17th November 2022

How to Manage Your Manager (?!)

My 3 interesting things for you this month…

1. Managing you manager

I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about being a great manager. A bit of a pivot this month: let’s flip it around. Managing your manager is also a critical skill.

People often ask me what started my coaching journey. Well, the sliding doors moment for me was when I spoke to our HR person about my boss’ challenges.

His advice; “You know how to coach Oli, you should coach them.” So I did. They were 3 levels ahead of me at the time – but no one else was willing to lean into that challenge. It made a big difference to our relationship – and made a dent on their issues too.

I like this article on the topic – although I think it’s a bit naive. It assumes as a baseline that most managers are great, and often this isn’t the case. I would frame a few things differently.

1) Help them help you – make them aware of issues, but give them options to help decide on the solution. It’s easier to edit than create. So give them some ideas to get them going – even if they say they’re all no good, you learn something and it’s a better starting point for them.

2) Make prioritising easier for them – especially when they’re overwhelmed. Give them a clear framework of what’s happening so they can decide which order they want you to do it all in. You’ll need a list of the items, how long each will take, and your current estimate of their ranked importance.

3) Help them consume information easily – go with a maximum of 3 issues. Drop them a note the night before with what they will be, frame them at the start of the meeting (succinctly) and be clear about what outcomes you need (for example help deciding on priorities, help with unblocking, some extra ideas on a challenge).

2. Thinking about the future of the world

I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last month thinking about ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).

It’s a set of standards measuring a business’s impact on society, the environment, and how transparent and accountable it is. It’s become ever-important within finance teams with the rise of social value. In fact, PwC’s 2021 Global Investor Survey found that around 50% of investors said they would consider divesting from companies that weren’t taking adequate action on ESG issues.

Businesses will start to lean on finance teams more and more for building investor-trusted and audit-ready reports that are used to show stakeholders not just what your ESG goals are, but how you’ll achieve them.

ESG will be critical in the future of finance, as we will ultimately be the custodians of measuring what matters.

A number of my clients want to get more involved in the space. I’ve also been working with a number of people engaged in ESG currently.

Something a bit different here: today I’d like to ask for your thoughts. What are you finding interesting or helpful in the ESG space? What questions do you have? What support are you looking for?

Let me know on social media, or by dropping me an email.

I hope over the coming months to give more useful insights and tools on this topic.

3. PowerBI Adoption

I appreciate this one is a bit of a stretch today for ‘interesting things’ (!) but maybe file this under ‘important things for the future’.

We’ve spoken quite a bit about how important PowerBI or other visualisation tools can be, but a big question at this stage for a lot of finance leaders and teams is – how do I think about bringing in a new tool, and what are the considerations?

I like this resource as it breaks down a lot of the important stages, including culture, governance and setting up a centre of excellence. Even if you’re not the one to think through this in your organisation, share this with someone who might be 🙂

Read more on encouraging your people to embrace Power BI.

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Oliver Deacon

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