This book provides foundational training for managers, but it is also a love letter of sorts to a career that has brought me so much meaning. As with any great love, there are ups and downs, twists and turns, and hard choices between right and wrong. Ultimately, where the strong survive, the trained will thrive, and true leaders develop lasting careers.
My hope is that when you look back upon your time as a manager that you will have this same experience. Sure, there will be mixed feelings as with any relationship, and some years are better than others. With close to 60% of managers never getting any management preparation—me being one of them—the statistics are low in regards to not just managers getting trained on the fundamentals, but also how to navigate trying times. How I wish I had a book like this one when I started my career!
In the beginning, I had no idea how many different talents are necessary to be successful. The skills a solid manager needs encompass everything from time management, writing, preparing and making presentations, and doing analysis… not to mention developing interpersonal and people skills to be able to coach a team. Whether in sports or sales, coaching is essential to transformation. Would a football team go into a season without practicing, reviewing strategy, and working closely with the coach to improve? That is where the magic happens. Through consistent feedback via coaching tools reviewed in this book, you will see the performance of your team improve, and also their alignment to you as a supportive manager.
The work spent coaching your team will lead to subtle changes over time. They may not even realize a transformation is happening until later. The joy will come from watching this growth and knowing you were a conduit to others becoming their best selves. This gift is invisible, but tremendously meaningful. At some point we all realize that management is not about yourself, it is about supporting others.
While support is key, having the fundamental knowledge and tools to coach your team members is paramount. This book, along with the management training academy found at www.skyscraper-management.com, is here to be that support for you.
As you embark or continue your skyscraper career in management, I want you to feel confident, have clarity through coaching, and build a culture among your team with enthusiastic employees. How great would it feel to know you have the tools to be not only a good manager, but a transformational leader?
If you follow the acronym of M.A.N.A.G.E.
it will help you remember the
6 Keys to Building a Strong Foundation in Management
Meaning: Meaning in management is hard to define, but absolutely critical. Most successful companies have a mission statement. Why should this be different for managers? It is important to write it out because you will come back to this personal mission statement, especially when times are tough. It is important to know, state, and remember your purpose and passion—why you wanted to get into management in the first place.
Acumen: The first 30 days are critical to starting out on the right foot with your team. It is important to introduce your vision in a way that is not overwhelming or stifling. Whether you are just starting in management or have been in management for years, there are tools and templates to support you as a leader and allow your team members, peers, and executive team to look at you with respect.
Nurture: One of the most trying obstacles in coaching others is that the results are not often immediate. It is the everyday actions taken by team members, combined with accountability from you as a coach, that make all the difference in their growth. Nurturing your team is like planting a garden. When the soil is just right, you plant your seeds, water the garden and take care of it, and ultimately beautiful plants emerge. With coaching, you prepare your team’s mindset (getting the soil ready), offer coaching and feedback (planting the seeds), do the work by being in the field with them and offering one-on-one calls and coaching reports (watering the garden), and then slowly but surely you will see a transformational change in performance (growth).
Accountability: Accountability and metrics are essential to your team’s success. If you do not set expectations up front, your team will never know where they stand. It is also very hard as a manager to hold your team to a standard if they do not have it clearly outlined for them. This section of the book dives into coaching reports, business planning, and other ways you can build that culture for your team. It is not easy to do, but by establishing accountability and sharing your vision, everyone knows the path to success.
G.S.D. – “Getting Stuff Done”: Most sales managers spend days in the field and on the road. What you do during that time is crucial not only to productivity, preparation, and purpose. It is also essential to your health, energy, and enthusiasm. Being on the road can be lonely and I will share some tips I learned along the way for remaining healthy—physically and mentally—which is challenging when not at home. Also, tips for what to do with downtime will make all the difference in creating a balanced life at home and work.
Empathy: The most challenging times as a manager can be with employees who have lost loved ones, are going through divorce, or these days, even navigating a pandemic. Helping team members through crisis is nothing you can ever fully prepare for. However, the way you react, respond, and reach out to people during these times makes all the difference. Also, having to terminate employees and verbalize what happened is one of the most difficult parts of being a manager. It literally can break you, so turn to this section of the book when the inevitable happens.
No matter what your tenure, as a manager you will be ahead of the game in regard to coaching reports, business planning, and interpersonal relationships if you can execute the techniques contained here—surpassing other managers and directors with years of experience. Just remember… it is not the number of years that you manage, but rather what you do in those years that makes the biggest difference.