Management Secrets Part I
1 Manage yourself
1.1 Be a role model manager
1.2 Be the real thing
1.3 Look like you mean it
1.4 Go on – assert yourself!
1.5 Make time to manage
“Great managers anticipate and prepare while others merely react and repair”.
• MANAGE YOURSLEF. You’ve got to have a clear sense of who you are before you manage others. Personal credibility is a big factor in a manager’s success.
• EMPOWER YOUR PEOPLE. People can be powerful – but only when the right management behaviors enable them to tap into that power. How you prepare for crucial interactions with others will determine your success.
• MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. A manager gets things done. Getting things done means applying the right tools and techniques that make sure the right things get done.
• COMMUNICATE IN ALL DIRECTIONS. Many don’t realize just how much skill a talented manager uses when they communicate. Not just to the team, but every key person they interact with.
• RECRUIT THE VERY BEST. You want a great candidate to say ‘yes’ to your job offer. A systematic approach to recruitment makes this a reality.
• BUILD A GREAT TEAM. Great teams don’t happen by chance. A manager works carefully on the composition, skills and motivation of their employees. And they also turn team meetings into events that people look forward to.
• TREAT THE BUDGET WITH RESPECT. Whether you’ve a budget or not, you will make crucial decisions that affect it. Understanding something of the process will help guide your decision making.
I love the saying, “That which I understand, I control. That, which I don’t understand, controls me”. This chapter is about deepening the understanding you have of yourself and how you come across to your team. These secrets address subjects that many managers do not get right. So give the questions serious thought and decide how successfully you manage yourself. Then you’ll be ready to move on to managing others.
1.1 Be a role model
Role modeling starts when you’re a child, when you start look around for someone to copy. As you get older you start to move your target. You want to be more like your friends, your heroes, your boss… Guess what? There are people who want to be a manager like you. To do what you do. They watch you closely and even start dealing with stuff the way that you deal with stuff. Recognize it? You probably do it yourself. You’re either using approaches that your boss uses – or making sure you do the opposite!
What’s the great thing about role modeling? Role modeling is imitating the success we see because we want to be successful. Well, if you want your people to be enthusiastic, attentive to detail, great time managers, hard working, etc., then you have to be enthusiastic, attentive to detail, a great time manager…I’m sure you’ve got it.
The flip-side. You can’t ask your employees to do things you’re not prepared to do. Need people occasionally to working late. Want them to meet your deadlines? Then keep your deadlines with them. Want people to show respect for each other in the team? Then you must show respect to everyone – inside or outside the team.
By demonstrating high performance behaviors, you’ll be challenging your employees to raise their game. You don’t have to say, “Be more like me”. They’ll soon pick up the message. Demonstrate excellence and professionalism at all times.
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing” – Albert Schweitzer, German-French philosopher.
1.2 Be the real thing
It doesn’t take long for people to spot a fraud. You’ve probably already spotted one or two at work yourself and already know how important it is to be authentic and honest with employees. But how do you build the real trust between manager and staff?
What your team wants from you is consistent behavior. They need to see an underlying logic to your decision making. They need to feel that you are always fair – even if they don’t like a decision. This consistency always comes from a stable character. But what is character? Character is usually a combination of the qualities that make up an individual. Some qualities can be attributes such as ‘determined’, ‘persevering’ or ‘enthusiastic’. Other qualities are more to do with your moral code: ‘honesty’, ‘integrity’, ‘fairness’. Your employees may question your decisions but should never have cause to question your character. Now do the following exercise:
1. IDENTIFY YOUR CHARACTER TRAITS. Take a sheet of paper and write all of the qualities you believe you have. Try to identify at least 10 to 15 traits.
2. AGREE THE TRAITS. Show these traits to someone who knows you well. A partner, friend or colleague who will give an honest opinion.
3. MENTALLY ‘SIGN UP’ TO THESE CHARACTER TRAITS. Make a pact with yourself that this is the ‘real you’ and the behavior you will always try to demonstrate.
4. KEEP THESE TRAITS WITH YOU. Put the list in a discreet place where you can quickly find it.
5. USE THIS LIST OF CHARACTER TRAITS FOR YOUR TOUGH DECISIONS. Next time you have a tough thing to do, make sure that it reflects the character traits you signed up to.
