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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When it comes to work, I’m your pretty typical ISTJ stereotype: work hard, reliable, great attention to details, follow protocol, etc. However, even though I’m stellar at all the back office work, how do I improve the skills needed to get to a higher position? I’m currently a team lead type of position but would like to advance to a director position. My manager said I need to work on my communication skills, and it’s not about what you know but how you deliver it. It’s a bit confusing and foreign to me, not something I can just read about and have a step by step guide of learning. At this point, I’m feeling a bit taken advantage of because I know I’m doing more work than my current position entails (I’ve been communicating with the client and internal team for three years), and I’m probably at 85% to the next promotion but not sure what to do to fill up the gap that is the remaining 15%. Any advice?
 

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I'm an ISTP in education. That means I've had to learn to communicate in an extrovert friendly style. I talk/say/share as many things that I do with those in charge lol. If I'm going to the restroom and another adult is in the room I say I'm going there. If I'm thinking of trying a new story I share that. You need to have quality face to face time with the decision makers. I'm not going to become admin one day, but it helps my current admin to see that I know my job and that they are in the loop. You need to keep your boss in the loop about the things you do and that takes time; so you'll produce less but be more effective at influencing the right people.
 

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When it comes to work, I’m your pretty typical ISTJ stereotype: work hard, reliable, great attention to details, follow protocol, etc. However, even though I’m stellar at all the back office work, how do I improve the skills needed to get to a higher position? I’m currently a team lead type of position but would like to advance to a director position. My manager said I need to work on my communication skills, and it’s not about what you know but how you deliver it. It’s a bit confusing and foreign to me, not something I can just read about and have a step by step guide of learning. At this point, I’m feeling a bit taken advantage of because I know I’m doing more work than my current position entails (I’ve been communicating with the client and internal team for three years), and I’m probably at 85% to the next promotion but not sure what to do to fill up the gap that is the remaining 15%. Any advice?
You might need to ask what that really means : " need to work on my communication skills".

Watching my ISTJ wife work, I suspect it's going to involve flexible delivery, empathy, and perspective taking. ISTJ's can be blunt, and come off as uncaring or cold (un-empathetic). They can seem to be focused on securing good data, and not on supporting the team. They are great at support in quantifiable measurable ways, but the "soft" supports are often lacking, and that absence is apparent to several other types. An ISTJ's skill lies unseen work. The emotional feeling stuff is completely glossed over as superfluous, and redundancies are avoided even when they may be useful to others. A good leader can balance it all (usually). I think this can all be learned, but it won't probably "feel" right. Keep in mind my opinion is based on a sample size of 1.

There is more, but it starts to get specific to the task and the group.
 

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Bunniculla said:
My manager said I need to work on my communication skills, and it’s not about what you know but how you deliver it.

It’s a bit confusing and foreign to me, not something I can just read about and have a step by step guide of learning.

Jan Gordon: Top 10 Qualities of an Excellent Manager

An excellent manager taps into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in others. An outstanding manager evokes possibility in others.

1. Creativity

Creativity is what separates competence from excellence. Creativity is the spark that propels projects forward and that captures peoples' attention. Creativity is the ingredient that pulls the different pieces together into a cohesive whole, adding zest and appeal in the process.

2. Structure

The context and structure we work within always have a set of parameters, limitations and guidelines. A stellar manager knows how to work within the structure and not let the structure impinge upon the process or the project. Know the structure intimately, so as to guide others to effectively work within the given parameters. Do this to expand beyond the boundaries.

3. Intuition

Intuition is the capacity of knowing without the use of rational processes; it's the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. People with keen insight are often able to sense what others are feeling and thinking; consequently, they're able to respond perfectly to another through their deeper understanding. The stronger one's intuition, the stronger manager one will be.

4. Knowledge

A thorough knowledge base is essential. The knowledge base must be so ingrained and integrated into their being that they become transparent, focusing on the employee and what s/he needs to learn, versus focusing on the knowledge base. The excellent manager lives from a knowledge base, without having to draw attention to it.

