The Art of Management
A good manager is hard to find. Often managers are promoted because they are awesome, well respected employees. This is not always a bad idea, however someone being a good employee, or good at their job, doesn’t always mean they can effectively manage a team of people. Sometimes after being promoted, managers get lost in the glow of their fancy new title and let their egos lead them to the poor management abyss. Or it may just be that they simply had not gained enough managerial skills and experience to be able to be effective. A good manager will never stop training, planning, and learning—and a good manager must understand, and live by, a few general rules of management.
1) Management is a TEAM effort. It’s not all about the manager at center stage, merely assigning the blame and accepting the credit. A good manager knows this, and a good manager uses this knowledge to ensure that they have the best possible team behind them. If a member of the team isn’t up to par, a good manager either re-assigns the employee, or has to contend with letting them go. There is not much room for sympathy in the world of business—a good manager needs to be able to make the tough calls and get the wrong people off the team before it affects overall performance. While it is always hard to make such decisions, someone who doesn’t take their job seriously or simply is not able to perform can put strain on other members of the team, often bringing down the morale or turn away the rest of the team.
2) As a manager, you MUST lead by example. Just because you are now a “manager” doesn’t usually mean you stop doing your old job. More than likely you still have most of the responsibilities of your old job, with a few added responsibilities (and benefits). If you asked your employees to run through the mud, would they? Without a proper leader, they probably wouldn’t (unless this is part of their normal job description). However, if you, their manager, directed them to follow you through the mud, most would follow without question. You took the lead by not only assigning directives, but you also led the team through the task. This can work the opposite way as well. If you, as the manager, leave the office at 2:00 PM every day, would you expect your employees to continue working until 5:00 PM at full speed? You shouldn’t expect your team to work any harder than you do. If you demonstrate commitment and work hard and long, so will they.
3) It is YOUR job to make sure your team has the proper tools and resources. If your team doesn’t have what they need to accomplish a task, it won’t be done the right way in the right time frame. What’s worse is that the extra work required to complete the task with imperfect tools will not only waste the time and energy of your team, it will also de-motivate them. If you were handed a shovel and asked to sweep a driveway, you could probably figure out how to get the driveway swept, but it would probably take hours longer than it had to. Meanwhile, with the proper broom, you could have started your task without having to question anything, and you’d likely complete the task in a small fraction of the time it would have taken you using the shovel. Ideally you want tasks completed, as perfectly as possible, in the shortest amount of time possible—so invest in the right tools. It pays off in spades.
These simple rules can help everyone become a better manager—even if you only manage yourself ;)
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