The Complete Manager is a Unicorn

Managing and developing people

Managing and developing peopleLike a unicorn, the complete manager is a magical beast only seen in fairy tales.

The concept is known to everyone.  A great manager is and has it all; inspiration, feedback, goal setting, communication, organization, team player, individual contributor, budgeting, career guide, mentor, collaboration, visionary, pace setter, blah blah blah.

And there seems to be a lot of the “blah blah blah” out there!  Companies pump tons of money in to management training – I know I have certainly developed a few management programs in my time. A simple search on Amazon will find the endless books written on the subject – we know you’ve seen those advertisements for becoming a management unicorn in only 5 minutes or by focusing on 10 easy habits. And still, every year evaluations are performed to see how well people did against the categories their company has called out as “good management traits.” You have probably had a separate section on the evaluation just for that elite category called management.

What do all of these things add up to? I believe we are forever searching for the impossible – a unicorn – when we focus so much on the complete manager.

At The Fool, we have instead found that the real value is in recognizing where people need help and matching them with a leader who possesses that specific skill.  We call it, “Everyone Has Someone.” That someone may be the existing manager, or it could be a mentor from somewhere else in the business.

We work hard to ensure that everyone has someone dedicated to their development.  The trick is connecting with and knowing your crew.  We play a constant game of matchmaking.  Fools may need help with communication, focus, stretching themselves, etc.  We then look for a mentor that can provide that type of help.

We don’t expect our leaders to be everything to everyone.  We expect our leaders to be great at what they are individually skilled at.  Then we leverage that greatness.