The manager misconception
Many managers have the misconception that they are being remembered for their projects. However, in times of rapid change, these are just as quickly forgotten as ice melts in the sun. What really matters is something else entirely…
There is no shortage of projects in a company. Usually, managers are so focused on cutting costs, optimizing processes, creating campaigns, building platforms, developing products, increasing sales etc. that, at the time of retirement, hardly any of them can say how many projects they have worked on during their entire career. The number is not as important as you might think, because the harder it is for you to remember, the more unlikely it will be that other people will remember as well. Still, it’s interesting that many managers choose to compete based on the number of projects they have been involved in in the past.
There is a question you should ask yourself before retiring that is much more crucial: Which employees and colleagues will say that I have truly mentored them? The point of this is not the sheer number of people that come to mind, but rather the quality of your interactions.
I was fortunate enough to have a boss who was also willing to be my mentor. He took the time to teach me all of his knowledge about marketing, customer enthusiasm and staging. He was a true role model – not only for me, but for the whole team – who passed on his many ideas, tools and experiences without holding anything back. He always had fun and took a lot of time to support his staff. Time that – like many other managers – he did not have. Still, he did not care and just took it to support his colleagues. He was never afraid that someone might surpass him at anything, because nothing made him more happy than seeing his team shine and to have discussions with his colleagues on eye level.
Those who really make a lasting impression in business create an environment in which people can improve themselves and grow. This does not mean to simply provide them with a budget for professional trainings, but rather to ask yourself what you can do to help them.
Here are 5 concrete ideas on how to be remembered in business. You might be surprised how easy it is.
- Use existing meetings to create value
Far too often, meetings are neither efficient nor effective. Too much yada yada and not enough real problem solving. Use 5 to 10 minutes of a meeting to create real value for your team. For example, if you have a sales team, you can teach the team members your negotiation skills and show them what you have learned from your mistakes (let’s call them experiences).
- Help your colleagues to network
Helping people connect takes little time and creates a lot of value for everyone involved. For example, if you have a colleague who wants to learn more about CI / CD and on the other hand know a good graphic designer, then bring these two together. This will probably only take a phone call and an email… and let’s face it, these few minutes will be well spent. Open doors for your team and help it to seize new opportunities.
- Accompany and invite
Accompany employees or colleagues to important meetings with customers, suppliers or senior management. And invite them if you have a presentation or negotiations yourself. The more you involve people, the faster they can grow. You might be wondering whether your team genuinely cares about these things now. I would say yes…at least in case the company culture is right. The best approach is to make suggestions and find out.
- The right talent development
Be honest… How well do you actually know the talents of your employees or colleagues? Too often, attempts are made to eliminate the weaknesses. And since this approach generally doesn’t succeed, a lot of effort and energy it put into minimizing them. However, anyone who knows the talents of others can choose to specifically promote them. It creates a dynamic that you then only need to steer in the right direction.
- Creative thinking
There are so many great events to get some amazing new ideas nowadays. My former boss and I were both fans of Gerhard Polt and have visited a few of his events over the years. Each time, we returned to the office with several new ideas, which we then immediately started to tackle and implement. You don’t necessarily need to get inspired by comedy. It can also be TED Talks, Gedankentanken, a Digital Festival or a symposium with different speakers. The important thing is to take the time for yourself and make the time for the people you want to support.
By the way: I did not mention the ‘classic’ option because it is obvious. Of course you can put in a good word or two and a specific recommendation for one of your colleagues at the top management level.
All the best!