Management is probably the most studied subject in the business world yet one of the most misunderstood. The word is open to interpretation, so getting everybody to agree what makes a good manager is near impossible. But every year businesses make huge sums of money with the assistance of managers. Most business executives and owners will agree on one thing: a manager must be a value adding team member. If a manager isn’t helping drive the organization forward then what is the purpose of hiring one?
A good manager will approach every project with planning and organization. The manager will execute the plan and be consistently directing and overseeing the team to achieve the goal. Each one of these stages are the subject of many books but here is a snapshot of each step.
The first stage for a project is planning. What goes into planning? What does it mean? Planning begins with an honest evaluation of where your team is currently, and where they need to be by the end of a project, or a certain amount of time. Evaluate your team with goals in mind and ask yourself:
- What are you being asked to produce?
- Who on your team are the ones who will get you most efficiently (not the most quickly) to the goal?
- Plan the hours of operation and break them down between developing ideas and actual production.
- Develop plans for the best case scenario, as well as the worst case scenario(s).
Once your plan is developed it’s time to organize your team. Prepare them in the following way:
- Inform everybody about their job in the plan. Make sure people who work together have clear and open lines of communication.
- Consider each member of the team and what they will need to succeed in their part. They must have the right equipment and an easy way to get supplies.
- Lastly, make sure everybody is trained in the appropriate skill set so they are equipped to complete their task.
This is where you step up and start leading from the front. It’s go time and you have started the whole process rolling. You must be hands on and out of your office now. Management is a “people” position, so you need to be out and visible. Walk among your team and see how they are doing, what they may need, and gauge their motivation and effectiveness. Do not micro manage your team; trust they know their jobs and let them get it done. Your job is to make sure they are all working together toward the same goal. Remember to encourage, reward, correct (privately), and be open to them. You may be in charge but don’t look or talk down to them and always give them their due respect.
Management is about the big picture. Constantly keep an eye on each part of the project, step in and make corrections when necessary, and have plans if something goes wrong. Be aware of what’s going on at every level and make sure the managers above you are also aware. Have answers ready before meetings and also for executives who “just dropped in”. A good manager is open, available, and ready to work with all levels of the company to help drive it forward.