When should you be a general manager versus a subject matter expert?

General Management ,Professional Development
June 25, 2012

We all have a few “real life” examples of when we were required to modulate our approach in certain situations between putting a general manager hat on versus your expert hat on. Hindsight is 20/20 and while we take it for granted, you can learn a ton from past mistakes. In the end, I believe that you should be yourself and focus on doing the right thing.

The scenario is this:

You work for a superb company, the company is filled with phenomenal individuals with a diverse set of cross-functional skills and experience. You’re presented with a situation that needs you to press the pause button on your domain expertise and years of experience to support a solution a key collective of individuals within the organization is advocating.

The right thing to do:

Easily said than done and always consider the short and long term implications of your behavior as well as actions. Show that you trust your key partners and empathize so that their ideas coupled with yours could be a much more powerful alternative to consider.  Key here is “empathy” and you’ll see you’ll elevate to the general manager approach and ultimately your colleagues will value your inputs.

Feel free to share your stories so that we can learn and be informed about how to improve our collective general management skills.

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