Good management is integral to a successful business. It can be hard, but often very rewarding if approached with the right attitude. Everyone has a story about a bad manager, and there are some common themes amongst. They are often badly organized, quick-tempered or renege on their promises. However, most people also have a favorite manager. These are often even-handed, energized individuals who find ways to support their staff at every opportunity. The good news is that the virtues of good management are not hardwired personal attributes, but learned skills. Below, you will find four key areas that good managers constantly address.
Whilst some obscure gaps in knowledge are excusable, a glaring misunderstanding of business structure and offer can very quickly ruin a manager’s standing amongst junior employees.
There has been a long-standing tradition of promoting from within, which whilst displaying good employer loyalty, can be intimidating for a junior employee rising through the ranks. For these new managers, there is often a steep learning curve, but they will have a supportive team ready to help them on their way.
“As part of management training, new managers should seek a full and comprehensive understanding of the financial concepts of the business,” writes Samuel Walker, a contributor to Researchpapersuk and Last Minute Writing, “They may be set budgets or financial targets to manage, and these will often be the measures by which they should set their key performance indicators.” Sometimes an understanding of these goals and how they can be achieved will require a keenest to ask questions.
This is where an appropriate understanding of the company management chain will come in very handy. Each manager is answerable to someone higher in the chain than they are, and a new manager should always seek guidance from their line manager. But you should also be happy to be in contact with others in the executive team, including HR and accounting. As a junior employee, these can seem like shadowy intimidating figures, but when you move up into a management position, it’s important to be comfortable in contacting them.
Once you’ve achieved a good working knowledge of the ins and outs of your business, the main business of management can begin. Essentially, correct and clear communication is about 90% of management. Learning effective communication requires constant, unending effort.
As a manager, it is likely that you are going to have to engage not just in interpersonal, but also in written communication. It is a good idea to practice emails and messages. Writing with authority and professionalism is very different from informal communication and you should strive to maintain a straightforward but confident tone. Regularly proofread your emails, and avoid sending them off in a rush. It is surprising how often misunderstandings can happen through bad email writing, so ensure you communicate through email the same way you would in person – polite, clear and confident.
At times, managers are required to address groups of employees. This means that any shyness or self-consciousness you have over public speaking has to go. Plan what you are going to say to your employees carefully and anticipate questions that may arise. Rehearsing any public speaking is the key to fostering a confident, authoritative tone, with clear, specific outcomes.
Most of your communication will be on a one-to-one basis. If you aren’t having regular conversations with your staff, you should take this as a sign that something might be wrong. Often, you will have to be the one initiating a professional conversation, but it is also absolutely vital that you are prepared to listen. Actively listening to your direct reports can flag up issues or ideas that can be addressed quickly.
If you do need to give feedback, ensure it is specific and measurable. Remember that a manager is not a judge of character, but a supporter who seeks to get the best out of their employees.
A healthy workplace fosters an atmosphere of respect and value. The ‘bad manager’ stories often feature a manager who doesn’t understand the line between managing and lacking respect. Every employee has some value to offer, and this needs to be re-enforced at every available opportunity.
Additionally, both those senior and junior to you will ask you for assurances. It is vital that either avoid making a promise or that you fulfill it. This is one of the hardest things to learn, and some managers avoid making assurances at all – this too will foster a reputation for a lack of commitment. However, even if there are times you fail to deliver, showing the motivation and optimism to achieve the goals that have been set speaks volumes about your attitude.
This motivation and optimism is infectious and shows a willingness to engage your team in an energized and proactive way. Confidence doesn’t develop overnight, but by building your team with a positive attitude, you’ll find that you can draw confidence from them.
There is no avoiding the fact that as a manager you are going to come up against problems. Though your confidence to deal with these problems will naturally increase the longer you are in the post, failure to learn from each issue can be detrimental to your reputation.
It is, therefore, good practice to approach your work in an organized way. There are many ways to organize your workload, and you should seek whichever method suits you best. It is important to share your organizational efforts with your team. They’ll not only understand your methodology but also feel reassured that you take a proactive approach to solving problems.
“As a manager, it is your duty to recognize potential,” says Michele Cleveland a regular author at Draftbeyond and Writinity. ”You should feel no shame in offloading lower level responsibilities to your employees.”
Other problems, however, require a calm, sensible head. Resolving conflict can be very uncomfortable, but in a management position, it’s an important skill. If you find you do have to deal with potential conflict, maintain communication with your employees with a passive, calm attitude. If necessary, make use of your contacts in HR to resolve the issue.