In a session I was running the other day about management skills, I asked each of the participants to share what they find most challenging about managing people. One individual explained that he was a manager who managed a team of 5 people, each of whom were people managers themselves. He found striking the balance between ensuring the managers were producing good work but also effectively managing their own teams was extremely difficult. Later in the session he asked me what my advice would be if he had to choose just one thing to do differently or think about differently to help in his role of managing managers. It was a tricky question. In the end it boiled down to quite a simplistic answer but one that in my view is critical - 'behave how you expect others to behave'.
It sounds like such an obvious piece of advice, almost flippant, but role modelling is perhaps the most important part of being an effective manager. This would apply to anybody with supervisory responsibilities but it is even more pertinent for those who are managing managers. Understand that the people around you are watching all the time - with every action or inaction you are setting the tone and creating the benchmarks. As the article below says - be sure to manage people in a way that you expect them to manage their teams. It is unfortunately easier said than done - as human beings we are driven by habit and emotion which can prevent us from thinking enough about our behaviours and actions from a role-model perspective. Working life can also be busy and stressful, putting yet more obstacles in the way. So find a moment to step back, to look at your team, to think about your own behaviour and actions and challenge yourself - ask yourself that simple question - am I behaving how I expect other to behave?
People are watching all the time,” says Finkelstein. So be sure that you are managing your people in the way that you expect them to manage their own teams. “It’s useful to be deliberate and aware that people are paying attention,”