Managing Your Managers

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

If you think managing is tough… managing a pool of managers takes that struggle to another level. But, there is one major thing managers of managers have working to their advantage: empathy. If one hasn’t been a manager, it’s easy to assume a lot of things about that role and how one will operate once occupying it – but if you’re already a manager, there are less assumptions and misunderstandings, and hopefully more common ground. So, start here. Build on this. Use it. But then, move onto a few of my other strategies that might help you manage your managers.


I’m sure you’re not surprised communication made the list. The key word here is OPEN. Honest conversations with your managers regarding their fears, challenges, mistakes, team dynamics and concerns – matter. Most managers feel as though they need to carry this on their own. They make assumptions that nobody else is struggling with the same things – and we all know that when someone can empathize with us, we can become more at ease with the ebbs and flows we’re facing. So, whatever you do – do your best to establish an environment where your managers don’t worry about what they share.


Do not micromanage. I repeat: DO NOT MICROMANAGE. Just because you have a mass of managers reporting to you does not mean you should manage them like a hoard of minions. You are not their master – you are their manager. Empower them. Trust them. Encourage them. Reward them. Coach them. Praise them. Because good managers are busy getting their team members recognized, they often get overlooked, so make sure you are getting your manager’s time in the limelight.


Your managers are busy building teams, encouraging employees and fighting fires – at the very least, you must provide direction for them. Establishing a vision, setting priorities and aligning objectives is your job. Why is this? Because what you do at this stage will get shuffled down the ladder to your managers’ reports. So, if you’re floundering without focus, you can bet your business that the bottom-line will not benefit from your muddled managing style.

Without question, CLARITY – TRUST – and VISION will do wonders with your managers. Use the empathetic backdrop to your advantage, but don’t bank on it to bear the weight of the burdens that your managers are bound to bring you. Just because you’ve been a manager and are a manager doesn’t mean you’re a mind reader – remember that. The managing strategies that have been around forever still apply to you.

Looking for more insights about managing and coaching your managers? Check out more from Doug at his blog at

Doug C. Watsabaugh, senior partner at WCW Partners, understands how to meet your unique performance challenges. With more than 20 years of experience, WCW Partners is a performance-improvement company that helps businesses revitalize their results and achieve record-breaking performance.

If you are looking to excel in sales, service or leadership, let Doug develop the capability in you!

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