1.3 Look like you mean it
Managers seldom talk about their ‘image’ but let’s be clear; you have one. The way you dress provides visual clues to the sort of person you are. Casual dress may be cool, but smart casual is coolest of all. Think about it. You don’t deliver thousand-dollar messages in one-dollar suits.
Perhaps you think I might be overestimating the impact of your appearance? Then let me point you to the election race between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960. People still say the reason JFK won because Nixon hadn’t bothered to shave. The people in make-up couldn’t hide his 5 o’clock shadow. You don’t win trust looking like a gangster. Like it or not. People are going to judge you on your appearance.
“Most things are judged by their jackets” – Baltasar Gracian y Morales, 17th-century Spanish writer
- So what does smart dress do? It neutralizes people’s opinion of you. Instead of concentrating on your ill-fitting trousers or joke tie they concentrate on you and your message. When you dress professionally, then people assume you are a professional. You look the part.
- Image doesn’t stop with clothes. Looking well groomed equally sends positive messages out about you. It tells people you care about the small stuff and that detail matters. So if you travel in a car, make sure it’s tidy. When you open your briefcase, don’t lift the lid on a mass of papers and clutter. If your cell phone or mobile rings, don’t have a ringtone that’s so awful people make remarks about it.
- Last of all, what about your desk? You must make sure that you look like you have everything under control. Remember, a manager’s job is often about managing detail. An untidy desk sends out the wrong messages to your staff and colleagues.
All managers sell. We sell ideas, opinions and concepts. But, as any salesperson will tell you, people buy people. How you look either helps – or gets in the way of – that process.
1.4 Go on – assert yourself!
Being the boss doesn’t mean being bossy. It means dealing with difficult situations fairly and skillfully. Aggression may get quick results, but you soon lose respect and loyalty. Asserting yourself is different. It’s about getting your point across but keeping people with you. Being strong – but always being fair. Dealing assertively with conflict is an important skill every successful manager must master.
“He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty” – Lao Tzu, Taoist philosopher of ancient China
- You are going to have to deal with conflict. Its part of what we managers do. But you can still say what you want to say and keep the respect others have for you. How? By making sure that you show respect to others.
- There’s a big difference between aggressive and assertive managers. Aggressive managers make their point – but in a way that ignores the rights and feelings of the person they are talking to. The person then feels hurt and resents the manager. Worst of all, they may even show this through sabotage and non-cooperation. An assertive manager can make the same point – but makes sure they respect the rights of who they are speaking to. Let me show you. I could have a disagreement and say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about”.
Notice how this not only passes judgment on the message, it passes judgment on the person as well. How much better this might be if I said, “I’d like to talk about where we disagree”. This time I’m concentrating on the facts, not the person. This is why assertive people are so strong – they have a need to get at the truth, but make sure they don’t make enemies when they do so.
1.5 Make time to manage
People used to worry about keeping their desk tidy. Now it’s also about keeping the computer desktop tidy. Then there are the interruptions, the telephone, the meetings…Follow theses nine tips to get rid of the time robbers in your life.
1. Be clear about what you want to achieve. Do the one minute wonder exercise opposite.
2. Plan your work. Write down your goals and break each goal down into sub-tasks. Give start and finish dates to each task.
3. Book appointments with your work. If a report is going to take hours, then make an appointment with that report as if it were a real person.
4. Deal with tasks as soon as you can. If it’s an unpleasant task then do it first thing.
5. Be ruthless with time – but courteous with people. But don’t over-socialize either face to face or on the phone. Remember you’re eating into other people’s time as well.
6. Deal with your email three times a day. First thing in the morning, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Turn off the pop-up that tells you when an email has just come through.
7. Deal with interruptions. Ask the interrupter if it’s quick or if it can wait until later. If interrupted at your desk, then stand up to keep the other person focused.
8. Deal with your in-tray once a day. Take each item and: deal with it; delegate it; file it or dump it.
9. Plan your telephone calls. Save them up and do them in a block so they’ll be quicker and more focused.
The worst feeling as a manager is when we think that the workload is too much for us. These nine tips make sure that you stay in control and go home each evening feeling on top of your workload. Being a great time manager leaves you with more time for your people. (Ref: Michael Heath).
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