There’s a powerful pull, like a gravitational pull, that keeps many managers from making a difference. It’s the management box.
Here’s what’s inside the box:
- To-do lists and piles
- Routine tasks
- Handling daily brush fires
- Taking care of people’s problems
- Monitoring performance
These things in the box can fill our days, but we can’t let them. This is not why we became managers and it is not what our companies most need from us.
Outside the box:
- Breakthroughs in alignment
- Dialogue that enlivens the workplace
- Seizing opportunity
- Collaboration that improves the business
- Barrier obliteration
It may seem hard to step outside the box because bosses and employees reinforce in-box management. That’s ironic, because they seek the results and feeling of out-of-box management. They just don’t know, and this creates a vicious circle of reinforcement of the wrong things.
How to step outside the box:
Step outside the box one foot at a time. Align the workplace, change what you do on a daily basis and improve dialogue. Say NO to sucky meetings. Say NO to sucky meetings. Say NO to sucky meetings. Until you do, the pull of the box will be tough to overcome.
Are you a senior leader? Talk to your management team today, in the next hour. Tell them about the box and give them your blessing to step outside. Better yet, realign your expectations such that you do not reinforce in-box management.
Not sure how to begin? Print out this post, take it to your OD department and ask them to help drive the migration. If they do not know what to do, get a new OD department, this is basic stuff.
Yeah, let’s not make this complicated, this is simple. The pull is strong but as soon as you get away from the force, managing outside the box is very simple.