They should know that!

Whether you’re a startup founder turned employer or an individual contributor turned manager, here’s a series on the most common ways to go from a frustrated manager to a happy best manager.

Managers often think their team should know better.

The most human thing in the world is to forget that our own lenses and impulses are unique. So, when someone becomes a manager the first thing they assume is that everyone on the team knows what they know. And they don’t. They’ll also assume everyone will think and behave as they do. And they don’t.

They’ll be influenced by you. But they are their own person.

This is not permission to hound a team with a shower of micromanaging. It is a reminder to look in the mirror when projects don’t meet your expectations.

This was one of my own biggest challenges as a manager and anyone who has worked for me would likely agree. I’ve had to say more often than I’d like, “Hey, team member. This isn’t going to work as it is. But that’s my fault. I clearly see now that there were some expectations in my head that I never communicated out loud to you.”

Other times people “should” but won’t know something include anything said only once, said only in an e-mail and said via word of mouth telephone game. And that’s all on the manager to remedy.

Instead, what the best managers know is:

It’s my job to provide context, knowledge and support.

I need to turn ideas into clear goals.

I need to ensure that the team has the information and skills needed to achieve those goals.

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