Why Great Managers Value Being Led by Others

Question: What’s better than one superhero fighting crime by themself?

Answer: A whole team of superheroes working together.

If you’ve seen some of the latest superhero movies and loved seeing your favorite comic book stars team up to take on the toughest villains ever, you’re not alone. The highest grossing movie of last year was one of those action-packed films.

Even for us regular mortals, teaming up with others brings out the best in us. For example, research has shown that having a partner can push you to go twice as far as you would if you were working out alone.

It seems natural to admit that other people can make us better. Humans are social creatures.

But lots of the manager’s I’ve known feel alone and seem to accept that being lonely is just part of the job.

Unfortunately, they aren’t using one of the best resources they have to become better—the influence of other people.

Which is really pretty backwards thinking.

As managers, we want to lead, inspire, and influence other people to grow and become better.

But often, managers don’t make the effort to seek out other people who can inspire and influence them to become better. Isn’t that messed up?

If we allow other people to influence us to become better leaders, does that make us less of a leader in the end?

Or maybe we get too busy in the transactional work of our day to day calendar to invest our time and attention in seeking out and soaking up the knowledge that others have to share.

Whatever the case, the fact is this:

The best managers, Superhero managers, understand the value that others can bring to their own development.

They seek it out.

They are constantly consuming content that is designed and intentionally selected to help them become better.

And doing so is part of their daily routine.

If you’ve been tricked into thinking that good managers have to find their own way, and great leaders are “self-made,” then you’ve been held back from becoming the best version of yourself.

If you believe that you’re too busy to invest your time and attention in partnering with someone else who will support you in becoming better, it’s time to change your perspective.

And if you thought that creating opportunities for your growth and development was up to your company or your bosses to direct, you might be waiting forever for them to follow through.

To be our best, we all need other people to influence us. We need them to share what has worked for them so we can avoid making the same mistakes they did and benefit from their experience.

Most of all, we need to identify ourselves as someone who values education and personal development.

Each of us needs to take our own personal improvement seriously enough to seek out other people who will lead us in the direction we want to go.

Here are some places you can access the thoughts, ideas, and experience of other leaders.

Blog posts and articles

Set aside some time on a regular basis to search for the topics that you feel you need to focus on in order to get better. Most regular publishers will have an option for you to subscribe to receive their new content right in your email inbox.

Facebook and Instagram

Don’t just use these platforms to stay in touch with friends. Use them to become better by following people who are putting out content that leaves you feeling uplifted and educated. Make sure the posts in your feed are leaving you better. Unfollow people and companies that aren’t supporting your growth and development.

Podcasts

This is one of my favorite ways to connect with others who will help me to grow. With over 1,500,000 podcasts available, you are sure to find one that will support you becoming better. A couple of my favorites are Coaching for Leaders and The Modern Manager.

Email lists

As I mentioned above, most creators have ways for you to subscribe to get their latest content emailed to you regularly. When you find someone who’s message you enjoy, sign up! Content via email is also incredibly easy to share with your team. When you read something that benefits you and you think it will help your team, forward it on!

Books

Books are a great way to really dig into a topic and become an expert on it. Leaders are readers! Set aside some time each day to read a few pages. And if you prefer to multitask, you can opt to listen to audio books.

Conferences and webinars

It can be incredibly refreshing to set aside a portion of a day every few months to get educated and inspired. Once you become familiar with a handful of leaders who can help you level up, you’ll begin to learn about events they host or are attending themselves. Invest some time and money to be in attendance too. And when you do so, take some time to get to know the speakers and other attendees. Those are wonderful opportunities to grow your group of “allies.”

Coaching

Of course, I’m partial to this method of growth and development. As a coach and a manager, I also have a coach I meet with weekly. A coach’s job is to help you to navigate the process of becoming better. If you’d like to try out a coaching session, feel free to send me a message.

A word of caution. Listening, reading, and learning is great. But it’s only the first step to creating real change.

Nothing will really change in your life until you act.

So, as you align with other leaders and regularly take in content from a variety of places, never forget the goal is to find new actions to take.

As you learn and then take new actions based on what you learn, those actions will become the seeds of growth and development.

The bottom line is, you need to be influenced by other people to become your best.

Respect that principle when it comes to your work as a manager.

Make sure you’re giving yourself lots of opportunities to connect and learn from leaders who are going in the direction you want to go.

Align with a group of allies who will support you in becoming the best manager you can be. Then, growth and development will become part of who you are. And you’ll reap the benefits of being a Superhero Manager.

Here are some questions that can help you to become a Superhero Manager by finding you hero allies.

Of all the people I know on this planet, who are the 3-5 individuals that can most help me to be the person that I want to be?

What steps might I take to ask for their help?

What steps might I take to be influenced by each of them regularly?

How might I commit to making it happen?

 

Nate Sleger is a career manager, management coach, and author of The Manager’s Self-Coaching Guide. His course Show Up At Work Like A Superhero has been taken by hundreds of managers worldwide. He currently lives and works in Wisconsin, USA.

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