secret > WHEN THEY WIN, YOU WIN. Being a great manager is simpler than you think.

About the author
Russ Laraway is a former military commander, currently chief people officer at Goodwater Capital. He is among the founders of Radical Candor and has worked on issues of leadership and management improvement.

The key elements of the book
Laraway aims to give managers and managers clear and practical tools to improve their management, based on the premise that “good management” is about delivering results aligned with expectations and promoting the success of all people within the team. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to focus on three essential actions: giving direction, offering coaching, and supporting people in their careers. In this way, people will feel more involved and achieve the expected results.

The key element on which people and managers can make a difference is precisely engagement. Laraway underlines it by quoting Larry Emond, former managing director of Gallup’s Global Leadership Advisory, who affirmed that 70 percent of people’s engagement is determined by the quality of management.

This is how the three fundamental commitments of a* good* manager are declined, for Laraway:

  • Management. Each team member needs to know what is expected of him/her and with what timeline. Laraway suggests some questions to be asked, in order to see if we are providing clear direction: how clearly do I specify my expectations? How much do I help you to define priorities? How do I involve you in identifying your OKRs (key goals and outcomes)? What about those of the team? How much do I help you deal with business changes that impact you and your work? 
  • Coaching. Good managers help their people to understand what they are doing well and need to keep doing, and what they still need to improve. Feedback plays a key role in this need, because it allows us to communicate to each person what their areas of improvement and strengths are. Again, the book offers some questions to ask the team: how often do I offer you specific feedback or praise on your performance? How useful is this feedback to you? To what extent do I take your ideas and concerns into consideration? How comfortable are you with submitting to me an issue that affects your job security? How much do you agree with the statement “My boss cares about me as a human being?”
  • Career. When investing in the professional growth of each team member , it is important to take a long-term perspective and think beyond the next promotion and the limits of the company. In this regard, we can ask: To what extent am I supporting your professional growth and development? We can also use the last question from the previous point, to verify how people feel they are considered on a human level.

The way Laraway brings management back to its essential elements is very effective. Identifying three well-defined managerial responsibilities (leadership, coaching, career) helps the book offer an intriguing and achievable approach in everyday life.

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