The Art of Poof Management

So you're going to promote one of your people; one day he or she is a nonexempt employee, and the next day, poof, a manager.

Welcome to the world of "Poof Management." No country in the industrialized world "poofs" people better than us.

This is largely due to the makeover of American business. It has happened and is here to stay. Corporate America is down sizing and small companies are reshaping the American business scene.

Today you're the proud owner of a thriving, growing business and now you are ready for the next step. You need (whether they deserve it or not) to move a person from handling a variety of simple tasks to actually managing them. Poof!

Who has prepared this new manager for the transformation? Today, he's thinking singular, about himself - but tomorrow he's a boss.

The thought process of this person is going to have to change 180 degrees. The team comes first. No more thinking in the first person. Looking good means helping a bunch of other people look good first.

Imagine a blind person teaching another blind person how to ride a motorcycle. It sounds silly, but this happens every day in our world of business.

When I look back on my career, everything I did to be a good manager (or so I thought at the time) was dead wrong. I did what I thought best, shooting from the hip and just using my own judgment - until I began reading and studying the art of management and realized that I was headed in the wrong direction.

Who has prepared your newest star-to-be for this unfamiliar role? How to think of the team first, and how to motivate and communicate the ideas you both might have; most important, how to let your other people grow and get better at their jobs.

If you're being honest and are smacking your head right now, don't worry. The answer is easy: Go back to school. Let your new manager study the new job and become master of the craft of managing. Top managers are made and continue to get better all the time.

The bookstore and library are places to gather more knowledge to get better at managing. (If your promotee doesn't like to read, get video or audio tapes, or identify some live seminars). Remember, if there was one way to do it there would be only one book. Obviously, there are hundreds to choose from, including The 1 Minute Manager and Lincoln on Leadership. The choice is yours: Let your people run in place and fail, or push themselves and take your people and your company to heights you never imagined.

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