issues between anyone on your team and mine I should know about?
- What could we do together without having to use much budget or other people to improve things for our teams?
It takes a bit of courage to ask these direct questions, and even more to hear the answers which might point out blind spots and/or the need for more challenging conversations. It takes a true leader to pursue this type of interaction. It takes true leadership to create results around this type of interaction. Do you see any immediate ways to increase collaboration, communication, and cooperation between your peers (and your teams)? Whatcha gonna do about it?
NOTE: I love navigating opportunities and creating results around these challenges! Want help?
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Managing. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting Christians in leadership around the globe for the purpose of Community, Accountability, and Transformation. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.
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