5. Commitment

A manager is committed to the success of the project and of all team members. S/he holds the vision for the collective team and moves the team closer to the end result. It's the manager's commitment that pulls the team forward during trying times.

6. Being Human

Employees value leaders who are human and who don't hide behind their authority. The best leaders are those who aren't afraid to be themselves. Managers who respect and connect with others on a human level inspire great loyalty.

7. Versatility

Flexibility and versatility are valuable qualities in a manager. Beneath the flexibility and versatility is an ability to be both non-reactive and not attached to how things have to be. Versatility implies an openness - this openness allows the leader to quickly change on a dime when necessary. Flexibility and versatility are the pathways to speedy responsiveness.

8. Lightness

A stellar manager doesn't just produce outstanding results; s/he has fun in the process! Lightness doesn't impede results but rather, helps to move the team forward. Lightness complements the seriousness of the task at hand as well as the resolve of the team, therefore contributing to strong team results and retention.

9. Discipline/Focus

Discipline is the ability to choose and live from what one pays attention to. Discipline as self-mastery can be exhilarating! Role model the ability to live from your intention consistently and you'll role model an important leadership quality.

10. Big Picture, Small Actions

Excellent managers see the big picture concurrent with managing the details. Small actions lead to the big picture; the excellent manager is skilful at doing both: think big while also paying attention to the details.

(Source)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jan Gordon: Top 10 Qualities of an Excellent Manager

An excellent manager taps into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in others. An outstanding manager evokes possibility in others.

 
1. Creativity

Creativity is what separates competence from excellence. Creativity is the spark that propels projects forward and that captures peoples' attention. Creativity is the ingredient that pulls the different pieces together into a cohesive whole, adding zest and appeal in the process.

2. Structure

The context and structure we work within always have a set of parameters, limitations and guidelines. A stellar manager knows how to work within the structure and not let the structure impinge upon the process or the project. Know the structure intimately, so as to guide others to effectively work within the given parameters. Do this to expand beyond the boundaries.

3. Intuition

Intuition is the capacity of knowing without the use of rational processes; it's the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. People with keen insight are often able to sense what others are feeling and thinking; consequently, they're able to respond perfectly to another through their deeper understanding. The stronger one's intuition, the stronger manager one will be.

4. Knowledge

A thorough knowledge base is essential. The knowledge base must be so ingrained and integrated into their being that they become transparent, focusing on the employee and what s/he needs to learn, versus focusing on the knowledge base. The excellent manager lives from a knowledge base, without having to draw attention to it.

5. Commitment

A manager is committed to the success of the project and of all team members. S/he holds the vision for the collective team and moves the team closer to the end result. It's the manager's commitment that pulls the team forward during trying times.

6. Being Human

Employees value leaders who are human and who don't hide behind their authority. The best leaders are those who aren't afraid to be themselves. Managers who respect and connect with others on a human level inspire great loyalty.

7. Versatility

Flexibility and versatility are valuable qualities in a manager. Beneath the flexibility and versatility is an ability to be both non-reactive and not attached to how things have to be. Versatility implies an openness - this openness allows the leader to quickly change on a dime when necessary. Flexibility and versatility are the pathways to speedy responsiveness.

8. Lightness

A stellar manager doesn't just produce outstanding results; s/he has fun in the process! Lightness doesn't impede results but rather, helps to move the team forward. Lightness complements the seriousness of the task at hand as well as the resolve of the team, therefore contributing to strong team results and retention.

9. Discipline/Focus

Discipline is the ability to choose and live from what one pays attention to. Discipline as self-mastery can be exhilarating! Role model the ability to live from your intention consistently and you'll role model an important leadership quality.

10. Big Picture, Small Actions

Excellent managers see the big picture concurrent with managing the details. Small actions lead to the big picture; the excellent manager is skilful at doing both: think big while also paying attention to the details.

