This from Keith Ray, after reading Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith:
“Management” is mostly invisible – the worse management is, the more visible it is. The best managers (I’m told) often seem like they are neither busy nor doing “any work,” because they’ve done a lot of work to keep potential problems from turning into actual problems. Managers could do with reading this book, considering their bosses, peers, customers, suppliers, and direct reports as “customers”, all of whom to maintain good relationships with.
This matches my experience.
Managers who are busy putting out fires or attending meetings (we’re not talking 1:1 meetings with staff here), are visibly busy, but not doing the work that would get them out of crisis mode or develop the capabilities of their staff.
Managers who appear to be not busy have time to observe, reflect, think, and plan appropriate interventions to increase the effectiveness of the group. They know what’s going on with the people who report to them, build on strengths, remove obstacles, and work to prevent working in crisis mode.
I had one manager who was so busy she ran between meetings and had to take important phone calls during 1:1 meetings because “it was the only time she had.” I planned my dental visits to coincide with those 1:1 meetings. It was a much better use of my time, and more pleasant, too.