Applying for a Management Position? Stop Talking, Start Listening

Managers might be cursed.  Cursed by their experience & knowledge.

Instead of remembering how they attained all their knowledge — the humbling bumps and bruises along the way and patience others had with them as they learned the ropes — some managers simply want to run the world with the knowledge they have gained, driving toward goals with precision and efficiency.

It’s great to be a worker but everyone wants to be the boss.

Some managers act like they have seen it all, done it all, and always know the right answer or course of action.  They bathe us in great wins, unbelievable losses, and story after story.  Opinions are not solicited, and — instead — workers may be told what type of ideas they should think and what types of conclusions they should reach.

If you were the boss, would you figure you were the smartest person in the room? LINK: How to tell if your potential boss is the Lord of the Underworld?

Hopefully not…

If you pay attention to the changing culture in organizations, you may avoid the common problem today, where teams becomes disengaged and less productive.  If you’re worried, fortunately Harvard Business Review did a report on this  recently titled, Managing Yourself: Bringing Out the Best in Your People by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown.

The report summarizes key things to do when in a team meeting:

  1. Pick a meeting or conversation and commit to leading it by asking questions.
  2. Present a query that will spark discussion.
  3. Ask clarifying questions to dig deeper and better understand the ideas.
  4. Use questions to determine next steps.

They key to this approach is selecting the right questions… Good questions will engage your group and produce valuable insights. So, forget open-ended queries such as, “How can we get better?” (LINK: Top 7 Behavior-based Interview Questions)

Here are several questions that are likely to spark conversations and get people thinking on both tactical and strategic levels:

  • “What do our competitors do better than us?”
  • “Our mission says we are world class — in what ways are we not?”
  • “You have the power to kill up to three products or services we currently offer. What are they?”
  • “You have the power to create something new for us to offer. What is it?”
  • “Create a new position in our company and explain why we need it.”

In modern organizations, managers can guide conversations and elicit ideas. The challenge is keeping opinions inside, when the opinions don’t drive team communication forward.

Then, when a decision needs to be made, managers can use their experience and analytical power to help refine and plot the course.

The point of this research for managers and aspiring managers: Be a listening leader.

Read More: Aiming for a promotion? Do you know “The Peter Principle”?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s