My most recent blog post discussed the benefits of knowledge workers making better use of time to execute on important priorities. It commented on the role of managers in this process. A recent HBR blog piece provides some good further thought to the role of the manager in helping knowledge workers perform, pointing out that pretty frequently managers add more value by orchestrating decisions rather than making them.
This really makes sense. All too often, decisions are escalated to managers because their teams can’t collaborate. Problem is, when the manager makes the decision, it is being made a step farther away from those closest to the facts. The manager is also making a call based on choosing among multiple points of view. This type of decision-making is biased by the quality of the advocate. The manager is also forgoing the possibilities that could be considered if team members could listen to each other and collaborate to build a new option of greater value than the choices presented.
Coming back to my previous blog post, an important skill, along with helping managers learn to facilitate prioritization of work for their people, is orchestrating teamwork so the results of the priority work are optimized. The HBR blog gives a couple of good examples where managers have done this well. As with prioritization, understanding personality types of team members and their expected interactions will be a big help to managers in this process. The Four Groups 4G assessment is an excellent tool for this purpose. The task of developing leaders and growing talent falls heavily to the manager who needs the latest tools available to help delibbver the results that will drive business success.