Great opportunities are all around managers in the workplace when they want to improve and grow their skills.
There are a range of people who can support them and sometimes, to add to the mix, there are opportunities to learn from further afield too.
Like never before, where managers have the vision to see the possibilities as they develop their skills and career, there are no end of opportunities they can experience, even aside from the usual workshops and training sessions.
As we become aware of the responsibilities we have to improve ourselves, we will listen to the wisdom of mentors, who have done the role we have and, as they say, ‘gotten the tee-shirt’!
If we are truly fortunate, we will enjoy the support of our own line-manager who will have the care to nurture us through their challenging coaching, which will draw through us our latent capabilities.
We will see and hear the works of employees, colleagues and our peer group managers who can share experiences and ‘what worked’ and ‘what didn’t’ too.
In the workplace therefore, there is much going for us where we can expand our basic abilities we have to become much, much more.
For those managers who care to look further afield, there are ideas and strategies for you that can pop up from the most unlikely of sources.
Here are three rather different places to look for a little enlightenment, in the broadest sense!
Where you can take a close look at what competitors or other like-minded organizations do, there are often useful insights you can glean from what they are about.
You can assimilate tactics from these, but to find out about their management activities that will help you develop personally, you need to know more.
It could be that you listen carefully to those of their people you come into contact with and extrapolate the management behaviors that drive their sharp-end employees’ performances.
If you are confident enough, you can draw just as much valuable information from very different organizations and businesses.
By being very broad in your awareness of what other management teams do in their workplace, you can start to draw out ideas that might work in a very different environment.
Here, you need to be prepared to move away from tunnel-vision around your industry and prepared to take a risk or two with the integration of very different management behaviors.
Would Ricardo Semler’s ‘Maverick’ washing machine self-managed team tactics work in a retail organization? (The answer is yes, by the way!) How might the core activities of an ambulance service be paralleled with the creative team focused on new ice-cream flavors?
There will be links you can use, if you look hard enough and they will give you entirely new ways to consider some of the ways you and your people currently do things.
Even when you get a life and out of the day job, there are vital lessons you can learn. Where you are on a day off or vacation is the ideal time to make observations of anyone around you that might give hints and clues that you could find useful.
How does the deckchair rental guy make sure that no-one gets off without paying? How is crowd control balanced with the drive to give extraordinary entertainment at a rock concert.
Watching a child explore and be curious about the world around them can be incredibly revealing for you – and how can you add value to your own team from what you see there as the child plays?
How do your observations of these mini-scenarios fit for you in, say, your expanding coffee-shop business?
There are more – and the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.
The key here for managers who really want to maximize their performance, is to be open to the possibilities that will ‘ring a bell’ for them from anywhere.
Then notice things that appeal as interesting just from the curiosity you have been able to show
And finally, work on how you can translate what you see and hear for yourself, taking care to be accepting of ideas that comes from unexpected sources, if even just for the heck of it!
(c) 2010 Martin Haworth. This is a short excerpt from one of 52 lessons in management development at Super Successful Manager!, an easy to use, step-by-step weekly development program for managers of EVERY skill level. Find out more at http://www.SuperSuccessfulManager.com.