Have you ever asked yourself what you would you like to achieve as a manager, not only a "project" manager, but a manager, a leader maybe? What would people say about you when you complete your current role at work? What will they say about your management and about your sub-ordinates? As managers, we are required to define goals, manage tasks, manage projects, develop employees and teams, communicate, and of course make decisions. We act in the context of past experience, vision and organizational values and these are embedded in our daily work routine. What actions will you cast into your role? What footprint can you leave behind? People might forget your project, but they will long remember your project management. It is called legacy, or managerial mark.
Our managerial mark is expressed in two ways: (1) In decision making - the difference between a "robotic management" (by let's say algorithms or process flow) as opposed to a more "soft" emotional and intuitional human management; and (2) Our own management style, as opposed to someone else's, given the same conditions. Each of us has aunique managing and cooperative style, personal values and so on. Each of us colours our environment differently, leading the team in/to different directions. So, what differentiates your management style from others? What "personal touch" do you have? What values do you bring with you to your management? What changes are the most important for you to perform? Why? It is your managerial mark.
It feeds from our past, present and future:
It finds expression in some areas: In the organisational level - For instance, the team that you've joined/managed will not be the same team anymore when you leave it… whether we like it or not, we leave a mark (small, big, bad or good, shallow, deep, long lasting or not). In the personal level – our subordinates, colleagues and managers – with all we establish some personal interface and relationships. Some of them even may become our friends for life. Will something in them change as a result of their involvement with us? What do they learn from us? What feelings are they left with?
Our managerial mark should be in alignment with the organisational vision. Conflicts between managers and the organisational vision are challenging. They might be destructive, either for the organisation or the manager personally. For instance, when a manger believes that his team members' welfare is above all and the organisation dictates differently (or vice versa), a true problem with getting the right systematic decisions will evolve.
Forging your managerial mark requires a high level of self-awareness. Managers should know themselves and their team for being able to forge their own managerial mark: What are your weaknesses and strengths? What drives you? What values characterise you? What are the challenges facing you and the team? What will be the top success position of the team? Of you?
Conclusion: we can better manage our managerial mark! It is recommended to get assistance from a consultant, coacher, mentor, friend, sponsor, direct manager or anyone else. Another person will assist by reflecting reality and providing you with tools to get the answers to relevant questions. There is no "right" or "wrong". It is personal!
Ask yourself periodically – what would you like to leave behind you? What you like to take with you? What could be your managerial mark? Then, explore your answers; look for inspiration while getting there – step-by-step. And hey, don’t forget to play it forward and make it happen!
Inspired by my friend Michael Szwarc, who never stops asking himself and others…