10 Ways I'll Be a Better Manager in 2017 (Part One)

To help foster a great 2017 start for my company, I'm publicly committing myself to being a better manager next year in 10 different ways. Here are the first five:

  1. Be Present. As I wrote earlier this year, attention is the world's most valuable currency. I'll stop and focus completely on the employee, issue, conversation or problem at hand. No multi-tasking, no distracted "halfway" interactions. Speed kills, and the things it kills most often are trust and effectiveness.
  2. Commit to Systems and Structure. When it comes to business systems and practices - Salesforce, regularly scheduled meetings, databases - I've too often been the guy who preaches from the church parking lot. How can I - or you - expect my employees to build and benefit from our systems if I remain just a little bit above and apart from them? I've already started fulfilling this commitment, and the results are immediate and overwhelming.
  3. Challenge My Team, Honestly. I've hired very good people - both employees and contractors -- who have good values and intentions. I owe it to them to challenge them so that they find the upper limits of their capacity. I'll ask the extra question...I'll slow the process down just enough to examine it for improvement...I'll ask people to think a little more deeply about why? I'll challenge with the intent of helping people improve and grow.
  4. Filter Distractions for My Team. It's too easy to assume that everyone in your world shares your ability to tune out the trivial, scary or just plain confusing stuff. But they don't, at least not right away. Great managers take the time needed to turn down the noise and keep their people focused on what matters most. You can never know what haunts the dreams of your employees unless you ask.
  5. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize. Closely aligned with number 4 is my commitment to regularly help my people choose which tasks to pursue and when. Like many small businesses (and not so small ones) we throw off a lot of work and a ton of sometimes conflicting priorities. If left unexamined and unexplained, they eat away at enthusiasm and effectiveness. I commit to frequently asking about capacity and focus and helping my team work on what matters most right now.