Management Lessons From Under The Bus

One ominous day a long, long time ago I got thrown under a bus in front of the CEO of my company at the time. Me, a pretty low level employee at the time, got blamed for a pretty huge issue. The person that pointed to me was a very senior executive who was looking for a scapegoat. Luckily I had a few big time supporters in the inner circle who knew the truth and could set the story straight.

I learned one of the greatest management lessons during this really stressful situation – because of the way my manager reacted. She got my side of the story and then fought hard behind the scenes to protect me and my reputation. Wow – what a class act.

My role right now has me reflecting on the best managers I’ve had during my career.  Here are some of the best lessons I learned from them:

1. I’ve got your back.
Great managers fight for their people – not just when times are tough but also when they deserve recognition, promotion, or a new role.

2. I’m not always right.
The best managers know they aren’t the smartest ones in the room. And they fess up when they’re at fault. Enough said.

3. I know you’ll get it done. 
My best managers trusted me to get my work done. They didn’t come knocking each day to check my work or make sure I was at my desk during certain hours. Trust your people, people – unless they give you reason not to.

4. I’m here.
Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re on an island along with a new, overwhelming project. The best managers are open to questions and provide guidance when needed.

5. My job is to make you successful. 
The main responsibility of a manager is to make sure their people reach their potential. Having open discussions about career paths and expectations is good for the employee (they get to move forward in their careers), for the manager (they get an engaged team that produces good results and a reputation for furthering careers), and the company (happy people = happy workplace).

This post first appeared on Liz Brenner’s blog, Lead With Intuition.

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Liz Brenner

Liz Brenner is currently Vice President of Marketing Employee Engagement at SAP. Liz has spent over 8 years in various marketing and operations roles at SAP. Prior to SAP, Liz spent over 10 years in consulting and operations roles at BearingPoint, Arthur Andersen, and in the energy industry. Liz’s blog, Lead With Intuition, is a compilation of inspiring lessons from top business leaders to empower you in your pursuit of success. Follow @LizBrenner on Twitter.

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