My sister is, for lack of a better word, a goober. Always has been, but I get the right to say that for being the younger brother and getting beat up by my older sisters during childhood. Also, she’s incredibly smart, talented, driven, successful, brilliant, outspoken, speaks several languages, won awards, loved by everyone, warmhearted, and wonderful. So, you know, a goober.
She’s also a bit of a mentor to me and recently I asked her why anyone would want to be a manager, or more specifically, how to answer that question if asked in an interview. Here’s what she had to say about it:
Turns out it has nothing to do with what I am good at. I have learned that it has every thing to do with how I feel when my staff are good at what they do. That feeling drives me to do more, think more, and act more on behalf of my company but most importantly be more than a talking head on behalf of the staff.
Management, it turns out for me, is the art and the science it takes to combine the skills to develop and empower people to make effective decisions that make a difference and improve the company bottom line in the market place. Most companies make a fatal error when they think that technology defines the company bottom line, in fact it is the loyalty, belief and conviction that what the employees does every day has real value and drives the growth of a company. Turnover and lost productivity have a greater impact on the profit and loss statements than most any thing else. Look at historical mistakes of IBM, AT&T, etc.
Any Manager that has failed in our company has done so because they think they can lead by demand versus example. The key to a being good manager is having a company recognize what their assets are and that your core values align with how they view their staff. What are their expectations of their management team. Why did the last manager fail to meet the needs of the company? If their answers are not compatible to your core values end the interview and use it as a practice interview.
If being a “no prisoner” kind of manager is what a company is looking for then you have to ask yourself, can you be that guy in three months? Faking how you feel about people is always fatal, upper management may buy it, but the people that do the actual work every day never do. A good manager is an island because your have to get the job done but no one knows, and really, no one cares how hard you work what they care about it how EASY you make their jobs. If you can derive happiness from that, awesome, management is your calling.
6 tips for management job interviews
- Its more important your core values align with the company’s, don’t ‘date’ the interviewer, they are just as much on their best behavior as you are.
- Ask what the expectations are of the position you are interviewing for. Ask how their expectations are determined.
- If a company cannot outline the expected growth, needs and tools needed/provided to meet the defined goals at an interview they never will and thus it will always be your fault when expectations fail.
- If a company cannot tell you what their budget is for employee development then they do not believe in, or understand, that value.
- Always ask how long the last manager held the position and what the company will do different to reach its goals.
- Always try to get a company bio ahead and read every letter the president has written and ask who their customers/clients are – it all adds up to the core values.
Last, but not least, if a manager cannot prioritize how to attain a profit margin/productivity/growth/human resource development in a manner that is compatible with the culture of that company, DO NOT ACCEPT THE POSITION.
Management is like parenting, you set your best example, you give till it hurts and when you fail your get better, but it never stops hurting to fail even just a little.
Most humbling moment in my career a supervisor interrupted me and told me she had a problem, I told I had 50 and would get back to her , to which she replied “I DON’T CARE HOW MANY PROBLEMS YOU HAVE ‘CAUSE IF YOU DON’T SOLVE THIS ONE THEN I CAN’T DO MY JOB AT ALL”.
Gulp. I solved hers first.