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A Manager of Many Hats

Manager, Guidance Counselor, Cheerleader--Though these words are spelled differently, they mean the same thing. There isn’t an effective management discipline that doesn’t preach blending these jobs together. Which is to say, that the best managers can switch from taskmaster, to psychoanalyst, and to support system seamlessly. In today’s culture, it’s no longer enough to be able to articulate your expectations to your employees. The job has evolved and those with responsibility of management are being forced to evolve as well.

Being a manager involves managing, obviously. But what does that really mean? Is a manager sitting behind a desk monitoring performance metrics? Is a manager wandering around watching processes? Is a manager doing both? Is a manager doing more? There is no clear answer but the constant throughout it all is that the job is more complicated than ever. Managing people requires a delicate touch, as well as a firm guiding hand. Finding ways to connect with your team will allow you to be more effective, no matter what management style you favor.

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When Metrics Matter and When They Don’t…

We live in a data-driven world.  Volumes of information are accessible with the push of a button or the touch of a screen. Supercomputers exponentially more powerful than those used to put man on the moon sit casually in our pockets.  We are incredibly lucky to live in an era where the concept of advanced statistics isn't walled behind the ivory towers of institution but can be readily digested and interpreted by anyone who's willing to look hard enough.

With the amount of data available to digest and the abundance of user-friendly tools that can be used to quickly process that data, a business can generate metrics for nearly every potential process output.  On the surface, this is an enormous boon for managers, as they should be able to tell exactly what their teams are doing and how efficiently it's being done.

But that data doesn't always tell the whole story, or even the right story at all. What if all that data is doing us a disservice? What if the data we've come to rely on and, in some cases, take for granted, is harming our decision-making abilities. When do metrics matter?  And, more importantly, when don't they?

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