(Source)
 



These are all good skill sets to have and improve on for a managerial position. I currently am either good or almost there at all of them EXCEPT (and it's a big except) Intuition. That's not something I can just pull out of my ass lol. I feel like that's something that naturally comes from within, although I supposed you could practice to a point where you can notice enough patterns to mimic it. I'm having sort of a tough time with this and similar kinds of skill sets, where you just know what to do even though you don't actually have any solid evidence that it will work. I can only learn through trial and error, sometimes I succeed at picking up the correct clues and sometimes I fail, but then I remember and apply the solution to similar, future situations. However, I think that puts me a step behind a truly intuitive person, although pretty sure they also go through a trial and error process as well (I mean they're not psychics after-all).
 

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Describe the management position you are looking at:
What is the quantity of direct reports/subordinates
What proportion of employee work is hard to measure
What proportion of results are affected by voluntary effort or flexibility.
What are common types of scenarios that have been observed, which rely on communication skills (employee no show, health complaint, safety issue raised, requests for additional hours, unperfected process improvement suggestion, employee conflict (he said/she said gossip), concerns wage not commensurate with role, employee growth plan difficult to implement (causing poor succession planning / turnover / perception that voluntary effort will not be rewarded (including willingness to highlight provide feedback or train others)).
Try to spot them, or their symptoms, use a pocket notebook if needed, then reflect later on cause and outcome.
 
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In addition to what you have to do in your current post, start doing most of the things that the manager's role is about. To get a promotion you have to be doing (and be seen to be doing) the next level's job. Some people think that "it's not their job to do X, that's my manager's job, that what he/she gets paid for". Those people never make it to promotion and when they do, they don't last long.

Perform to the next level. Let yourself be seen as you perform to the next level (make it known, talk about it, but NEVER in negative terms, ie. do not complain about it). And you will get the promotion to that level.
 

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To me, the two most important components of management seem to be:

Effective communication: Understanding who needs to know what, when, and delivering that information in an efficient manner. Being realistic about obstacles but positive about seizing opportunity.

Effective delegation: In a people management situation, understanding what others' strengths are, and using that knowledge to assign them tasks that will use and/or build onto their existing talents and skills. Subtly redirecting people when needed. Occasionally more blatantly redirecting people when needed. In a systems or product management situation, knowing the infrastructure/process and what needs to be done to keep things running smoothly. In both situations, not dwelling when/where it's not useful. Prioritizing and re-prioritizing constantly.

These are all good skill sets to have and improve on for a managerial position. I currently am either good or almost there at all of them EXCEPT (and it's a big except) Intuition. That's not something I can just pull out of my ass lol. I feel like that's something that naturally comes from within, although I supposed you could practice to a point where you can notice enough patterns to mimic it. I'm having sort of a tough time with this and similar kinds of skill sets, where you just know what to do even though you don't actually have any solid evidence that it will work.
I don't think you really need much intuition, not MBTI-style intuition, at least.

I've had a number of S managers through my career and sometimes they're much better than Ns because they are more realistic and down-to-earth. Ns are sometimes particularly difficult to access, which IMO is a hindering trait in a manager. I am fairly certain my current manager is an ESTJ, and she is incredibly thorough, which is a huge asset to our team. She also had an enormous memory bank of detailed knowledge and much related experience that she draws on - definitely a lifesaver for my ENFJ coworker and I. (I believe my other coworker is an ISTP - he's whip-smart but doesn't currently strike me as management material because he's almost constantly negative and is not an effective communicator - he tends to grossly underestimate what people need to know.)

When I was in my last management role, I looked to the Ss on my team to provide me with their S strengths; you can do the inverse as an S manager. There is probably an N on your team who would love to worry less about the details and protocol you excel at while providing you with their outside-the-box perspective. You could consider asking them for a weekly broad-level writeup of issues affecting your team, for example, to let them flex their N in a manner useful to you.

Anyway, you asked how to gain your 15% - go for 35%. The huge advantage you have as an S here is - if I'm understanding correctly - that you're looking to move up in-house - within the same organization to a position you're already reasonably familiar with. So you don't actually seem to have a particular need for the unusual-to-unusual cross-connecting that is N's forte. I absolutely agree with Messenian that you want to demonstrate your ability to do your higher-up's job. Whatever it is that they do that you can't do currently - that's what you need to work on, and quite usefully, you have a very clear example right in front of you. Take advantage of your manager's feedback... ask them what you did right and what you can do better next time.

