“The success of a manager is dependent on how he or she treats others and the quality of undivided attention that he or she gives to them.“- V.

As part of my interview to be an adjunct professor of management, I was asked to conduct a teaching demonstration to a group of college students.

In the days leading up to the demonstration, I remember wracking my brain over which topic I’d teach about. I could literally choose any topic under the sun, as long as it pertained to management. Why was the decision such a difficult one?

The reason why it was a difficult decision was because of the high expectations I placed for myself. I wanted to ensure that what I taught the students was meaningful, relevant, and memorable. I didn’t want my lesson to be just another business lecture. No, I wanted it to be more. I wanted it to be life changing.

Because I desired it to be life changing, I knew that I must contact the master of life changing experiences (God) for some help. After much prayer, He revealed to me what I should teach, and that was “The most important quality of highly effective managers.”

The only problem was, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what the most important quality was! After a bit of research, however, I found my answer (See Google’s 8 Habits of Highly Effective Managers study and DDI’s study of How Empathy Relates to Job Performance).

Subordinates want to feel like their managers are truly there for them…that their managers have time for them and are concerned about their individual feelings and needs!

To illustrate this important point, I handed a student a wrapped present at the beginning of the lesson. When it came time to reveal the most important quality, I had the student unwrap it.

Inside the student found a mirror.

As the student glanced into the mirror, I asked what she saw. She replied, “Myself.”

“Exactly,” I replied. “You see yourself. This signifies that the responsibility of being a highly effective manager is dependent on you!”

Next, I shifted the mirror a bit and asked the student the same question, “Now what do you see in the mirror?”

She replied, “My classmates.”

“Right again,” I interjected, “…and your classmates are behind you, aren’t they?” I asked.

The student confirmed that they were.

I explained to her that the classmates behind her represented her subordinates, or those who are literally behind her… those who rely on her to be a good manager and leader.

In essence, the lesson signified that in order to be a highly effective manager, one must take responsibility for becoming one. He must not only focus on himself, but on others as well. Only then will the function of management reach its fullest potential.

Perhaps the most important (and meaningful) way to become a highly effective manager is to be present with others. That is, to take time out of one’s day to truly get to know those he works with. Transactional interactions are not enough! One must demonstrate that he REALLY cares about those entrusted to him as a manager.