In business, we often seem to focus less on good management, and more on the glamorous and exciting work of leadership.
However, managers are responsible for making sure that things are done properly. And while leaders may bring us vision, inspiration and challenge, these things count for nothing without the efficient implementation brought about by good management.
To be a great manager, you must have an extensive set of skills – from planning and delegation to communication and motivation. Because the skill set is so wide, it’s tempting to build skills in the areas of management that you’re already comfortable with. But, for your long-term success, it’s wise to analyze your skills in all areas of management – and then to challenge yourself to improve in all of these areas.
Good management means understanding how teams operate. It’s worth remembering that teams usually follow a certain pattern of development: forming, norming, storming, and performing. It’s important to encourage and support people through this process, so that you can help your team become fully effective as quickly as possible.
When forming teams, managers must create a balance so that there’s a diverse set of skills, personalities, and perspectives. You may think it’s easier to manage a group of people who are likely to get along, but truly effective teams invite many viewpoints and use their differences to be creative and innovative.
Having the right people with the right skills isn’t sufficient for a team’s success. Managers must also know how to get the job done efficiently. Some managers, especially those who earned their positions based on their technical expertise, try to do most of the work themselves. They think that, because they’re responsible for the work, they should do it themselves to make sure it’s done right.
Effective managers recognize that by assigning work to the right people (not just those with the most time available), and clearly outlining expectations, teams can accomplish much more. But it’s often difficult to trust others to do the job. As a manager, remember that when your team members have the right skills, training and motivation, you can usually trust them to get the work done right.
Another necessary management skill is motivating others. It’s one thing to motivate yourself, but it’s quite another to motivate someone else. The key thing to remember is that motivation is personal. We’re all motivated by different things, and we all have different levels of personal motivation. So, getting to know your team members on a personal level allows you to motivate your people better. Providing feedback on a regular basis is a very powerful strategy to help you stay informed about what’s happening with individual team members.
Many managers are very comfortable with planning, problem solving and decision making, given that they’re often skilled specialists who’ve been promoted because of their knowledge and analytical abilities. As such, one of the most important issues that managers experience is that they focus so intensely on these skills when they think about self-development that they fail to develop their people skills and team management skills. Make sure that you don’t focus on these skills too much!