Bunniculla said:
I can only learn through trial and error, sometimes I succeed at picking up the correct clues and sometimes I fail, but then I remember and apply the solution to similar, future situations. However, I think that puts me a step behind a truly intuitive person, although pretty sure they also go through a trial and error process as well (I mean they're not psychics after-all).
The difference between us and you is that you actually remember what worked the last time around.
:laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I noticed one thing everybody is touching upon is confidence. Funny because my manager literally told me she would like for me to improve my confidence level. My other manager broke it down for me by saying that she understands that I would most likely be able to do that through experience. That makes sense to me. It's not easy to be confident in something where you don't really know much about and don't know what's going to happen. I'm pretty confident in areas that I know inside and out, because I can speak with certainty and feel like others can rely on me to deliver. Thanks for the advice and tips guys, it really is great advice. Very eye opening to see many, many similarities in the various posts, it proves some things do work :) Also good to see the perspective of N types and their take on what a good manager is like.
 

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When it comes to work, I’m your pretty typical ISTJ stereotype: work hard, reliable, great attention to details, follow protocol, etc. However, even though I’m stellar at all the back office work, how do I improve the skills needed to get to a higher position? I’m currently a team lead type of position but would like to advance to a director position. My manager said I need to work on my communication skills, and it’s not about what you know but how you deliver it. It’s a bit confusing and foreign to me, not something I can just read about and have a step by step guide of learning. At this point, I’m feeling a bit taken advantage of because I know I’m doing more work than my current position entails (I’ve been communicating with the client and internal team for three years), and I’m probably at 85% to the next promotion but not sure what to do to fill up the gap that is the remaining 15%. Any advice?
It's not what you know as much as who you know....
 

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I think a lot of it is asking for what you want

Go to the person in charge submit your resume say your goals and ask them what you can do to improve your odds of getting to the next step.

Taking initiative
Be a problem solver not a problem pointer
(But don’t be afraid to rock the boat over a major problem)

I agree with the creativity suggestion
 

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When it comes to work, I’m your pretty typical ISTJ stereotype: work hard, reliable, great attention to details, follow protocol, etc. However, even though I’m stellar at all the back office work, how do I improve the skills needed to get to a higher position? I’m currently a team lead type of position but would like to advance to a director position. My manager said I need to work on my communication skills, and it’s not about what you know but how you deliver it. It’s a bit confusing and foreign to me, not something I can just read about and have a step by step guide of learning. At this point, I’m feeling a bit taken advantage of because I know I’m doing more work than my current position entails (I’ve been communicating with the client and internal team for three years), and I’m probably at 85% to the next promotion but not sure what to do to fill up the gap that is the remaining 15%. Any advice?
Easiest way to advance to a higher position is to leave in order to gain more experience. If you want to stay and your manager wants you to improve your communication skills, maybe observe your work environment to see the traits that he/she is looking for. ISTJs can overextend themselves because they want to get the job done so keep that in mind if you feel that you are doing more work than your position. People tend to like small talk and a friendly and positive attitude. Think of it as establishing future connections. You can't do that by just getting your job done alone or think of it as something that's just part of the job.
 

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How to be a manager in retail:

Step 1: Suppress ALL independent thought. Follow all rules, even ones you think make no sense, unquestioningly and uncomplainingly, and make sure everyone around you does the same.
Step 2: Make friends with those in a position to promote you.
Step 3: Train yourself to pay attention to all details. No detail is too small.
Step 4: Don't be lazy, but delegate as many tasks as possible to other people, while still having work for yourself.
Step 5: Perform all tasks asked of you in a punctual matter. Be a quality worker, but don't be so high quality you are indespensible. Everything you do, motivate and train others to do the same, and make upper management realize what a good trainer and delegater you are.
 
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