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Where do you stand with your manager?

Here’s a short exchange that might strike a responsive chord.

John: Michael, I guess we’re meeting because your manager told you that you need an executive coach.

Michael: I’m certainly under pressure. I’ve been stretched incredibly thin and I’m just not coping as effectively as I’d like.

John: What’s the problem? Not enough resources? The wrong priorities? Too much into the details and not watching the big picture?

Michael: You know, it’s a strange thing. I’ve had all this responsibility pushed onto me with limited resources. I ask for help, get very little and I’m knocking myself out.

John: Did you ever get any feedback that it’s working, or more to the point, what’s not working?

Michael: Well, it’s really confusing. I got an “exceeds expectations” in my last performance evaluation a few months back and my highest incentive payout ever. But now, all of a sudden, everything seems to be going wrong. Plus, I haven’t had any direct feedback from my manager.

John: But you know that it’s not working, right? You don’t feel good about your work, you’re always scrambling, and you and your direct reports aren’t delivering.

Michael: Yes. It would be nice to get a straight answer from my manager and to be clear about what he’s not happy about. Some direction would also help.

John: Part of the success of this coaching program will be better, more focused, communication between you and your manager and your improved ability to manage up. Also, we’ll review in-depth the competence of your own management team and determine what you need to do to strengthen their skills. As long as your department has limited bench strength, you’ll never avoid getting into the weeds. Competent people will get the work done and free you up to focus on the more strategic issues and work more effectively with your peers.

Michael: Let’s do it!

The lesson from this conversation: Get managers to confront the issues! A good coach will do that and more, including, in this case, helping Michael’s manager manage down more effectively.

PSG has experienced, mature coaches to assist clients in navigating through these situations. We also provide the essential feedback through our 360° reviews to enable managers to know exactly how their direct reports, peer managers and even customers perceive their management and leadership styles. PSG also provides training for managers in coaching skills and managing with emotional intelligence.

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