Managing the essentials – your 10 starters for 10

New to management? It’s a big step, right? Not always in terms of money and recompense, nor necessarily respect. But responsibilities? From non-manager to manager is one of the biggest changes you can make.

And it can be fun. Look at all the possibilities and opportunities you have! Between you and the top of the corporate tree lies only time and effort… well, in theory. But in the meantime, if you’re thinking of building a career in management, remember that you’re just at the foundation-laying stage. And unless you want a career like the Tower of Pisa, you need those foundations to be solid.

Here are your 10 ‘starters for 10’, the basics that you need under your belt, the management essentials…

  1. Understand the role – More than just being able to recite a list of management duties and responsibilities, you need to understand what impact a manager has. Start with the obvious and think about your own managers, past and present. Which ones were great? What made them so? What response did they get from the people they manage? How can you be similarly great, in your own way?
  2. Lead the team – Yes, there’s a difference between management and leadership and maybe your role right now is that of manager, but if you have a team, even just a couple of people, they look to you for direction. And not just to dish out the day’s jobs but to put those jobs in a broader context.
  3. Agree expectations – Smart managers use SMART objectives to direct, manage and monitor their teams. A SMART objective (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound) makes people’s working lives easier by clarifying exactly what they need to do, when by, and why.
  4. Manage performance – A core management responsibility (possibly the core) is ensuring that your team’s responsibilities are fulfilled, i.e. that the work gets done. Understand the nature of the work and the capabilities of your team. Ensure that the latter is up to the former. Communicate and agree expectations. And monitor progress.
  5. Give feedback – Monitoring includes letting your people know how they’re doing (it’s effective, it’s motivational, really, it’s just good manners. Practise and use a feedback model such as BIF-S (behaviour, impact, future – share) to give powerful, encouraging, developmental feedback on performance.
  6. Support and coach – Businesses change, people change, standards change… learning is an everyday part of working life and formal methods, such as training courses, are not always the right way to do it. Modern managers are coaches to their teams – not there to ‘know everything’ but to help your team know what they need to know.
  7. Motivate – Not everyone is a self-starter, at least not 24/7. Your role includes encouraging your people, finding out ‘what’s in it for them’ and motivating them to perform the best they can – encourage, inspire, cheerlead… when your people do a great job, they should hear it from you.
  8. Delegate – Not everything you do as a manager can be delegated, but lots can. Your job is to know the difference, and then how to delegate the right stuff to the right people with the right support to enable them to achieve the right result.
  9. Resolve conflict – The workplace isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. People being people, they will disagree, fall out, even hold longstanding grudges. Yes, there are formal, investigatory procedures, and less formal mediation approaches, but the first intervention in a workplace conflict is often the line manager.
  10. Be bespoke – Finally, no ‘sheep-dipping’. Management is about flexibility and as you surely know, people are individuals. And as such, you have to take your essential, generic management skills and learn how to apply them differently, according to the individual and what will get the best response from them.

They say the most common reason for leaving a job is dissatisfaction with one’s manager. If you don’t want to be someone’s reason for leaving then focus on the above list of management foundations. If you want to explore further, check out our management essentials workshops or book onto our free webinar session on this topic on 5 November. Alternatively, give us a call on 01582 463460 – we’re always here to help.

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