5 things I've learnt as a manager of managers

In my journey of evolving from a manager to a manager of managers, there are several key insights I've gleaned that I believe have been pivotal to my success.

  1. I've found that reading widely is essential: One book that has been instrumental for me is "The Leadership Pipeline". It doesn't just detail what you should do at each level of management, but also what you shouldn't, and offers guidance on identifying and rectifying underperformance, both in myself and those around me.

  2. Mastering the art of feedback has been crucial: As I've ascended the management chain, the ability to have high-stakes conversations effectively has become increasingly important. Two books that have been indispensable in this regard are "Crucial Conversations" and "Radical Candor". They've taught me how to control my emotions, practice empathy, gain clarity of thought, and deliver impactful feedback. They've also underscored the importance of fostering genuine relationships, and nurturing a culture of openness, vulnerability, and trust within my team.

  3. I've had to learn how to be an effective teacher and coach: Part of my role as a manager of managers is to select, train, and up-skill other great managers. This has involved a lot of introspection to understand and systematize my own management style and philosophy, as well as figuring out how to impart these skills to my team. A book that has been a great guide for me in this process is "The Coaching Habit".

  4. I've had to learn how to stay connected: Despite the myriad of meetings that fill my day, I've found it's vital to remain connected to the people in my organization, ongoing projects, and the overall team health. If I don't, I risk becoming detached and losing the trust and credibility of my team.

  5. I've had to develop my own system for measuring and tracking key metrics: To ensure I'm making informed decisions and accurately tracking progress, I've created systems to keep track of key metrics across my organization. These systems can involve a variety of tools, dashboards, and regular reports, allowing me to maintain a comprehensive and detailed view of my organization's performance.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to being a successful manager of managers. It's a continuous learning process, and these are just some of the insights that have helped me on my journey.