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6 Actions That Define Great Senior Managers

By Lisa Woods (1193 words)
Posted in Management on January 12, 2013

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Executive Leaders set the strategy, Middle Managers execute the day-to-day, in between are Senior Managers..what do they need to do to be successful? Too often senior management creates a roadblock instead of a bridge to their organization’s success.  That’s because filtering information from the top and molding it into a vision for the part of the organization they run, is a skill few people have any formal training in.  Without the ability to properly filter, communicate and motivate, a roadblock is created.  Make sure you are doing the right things to lead your area.


First…What is a Senior Manager?

Senior Managers are team members at the highest level of the organization. He or She leads within the organization typically reporting directly to the Executive Officer and having multiple layers of management below. They manage the day-to-day activities of the business by setting direction in-line with the overall business strategy, setting goals and objectives and managing communication throughout their group. They are responsible for spending and financial results within their area. Senior management positions include Director & Vice President titles.


Here are Six Actions That Define Great Senior Managers:


1) Understand And Communicate Your Vision

Most likely you were part of the company’s strategic planning process. It is your responsibility to take that strategy and roll it out to your organization. You need to create the direction for your group based on that strategy and oversee how your staff takes your direction and creates action plans for their teams and so on. Communication, as well as follow-up, is key to your success. Work with your staff to ensure they have the same understanding of your expectations. Have them report back to you on their plans, as well as how they are implementing your direction. Don’t let strategy become a lifeless document. Make it real by keeping action plans and results at the forefront of your team’s dialog.


2) Define Clear Objectives For Your Team

Often Senior Managers have difficulty with some of their staff feeling frustration that they are being micromanaged. Middle Managers often complain that their boss does not do anything they could not do themselves, viewing them only as a door between them and the executive leader. One way to overcome this is to set the direction for your group and establish clear objectives for the collective team and each individual on it. Share information with them and support them in achieving their goals. Hold them accountable for results, as well as their ability to manage others. Have them present their action plans to achieve their objectives and their results.


3) Be Egoless, Lead by Example

Treat people with fairness, firmness, dignity and respect. Leave your ego at the door and expect those who work for you to do the same. Share information and establish an atmosphere that rewards teamwork. Support your team and they will support you. Just because you are in senior management does not mean you have information that others cannot have. It means you have the responsibility to filter information in an effort to keep your employees informed and supported, enabling them to do their jobs better.


4) Report Regularly to Executive Leadership

Just as your employees don’t want to be micromanaged by you, you want to avoid being micromanaged by your boss as well. A good way to do this is to provide regular reports to your executive leadership. By means of a daily or weekly metrics report showing your results in-line with company objectives, you will be able to direct discussions with your boss to topics such as funding approval and support for your ideas instead of having to defend your results.


5) Continually Acquire New Skills

Make time to read, take a class or seminar in areas of the business outside of your comfort zone. Create a working knowledge of finance, operations, marketing, human resources and sales. Brush up on your presentation skills, negotiation skills and public speaking. You can find books, training programs and seminars right here on ManagingAmericans.com. The more well-rounded you become, the better your relationships with others on the senior management team, the faster you will be able to solve problems for your team and the more likely you will be promoted to a General Management/Executive level position.


6) Track & Communicate Your Results

Establish key metrics to track your team’s results vs. their objectives. Share this information upwards and downwards as a tool to communicate and motivate. Review overall company metrics with your team to keep them informed and involved in the success of the company. Forwarding results is not enough.  Take the time to decipher the data and help them to understand what it means. Teach them and open the dialog for questions and creative solutions.


Senior Managers often get a bad reputation for holding on to information; keeping employees in the dark in order to maintain their level of importance.  If you incorporate these six actions into your activities, you will not only be respected by your organization, you will empower them to be successful too.


Good Luck!



Written by Lisa WoodsPresident & CEO ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, dynamic business leader & author with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she provides Management Tools, Do-It-Yourself Training, and Business Assessments for small to mid size companies, Lisa utilizes her experience with integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and strategic revitalization to help other companies succeed.  Closing the gap between strategy and hierarchy through the use of effective communication skills, Lisa's techniques successfully develop employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors that collectively exceed objectives.


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Comments (8)

Ehsan Farooqui posted on: January 12, 2013

1. Definiteness of Plan and Decision 2. Mastery of details. 3. Willingness to assume full responsibility 4.Cooperation 5. Sympathy and understanding. 6. A keen sense of justice.

Madan Gupta posted on: January 14, 2013

very nice

Byron Low posted on: January 16, 2013

Hello Lisa, thank you for your article on the six actions that define great senior leaders; you are so right! I use an assessment that measures twelve different properties of a person’s thinking in order to determine if their thinking is helping them or hurting them. Like what you wrote about, one of a many results this assessment allows us to see is to know if someone is a bridge builder or bridge breaker. If you and/or anyone reading this forum is interested in trying it out – no cost or obligation, I think you’ll find the results very interesting. To take the assessment, please send an email to: byron.low@i-woven.com, and I will send along the link – please include your first and last name.

Eko Heryanto posted on: January 16, 2013

The definition of bridge or roadblock to company's success should be different from one another. When the employees have the same understanding on company's business target and the way to achieve the target, it will be easy to define we are bridge or roadblock.

Bob Woodcock posted on: January 16, 2013

The great leaders stand out from the crowd because they take a different approach. They understand the need to lead people and manage processes and allow middle management to set a path that's in alignment with the organization's strategic vision. They also understand that a little conflict from time to time is great for creativity and innovation.

As a leader I want to create an environment where it's OK to have a different opinion. My good friend Tony Scutella always says that the absence of positive, consensual conflict creates artificial harmony. That's one of the worst situations a leader can face. It means that you get useless information that is meant to satisfy your driving need to be right.

Ken Ferry posted on: January 18, 2013

Actually, I'm more of a roadblock to my employer's failure.

Christina Adkins posted on: February 5, 2013

Great article, thank you for sharing. All six actions seem to share one common denominator... communication. And I couldn't agree more!

Rohit Banota posted on: February 18, 2013

Create systems and processes for building capability within the organisation. That alone creates sustainable leadership in the market!

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