Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Why Managing Sucks (and How to Fix It)

ARCHIVES
Listen to the story:

Download this episode | Subscribe on iTunes

The Excellence in Government Podcast features interviews with public and private sector thought leaders to offer rising feds tips for tackling government’s most pressing management challenges.

You’re here because you made a choice. You read the headline, synapses firing as you mulled it over, and then clicked...Maybe because you disagree: “Managing is great!” you say. “How could anybody say otherwise?" More likely, you read the headline, and thought one of two things: “YES, managing does suck” or, sad faced, “Yes…my manager sucks.” Either sound like you? If so, let’s get right to it: Why does managing suck and how can we fix it?

“The main reason is [managers] get caught in this trap of having to manage people’s time: they’re managing people instead of the work,” says Jody Thompson, coauthor of Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It and recent guest on the Excellence in Government Podcast. “When you get into a management position you feel good about it . . . but then you find out that you’ve become a hall monitor, that you’re watching everybody and that people aren’t happy and you don’t know how to make them happy.”

So how do you make managing less, well, sucky? Thompson says the secret is in a new way of managing your workforce: the Results Only Work Environment or ROWE.

ROWE to the Rescue

“A Results Only Work Environment gives people complete autonomy,” said Thompson. “They don’t ask permission of their manager on how or where they need to work.”

In a ROWE, managers and employees get clear about measurable results and employees are held accountable on whether or not they deliver those results. How they do it—from home, in a coffee shop, in the middle of the night or in their underwear—does. not. matter. In a ROWE, managers are mentors and coaches. The era of manager as hall monitor, says Thompson, is a holdover of the Industrial Age. It’s time the way we manage joins the Digital Age.

“People’s lives are at stake,” Thompson warns. “People are giving up their lives for things that don’t matter . . . we need to give people that thing they crave . . . the freedom to live their lives how they want to live them. Treat them like adults and hold them accountable to results.”

  • But how do you even begin to implement a ROWE?
  • What's the effect of a ROWE on workforce engagement?
  • How do managers avoid “innovating” themselves out of a job?
  • What are the common challenges faced in the early stages of a ROWE?
  • And how, as a federal manager, do you measure performance?

We tackle all those questions and more. Listen to the Excellence in Government Podcast and share your thoughts on ROWE in the comments below.

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.