LSA Global Insights Newsletter: 6 Management Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary


6 Management Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary

A rock star is on stage in front of an enthusiastic audience

Superstars in the management arena are rare. But when they emerge, they have an enormous impact not only on their own teams but also on the departments and organizations that their protégés go on to lead.

They are able to build high performing organizations at the same time as they are able to develop the next generation of top talent. What is it they do to get high performance that the rest of us miss?

That is what we set out to discover.
After two decades in the field of management consulting and leadership development, here is what we have come to understand and appreciate. Great managers are self-confident and authentic; they are creative and willing to take risks; they are competitive but always act with integrity. These are their personal traits. What makes them truly remarkable, however, is that they are extremely successful at nurturing top talent along the way.

The truly great managers follow these practices when it comes to attracting, selecting and grooming talent for high performance:
  1. Great managers hire only the best and the brightest, not necessarily the most qualified.  High performers are noted for their ability to learn, adjust and create innovative new solutions to problems. They consistently show flexibility when things go awry and have the intelligence and discipline to prioritize and focus on what really matters most. Great managers are able to consistently identify employees with unusual gifts and are willing to take a chance on putting them in positions of merit even if they lack the more "typical" experience and credentials.  
  2. Great managers modify the job to suit the special gifts of high performers.  Great managers feel free to change job descriptions and roles to squarely fit the specific talents and desires of their high performers. This goes counter to the conventional wisdom of never changing a company "for the people." But smart leaders and coaches know that their "A" players will contribute far more if given an assignment that takes advantage of their strengths than if forced to work within the constraints of what the job is "supposed" to be. By playing to strengths, great leaders accelerate performance and create loyal employee advocates willing to give more discretionary effort.  
  3. Great managers value the quality of talent rather than the stability of talent.  Great managers understand that high performers thrive best when working at a fast pace with other high performers in a way that provides new challenges in the areas that they love. They also understand that top talent often moves on to take advantage of outside promotions and opportunities. Great leaders don't try to impede the progress of their protégés. Instead, similar to college sport's coaches who must recruit new talent each year as their players graduate, great managers focus on what is best for their people (internally or externally) while constantly looking for fresh new talent.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned