Value-Added Management

November 30, 2006

I like to think that I do a fair job as a manager. In fact, I like to think that I do better than a fair job, but I’m not sure that is always true. I am a firm believer in servant leadership (Robert Greenleaf) and its principles. However I do find at times that I fall into a slump. I’ve been in one of those the last couple of weeks. I’m getting work completed, I’m meeting the expectations of my Dean, but I’m not moving beyond that level. I’ve not been a servant leader – at least not to the level that I believe I should. As I was pondering this yesterday the term value-added came right to the forefront. I asked myself, “What can I do today that will be value-added for one of my colleagues?” It didn’t take me very long to figure out two or three things to do. I wanted to work on them right away when I got to work, but first had to complete required tasks – such as teaching a course. Then of course there were students to meet with, lunch with a colleague, and faculty to talk with, and oh yes, an hour with the Dean. I found time, however, to get two projects including three tasks off my desk that were value-added. I felt pretty darn good about that! However, I did miss a couple of tasks that I needed to do. They weren’t high priority tasks and I was able to put them off until today.

What does all of this mean – this value-added stuff? For me it means that each day I need to do something for someone else that will make their job easier. Maybe it will be a kind word. Like yesterday, it might be completing tedious paperwork, it may involve facilitating someone else’s success. The bottom line is to serve others in a way that makes them successful, efficient, effective, feeling good, or any number of other things. The value-added comes in my good feelings of accomplishment and support of others. In the end, isn’t management in great part about helping others to be successful? The answer is a resounding yes!

Did it get me out of doldrums? Yes it did because I was no longer thinking about myself, but about others.

Postscript – I realized today that value-added can also include doing something for me that allows me to be successful – that I may not have done last week.

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