We all know the word "No" is a great catalyst to change. SlackerManager.com is an online content destination for managers looking to take a stand and reinvent the world of work. At the helm is Phil Gerbyshak. By day Phil is a vice-president of information technology for a financial services company in Milwaukee. By night, he is the editor-in-chief of Slacker Manager. He’s also a professional speaker and co-author of Help Desk Manager's Crash Course where Phil focuses on assisting managers in the Help Desk industry.
Phil, what’s your definition of slacker manager?
A slacker manager is someone who wants to do as little wasted work as possible, who wants to maximize the resources at their disposal. A slacker manager is looking for the perfect balance (the slack if you will) between work and life, and wants to help his team find the same balance.
What are their concerns? What content is most popular?
Everyone is being asked to do more with less: less staff, less time, less training. Folks are looking for easy ways to do more, and in short bursts, I provide that. Managers are also looking for ways to re-engage their own spirit and connect with their best self. The most popular content are issues that hit people right in the heart. Like this one....People Quit Managers, Not Companies. Everyone didn't agree with me, but it got a good share of comments. Another post that my readers enjoyed was You Don't Know Everything. The best posts are the common sense one that resonate and are used to show others that it is possible to be a good manager.
How is the world of Management changing?
The world of management is changing fast, primarily because the folks that are in the workforce today are probably not the same folks that will be in the workforce in 5 years. Managers are being asked to adjust faster, to more change, to different people, to different ways of thinking, that it's more important than ever to surround yourself with folks who can help you. As I mentioned in You Don't Know Everything, you have to focus on what you CAN do and hire people to do what you CAN'T do.
I also think managers will have to improve their communication skills in order to relate to their employees...and to better relate to their customers. Clear, concise communication is going to be key for the manager's of tomorrow, because multiple priorities will fragment their attention even more. Without communicating clearly on what MUST be done, managers run the risk of getting more of the unimportant stuff done and thus being very productive...but very unsuccessful.
What does today’s manager need to do in order to be successful tomorrow?
Today's manager must keep learning new ways to add value to the business. The number one way the manager of today can do this is by learning how to connect with his team on a very basic level, to understand what makes them tick, how each person likes to be rewarded, and why each person does what they do on a daily basis. Your team is your number one resource, so you must tap into this in order to be successful tomorrow.
Today's manager must also find ways to stay motivated himself. Burnout is high, and the workload isn't going to slowdown anytime soon, so you'll have to find ways to motivate yourself to keep going. A little self-knowledge goes a long way towards achieving this motivation. Know how to make yourself happy, how to motivate yourself, and how to stay optimistic even in the face of great adversity.
Who do you turn do for inspiration?
Great question! Rosa Say ( Talking Story ) and Lisa Haneberg ( Management Craft ) are two of my favorite sources of management inspiration. I try to never miss any of their articles, books or interviews. I learn so much from them both, and they fill me full of new ideas and new ways of looking at old problems.
I also enjoy having a good cup of coffee at Alterra Coffee (either on the lake or at a cafe close to my house), putting on my iPod and writing out my challenges.
What’s your best management move this year?
Best move - Properly delegating more to the people on my team so they can help us all achieve more. The longer I am a manager, the more I realize I can't do it all by myself, and the more I understand the need for delegation. Doing delegation right, by setting clear expectations and deadlines, following up properly to check in (and NOT micro-managing the process) and offering my support even when things don't go according to plan, is my biggest success this year. I need to do it even more often though, and I'm working on that! Good delegation takes time!
What’s your worst?
Worst move - I had to cut our training budget to zero this year. I'm going to find a way to sneak some back onto the books, but I hated having to do that, and though I know it was only a short term thing, it's a year further behind my team is.
What can everyone learn from your help desk manager program?
In Help Desk Manager's Crash Course, Jeffrey M. Brooks and I share tips to jump start (or reinvigorate) your management career, whether you're a Help Desk Manager or not. Tips on delegation, hiring right, marketing your team, appraisals and more are available in the book.
Any tips to share?
My favorite tip is on marketing your team. If you want to be successful, you need to make sure everyone knows who you are, who your team is, and what unique value your team provides, or you run the risk of being downsized or outsourced. Here are 3 tips to market your team:
1) Get out from behind your desk - Travel to other floors and find out how they interact with your team...and how they'd like to interact with your team.
2) Invite managers from other areas to visit and observe what your team does day‐to-day - If folks don’t know what you do, then how can they value it? Make time every week to spend with managers in other areas, not just your department, to find out what they are focusing on, and how your team can add value to the process. Do this on the phone if they're not physically close to you.
3) Get involved outside of your department and find ways to relate it back to your team. Sit on company-wide committees, offer to speak to other departments, help with intern events, and help your team see how doing more helps the team's day-to-day duties (and helps grow the bottom line).
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