How do you know you are a great manager?  How do your 1st time managers know they are doing well?

Let us rephrase the question: how fruitful are you as a manager? Do you and I reap 1x, 10x, or 100x fold of our efforts?  More importantly, how to maximize our fruitfulness?  

Julie Zhuo, previously VP of Design at Facebook, defines a manager’s role is “to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.”

Yes. AND…

I also believe that EVERY manager is in the leadership-development business.  Our purpose is to BOTH secure KPI’s through teamwork AND to develop individual team members…to eventually take our role as we too move on to tackle and grow through new challenges.

The way we reach these combined goals is simple: through our day-to-day interactions.

Consider the metaphor of the farmer.  In order to reap, he sows.

What do you sow through the goals you set AND in the way you communicate and follow through on them?

What do you sow through the way you handle conflict AND the way you model inclusion?

What do you sow through your responses when the going gets tough?

Reaping Managerial Success

Here is an activity from my manager training workshops to bring perspective to these questions.

Look at this image. I ask the mangers, “Why are these farmers not reaping wheat?”

Reap what you sow

They answer

  • The soil is not optimal for wheat
  • They have vines and sunflower seeds, so they sowed what they have
  • They do not need wheat

… and finally, someone mentions

  • They did not sow wheat

Exactly.  If wheat is what you want, then sow it!

As a manager it means

  • If you want your team to take initiatives, be the example of initiative-taking and walk them through the process you take
  • Are you seeking qualities like grit and resilience in your colleagues? Then, be open with your obstacles and share your strategies to overcome them
  • When you expect your team members to be innovative, ask questions that invite reflection and LISTEN for the answer

Are you sowing sunflower seeds or sour grapes?!

What is your managerial style?

Instead of giving the tough feedback that will stimulate growth, do you keep quiet?

Do you think you are being kind by giving choices (“Are we good?” “How about if you send me document beforehand?”) when, really, there is no option?!

Think back to the last five moments of tension in the day.  How often were you seeking blame, criticizing team members without taking time to train them, feeding conflict, and more?

Reaping More Managerial Success

The activity with my trainees continues.  I show the following image and ask, “How come some farmers harvest by machine and others by hand?”

Sow much, reap much

Again, answers vary:

  • Some have money and others do not
  • The terrain is easier to use machines
  • Field sizes are different

It only makes sense to reap by machine when the crop is plentiful.  If you sow little, there is no need to invest for abundance.

Training Your Young Managers

I come alongside start-up CEO’s to train their 1st time managers.  The fruitfulness of the new managers multiplies is vital for the impact of the entire organization.

How abundantly are your young managers sowing?

My motivation for training 1st time managers lies in these two objectives:

  • To help young managers build self-awareness so that they are aware of what they transmit to their team members
  • To equip them with tools to richly transmit the skills and capabilities they wish to develop in their teams

How well are your young managers doing in BOTH reaching their KPI’s AND developing their team?  What is most challenging? What are you doing about it?


Check out the next article in the series on Leadership Legacy.  I present a framework which makes multiplying your impact simple.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.