The Wizardry Of Good Management

Written by Joe Driscoll

November 27, 2009

Leading and developing people are important tasks for all managers. Inspiring people to rise to new peaks of performance, levels they didn’t realize they would be capable of attaining, is a key to becoming a management wizard.

If you want to excel at developing people, learn to empower them with knowledge, caring, and confidence. Developing people is a demanding, but rewarding task. It is work only for those who are young at heart.

Examples of good management and effective leadership can be sometimes found in the most curious places. Since its always best to start at the beginning, let’s begin by following the yellow brick road.

When young Dorothy Gale set out on her journey in search of the Wizard of Oz, little did she realize the management skills that would be required to successfully complete her mission. Dorothy’s leadership was evidenced by her ability to enlist the support of others in her quest to reach the Emerald City. Her leadership inspired them to greater feats than they had previously thought themselves capable.

Dorothy was effective as a leader because she clearly defined the objectives, displayed a high level of personal commitment to the task, created a sense of purpose on the part of her followers, and she was prepared to share the benefits of successfully reaching the objective with her followers.

The Wizard himself had already developed a reputation as somewhat of a turnaround specialist for his management of the Emerald City. Through his positive leadership, it has been transformed from a stressful, unproductive environment into a delightful place. Its inhabitants went about their tasks with confidence and optimism, secure in the knowledge that they had a strong supportive manager behind them.

Despite his reputation for super human accomplishment, the Wizard was every bit as mortal as the rest of us. His “wizardry” resulted from his ability to get the most out of those around him. Even on this side of the rainbow, that’s the skill that distinguishes superior managerial performance.

On her journey, young Dorothy encountered a man who lacked confidence because he believed he had “no brains”. While a bit scared to accompany Dorothy on her journey down the yellow brick road in search of the Wizard, he recognized that the wizard could give him a brain. Good managers can give their people the confidence to tap the knowledge that they have. Progress results less frequently from genius than from the diligent application of common sense.

Dorothy’s first companion was wise enough to know that management itself is primarily a thinking exercise. He initially vowed “not to try to manage things because I can’t think”. However, his performance as a problem solver on the journey proved that common sense is of greater value than any degree that can be bestowed. He was wise enough to observe that although he had no brains and could talk, there were many others who talked without using their brains.

Another of Ms. Gale’s companions longed for a heart. A third member of Dorothy’s team signed on for the journey believing he lacked courage. To disguise his lack of courage and confidence, this beast had a bark much worse than his bite. He often used it to intimidate those less formidable than himself. He hoped that the long journey to the Emerald City would result in his getting real courage. If he became truly courageous, he would no longer need to bluff others with his intimidating growls.

By merely agreeing to join Dorothy’s team and face the uncertainties of the journey, he displayed a courage that he hadn’t previously recognized. Courage, after all, is not measured by how loud you can growl, but rather by how silently you can do the job that has to be done.

It’s true that the Wizard managed the Emerald City with much pomp and ceremony. But even after the magic of his wizard’s powers were exposed to Dorothy and her fellow travelers upon their arrival, his ability to develop people enabled him to deliver the brains, heart, and courage that his callers sought. His real “wizardry” was his ability to bring out the best in others.

Having given his three visitors the confidence to utilize the skills that they each possessed, he developed managers that could continue to run his organization in his absence. His ability to develop people thus freed him to take a long over due vacation and to move onto bigger challenges.

Because its your business, before the hour glass is empty, develop your organization by letting your people appreciate their brains, their hearts, and their courage. Give them the confidence they need and they will respond with a whirlwind of activity.

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