Mastering the dance of management


The secret to successfully managing a transition into a new management role is to quickly master the dance of management. Great managers have more than one dance move in their repertoire, writes Mark LeBusque

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way – Wayne Dyer

Great news. You’ve just been promoted into a new role managing a group of human beings.

The momentary feeling of joy and sense of pride quickly gets taken over by feelings of apprehension, fear, and self-doubt. “Am I going to be able to make a success of this?” is one question you ask yourself.

To be successful here, you are expected to be nimble enough on your feet to master the “dance of management” without so much as a training session or a book of ‘101 management dance moves’.

How challenging is making up new dance moves on the fly? Every time you thought you had a clear line of sight, you end up with two left feet and trip up. Before you know it, you’ve been removed from the dancefloor.

The secret to successfully managing a transition into a new management role is to quickly master the dance of management. Great managers have more than one dance move in their repertoire. They are nimble, adaptable, agile and self-aware enough to quickly switch from a two-step to the tango in order to move with the beat of rapid change.

It’s time to get your dancing shoes on.
I call it ‘situational management’. Having awareness in the moment and changing your management style in an instant to move with the beat of change that is happening right in front of you.

In my first book, ‘Being Human’, I share six management styles that I’ve witnessed over 20+ years in the business world. I’ve outlined in more detail four of these that will give you dance moves to successfully transition into a management role, or even add some more dance moves if you’ve been there for a while:

SuperHuman – Short Term 24/7 Bursts – There are times when its “go, go, go” and you need to put on your cape and just perform superhuman acts. I’m sure you will feel this or have felt this once you were a manager. There didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day and you were in a fight for the attention of your team members, peers and the boss. You are working long hours, making quick decisions on limited information and just keeping up with the minute by minute change. These management dance moves are critical in times of uncertainty when short deadlines become even shorter and your very survival is linked to your ability to grind out hour after hour, day after day.

Human – Emotionally Invested and Human Focus First – Humans need to make sense and feel connected and a sense of belonging, particularly in times of change. This is one of the most critical dance moves to master. The ability to provide direction, protection and order for humans you are privileged to have under your care. When working from home became the “new normal”, we all got exposed to the human side of those we work with. We saw employees as humans at home, learned about their pets and kids, took time to have Friday drinks and regularly checked in and asked “how are you feeling?” This will be as important to do this on the way back to the office. It’s is a dance we must put at the top of our list.

Robot – Absolutely Follow The Rulebook – Early on in your management journey, there will be a need to roll out some dance moves so robotic in nature that others may get a little frustrated with your lack of dance moves. Remember, it takes time to master some groovy moves and this is where the dance of the robotic manager is important. Following protocols and processes, asking repetitive questions, expecting reports in on time are all moves that aren’t overly interesting but will set the platform for future nimbleness. Hold your nerve here. At times we need to follow the rulebook in order to stay alive. This is one of those times.

Tyrant – Sometimes management isn’t a Democracy – It’s no good being “both ways” as you move into this new management role. Sometimes you have to be unpopular and rule with an iron fist. This dance will be especially important in the early days of being a manager. Give an inch and some will take a mile. This should be a short dance to set the scene for what’s expected. Don’t dance here for too long or the employees will live in fear.

It’s time to take the lead as you move into the first or next phase of your management career dance.

The important thing is to learn a few management dance moves and trot them out at the appropriate time. Get your dancing shoes on. What are you waiting for?

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