Leadership and managing people
The team should not have irreplaceable people
This is not just about you, it’s about everyone. Sure, maybe someone is better at certain tasks, so there is a temptation to give these tasks to him. But this is a dangerous path. Anything can happen to people. For example, once my main system administrator was hit by a car. We had instructions and access, but suddenly we didn’t have a person who could properly do the work. It took our smartest guys half a year to understand what to do and how it needs to be done.
Therefore, try to rotate tasks. Yes, one may be slower and worse at this task than the other, but now one more employee will understand how to complete that task and can try something new — a double benefit.
In the same way, find a person who could perform your function too: Entrust them with part of your tasks and teach them. Your replacement must always be ready. It has saved me many times.
11 Tips for Becoming a Better Manager
Process refers to the specific actions and workflows your personnel and organization undertake to reach their goals. By managing process, it’s possible to identify inefficiencies and address them so your staff can work in a more efficient, productive, and profitable way. Incorporating the tips below can help you better manage and leverage processes within your organization:
1. Practice consistency. Following set processes for certain tasks within your organization can yield positive results. Optimized processes allow for repeatability and efficiency, amongst other benefits. But to realize these benefits, you and your staff must be consistent in following these processes. Do your part to ensure everyone on your team understands the processes they should follow. Beyond this, it’s helpful to explain why the processes should be followed and how abiding by them will lead to positive outcomes.
2. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments. One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is following a process for process’s sake. “ We’ve always done it that way ” is not a sufficient justification for any business process. While a particular process or workflow may have made sense at one time, that doesn’t mean it will always make sense. Give yourself the flexibility to adjust processes as necessary, and empower your staff to come to you if they feel burdened by overly complicated workflows.
3. Look for opportunities to innovate. Sometimes, one innovation can mean the difference between a profitable company and an industry leader. While product innovation often gets the bulk of the attention in conversation, process innovation can be incredibly valuable to an organization as well.
To be an effective manager, you need to understand how to manage people, including direct reports, team members, outside contractors, or even superiors. Consider the following tips to improve your abilities in managing people:
4. Embrace leadership principles. Although the terms “leadership” and “management” are often used interchangeably, they have very different meanings . The truth is that not all managers are leaders. Developing your leadership skills can help you inspire others to follow your lead.
5. Stay flexible. When you are responsible for overseeing a large number of employees or tasks, you might be tempted to follow a very prescriptive format. While there are benefits to having a set of policies and standard operating procedures, it’s also to maintain enough flexibility to counteract the occasional surprise that is bound to arise from time to time. Similarly, avoid micromanaging your team any more than you have to, as this can negatively impact morale and productivity.
6. Learn how to motivate your team. A motivated team is an engaged and productive team. By learning how you can keep your team motivated , you can directly impact your progress towards key goals and initiatives.
7. Manage up. It’s understandable to think that management is all about managing down the organizational chart. But it is just as important to realize that you can manage up the organizational chart as well. Doing so will help you build a meaningful relationship with your own manager, allowing you to better align with their goals and expectations.
It isn’t uncommon for superiors, especially those who are far removed from the day-to-day activities of a team or department, to come to the table with expectations for a project or initiative that simply are not feasible. When this happens, it’s your job as a manager to educate your bosses on what is possible given the existing circumstances and the desired outcome. This will enable them to either adjust their expectations or give them the opportunity to provide you with additional resources that you can leverage to reach those lofty goals. Consider the following advice to become better skilled at managing the expectations of everyone on your team:
8. Become more data-driven. If you’re tasked with a new initiative, your first step should be to determine the metrics that the project is expected to impact. Once you have identified these key performance indicators (KPIs), you can leverage data to benchmark your current state and determine realistic goals and timeframes. Without this data, it will be difficult to understand what is manageable and what might be an overly aggressive goal.
9. Focus on alignment. A key part of managing your team is to ensure that they understand how their jobs and actions directly align with business goals. Knowing how and why what they do matters to the company as a whole helps to create a sense of shared responsibility, and can improve employee engagement in significant ways. Transparency with your team about goals also helps workers understand that targets are not arbitrarily chosen.
How to Get There
Real, hands-on experience in the workplace is a critical piece of becoming an effective manager, as on-the-job training and time spent in a managerial position will allow you to slowly earn the experience you will need to be a successful manager.
But gaining such experience takes time. Many individuals who join a company in an entry-level position with the goal of becoming a manager can spend years or even decades in their current role before they have learned enough and developed their skills to the point that they can effectively manage others.
If you don’t have years or decades to wait, earning a relevant degree such as a bachelor’s degree in management can help you jumpstart your career and break into a management or leadership position earlier in your career. And for individuals who are already in a management position, earning a degree can reap many additional benefits. In addition to teaching you valuable skills that can help you become a more effective manager, earning a degree can also make it easier to transfer to a new organization or business if you ever decide that you want to make a change, which can be difficult without the appropriate credentials.