Managers Struggle To Deal With Success

Do managers know how to learn from their successes?
Do managers know how to learn from their successes?
Image Credit: DennisM2

It does not happen all the time. However, sometimes a manager will be successful. Something that we attempt will happen the way that we wanted it to or we might just get lucky and a success will drop into our laps. However, the problem with being successful is that sometimes this can be a big problem in helping us to grow and develop. What managers need to do is to find ways to use their manager skills learn from their success. How should managers deal with success?

Understand Where Your Success Came From

When you are successful as a manager one of the first questions that you are going to want to ask yourself is why you were successful. There can be a lot of different answers to this question: did you just get lucky this time? Was it because of hard work on your part? Do you just have amazing talents that make this effort a success? Is this a result of your manager training? If we just focus on the successful outcome, then it can be all too easy for us to ignore what went right and what went wrong (and why). If you got lucky then you need to understand why it was important that you get lucky in order to be a success. Was there something in your planning that made it necessary for you to get lucky in order to be successful?

Always Do An After Action Review

When you have a success, taking the time to study what happened needs to be a mandatory thing that you do after it’s all over. This should not be something that is considered to be optional. The goal of this kind of review is to identify recommendations that you can then put to use immediately. When you are conducting these types of reviews there are going to be four major questions that you are going to want to get answers to. What did you initially set out to do? What actually happened? Why did what happen happen? What will we do next time?

Understand That You May Not Be The Reason That You Were Successful

Let’s face it – we think that we are hot stuff. When we are successful, we like to think that the reason that we were successful was because of our talents. However, we need to be able to take a step back and realize that our success might not be due to us. When we are reviewing what happened and we are trying to attribute causes of behavior to people, we may end up giving ourselves too much credit. The result of this is that it may end up making us be too incurious and we will end up being overconfident in what we can do. When we are not responsible for a success that just means that we are going to work harder the next time around.

It’s All About The Data

When we are reviewing something that went well, all too often we can find ourselves relying on people’s impressions of how they feel that things went. The problem with this is that most people will have a fairly positive impression about how things went. In order to get around this problem, we need to collect data. The data that we collect has to do with all aspects of what was done. Once we have the data, we will then need to use it to both stimulate discussions and challenge any assumptions that people have made.

Get Input From Outsiders

It turns out that if you really want to understand why something was a success, you need to be able to reach out to others to get their inputs. You might wonder why – after all, this is your success and who knows more about it than you do? However, when we invite people who have a different perspective to provide in the discussion of a success, they may be the people who are able to point out to you why you succeeded. Think of this as a form of team building. The goal is to not allow ourselves to get trapped by our own instincts. We need to be able to learn from our successes just as much as we learn from our failures.

What All Of This Means For You

Everyone loves it when they have a success. We like to throw parties and offer congratulations to everyone who was involved. However, just like when we have a failure, there is something else that we need to do. We have to take the time to take a careful look at what has just happened and determine why it was a success. If we want to have more successes in the future, then we need to understand why what we just did was a success. What do managers need to do?

The first thing that managers need to do when they have a success is to take the time to understand why you succeeded. There can be a number of different reasons for this success and it’s important that you know which one led to this success. After a success, it is important that a manager lead an after action review in order to determine what led to this success. We all like to think that a success happened because of us. However, we need to understand that this success may have happened even if we were not part of it. The people involved in a success will have a personal view of what happened and so it’s important to collect data. This data will allow you to determine what really happened. The people involved in the success will all have a positive view of what happened. That’s why it’s important to get an outsider’s view of what happened so that you can better understand what lead to this success.

Everyone likes success. Managers like success because it shows that their team can work together to complete tasks. Our careers will only become better the more successes that we can put under our belt. However, even though having a success is a time for a celebration, we also have to make the most of it. We need to take a careful look at each of our successes and understand how they happened. Only by doing this can we hope to repeat our successes in the future.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How soon after a success do you think that you should do an after action review?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the primary jobs of a manager is to find a way to use our manager skills to get the members of their team to become engaged with the work that they are doing. If we can accomplish this, then productivity can go up, teamwork will increase, and everyone should be happy. However, as with all such things in life, it turns out that there is a downside to doing this. Team members can become too engaged in what they are working on and this is going to create a different set of problems for a manager.

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