How to be a Great Manager

                               By Chelse Benham

“The manager is the life-giving element in eve...
In fact, the characteristics that you may have shown such as initiative, drive and
creative problem solving may be more ef...
management isn’t. “The 22 Biggest Mistakes Managers Make And How To
Correct Them” by James K. Van Fleet illustrates this p...
Not delegating enough: Good managers don't do all the work
themselves. They get the work done. A manager's role is to set ...
skills. A manager is merely the glue that binds them together. As a
       manager, you should tap into and take advantage...
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How to be a great manager


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How to be a great manager

  1. 1. How to be a Great Manager By Chelse Benham “The manager is the life-giving element in every business. Without his leadership the resources of production remain resources and never become production.” – Peter Ferdinand Drucker, internationally acclaimed management expert Managers provide a crucial level of organization to an organization. They must see to it that their divisions, departments or areas of responsibility perform optimally and uphold the vision of the company. Surprising however, are the number of “green” managers that are put into positions with little or no supervising skills and training. “One simple definition of ‘management’ is ‘Accomplishing things through the efforts of other people in organizations.’ Fulfilling this definition includes characteristics of both administrative managers and leaders. Promotion to positions of responsibility in organizations should be built on assessment of a person's skills as a manager and as a leader,” said Dr. David Sturges, chair and associate professor in the Management, Marketing and International Business Program at The University of Texas-Pan American. Furthermore, Sturges identifies good managers as having the following key characteristics: • detail oriented • effective problem solving skills • proactive planning skills • patience • excellent communication skills (written and oral) • the ability to organize effectively and efficiently • loyalty to the organization • conformance to organizational culture (formal and informal) It is reasonable to move a person into a managerial position because they have shown great initiative and exceeded expectations in their previous position. That is one way a person moves “up the ranks” within companies to make it into top level administration. However, managing people is a task worth training for. If you have been promoted to a manager position, it is not shrewd to assume that because you did well managing yourself that you are naturally going to do well handling the temperaments, dynamics and pressures that go along with managing others.
  2. 2. In fact, the characteristics that you may have shown such as initiative, drive and creative problem solving may be more effective as a leader than as a manager and the two aren’t necessarily interchangeable. According to the Web site Small Business Administration (SBA) Women’s Business Center in an article titled, “Leading vs. Managing – They're Two Different Animals,” managing and leading have vastly different qualities from one another. Managers - see themselves as conservators and regulators of an existing order of affairs with which they personally identify and from which they gain rewards; report that their role harmonizes with their ideals of responsibility and duty; perpetuate and strengthen existing institutions; display a life development process which focuses on socialization...this socialization process prepares them to guide institutions and to maintain the existing balance of social relations. Leaders - report that their "sense of self" is derived from a feeling of profound separateness; may work in organizations, but they never belong to them; report that their sense of self is independent of work roles, memberships, or other social indicators of social identity; seek opportunities for change (i.e. technological, political, or ideological); support change; find their purpose is to profoundly alter human, economic, and political relationships; display a life development process which focuses on personal mastery...this process impels them to struggle for psychological and social change. Currently, there is on-going great debate about the differences between managers and leaders. It is sensible to look at people having qualities of both manager and leader with an emphasis on one over the other. It is not always easy to split people into two separate categories in a “black and white” scenario. In “Leadership In Organizations Fifth Edition” by Gary Yukl, management is identified by its core processes. According to J.P. Kotter, a management scientist quoted in the book, managers seek to produce predictability and order by: • setting operational goals, • establishing action plans with timetables, • allocating resources, • organizing and assigning people to jobs, • monitoring results and • problem solving. The question then has to be asked, what makes a great manager? Perhaps, looking at the mistakes that managers make will help define what good
  3. 3. management isn’t. “The 22 Biggest Mistakes Managers Make And How To Correct Them” by James K. Van Fleet illustrates this point. Fleet identifies some of the problems in the following list: • using your management position for personal gain • wasting time on details or work that belongs to others • refusing to take responsibility for your actions • failure to make timely decisions • failing to make sure the job is understood, supervised and accomplished • failure to tell the truth • failure to keep your word • failing to give cooperation to your employees • failing to ask your subordinates for their advice and help • failing to develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates • failing to keep your criticism constructive • failure to keep your people informed Gerard M. Blair, senior lecturer at The University of Edinburgh, Scotland and the author of “Starting to Manage: the Essential Skills,” identifies important areas of management. In his article, “What Makes a Great Manager,” at Blair argues the point that a manager has three major roles to play: Planner – A manager has to take a long-term view. By thinking about the eventual consequences of different plans, the manager selects the optimal plan for the team and implements it. • a manger needs to decide where the team is headed • a manager has to communicate that vision to them Provider – The manager has access to information and materials which the team needs. Often he/she has the authority or influence to acquire things which no one else in the team could. The manager must exercise this to help the team work. Protector –The manager should be there to protect the team. If a new project emerges which is to be given to the team, the manager is responsible for costing it (especially in terms of time) so that the team is not given an impossible deadline. If someone on the team brings forward a good plan, the manager must ensure that it receives a fair hearing and that the team knows and understands the outcome. There are major management mistakes that should be avoided and can be found at A few are listed here:
  4. 4. Not delegating enough: Good managers don't do all the work themselves. They get the work done. A manager's role is to set goals, motivate people and manage performance. If you, as a manager, get involved in the minutia of execution, you are likely to lose sight of the big picture. Besides, if you don't pass on responsibility down the ladder, how are you going to build a second line of leadership? Managing by fear: Tyrants don't make good managers. Managers should lead by example and inspire by the quality of their leadership and skills. Managers should realize that they are not above the team, but a part of it. If your team fears you, it is unlikely that they will perform to their full potential. You should ensure that your team works with you not for you, and most importantly not against you. To bring out the best in people, you should listen to them, recognize and appreciate their efforts, and reward them when appropriate. Getting overly-friendly: Tossing fear out of the equation does not mean that you swing to the other extreme. Reward the performers and punish the slackers. If you coddle people, some of them may take you for granted. It pays to be approachable and accessible, but don't overdo the friendliness to such an extent that your team mistakes it for a weakness. It is important to be liked, but it is even more important to be respected. Handing out equal rewards to all: All of us are not made equal. Every team will have its share of performers and laggards. If you reward them equally, you are doing both an injustice. The performers have no incentive to keep doing outstanding work, and the laggards have no incentive to improve their performance. Reward has to be commensurate with performance. Not paying enough attention to training your team: Many managers make the mistake of not paying enough attention to human resource development. If you want to build a great team, you have to train them to be so. Exceptionally gifted people may be able to learn on their own with a little exposure. For the rest of us, training is a great way to develop our skills and learn the ropes. Also don't treat training as merely an induction exercise. Make sure your team members are constantly exposed to training programs. Not implementing systems and processes: If you don't put proper systems and processes in place chaos will rule. Managers need to clearly define roles and responsibilities. They must map out the workflow. Not asking team-mates for advice and help: Managers are not know-all geniuses. Teams are made up of people who have different abilities and
  5. 5. skills. A manager is merely the glue that binds them together. As a manager, you should tap into and take advantage of the pool of talent you have. Don't fear a loss of face if you have to ask a team member for advice or help. Striving to become a great manager is worth all the attention that you pay it. Through training, vigilant awareness of your own behavior and good common sense you can become a great manager. Creating respect and loyalty among others is an ability that produces positive outcomes among all who interact with you up and down the chain of command. Take the time to develop your management style so upward mobility is the only direction your headed. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), American industrialist and philanthropist