So, you want an easier life as a manager. Anything that interferes with your ability to plan, the efficiency of your organisation, the impact of your leadership and the quality of your control mechanisms will just only make your life more difficult. Get rid of these factors and not only will your life be easier but you will also improve the results you produce for your organisation. Management is difficult enough without making it more problematic than it needs to be. What’s your first step?
Plan, to create clear goals for you and your people. “But, I have no time to plan!”. If this is true, sadly, your organisation skills and particularly your delegation skills will need to become the focus of your attention. A manager I coached was under constant pressure from his boss to create a strategy for his department. He prevaricated and dithered. The pressure increased. Finally, when he sat down and worked through what his department was really all about life became a whole lot easier and his boss was satisfied with the streamlined results that the plan produced. I could go on and on about the importance of planning and good goals but in the end of the day, if you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there! You’ll know you have a good plan when the goals are clear, there’s a clear strategy and you’ve finally made some sound decisions about your area of responsibility and its future direction.
When you have a clear plan, one that is inspiring and hopefully interesting and exciting, the next step to making life easier is your organisation and by that I mean the way in which tasks are allocated and how the essential resources are acquired to enable work to be achieved. A structure that enables a smooth flow of work to respond to customer requirements is central here. Change and innovation need to be worked into your organisation so that it remains up to date. High level goals need to be broken down into clear directions for your staff. Poor organisation will make your life a nightmare and create confusion and chaos. Ultimately, results will be poor.
So, you’re now well on the way to making life easier. Sound planning is underpinned by an effective and efficient organisation. Leadership is your next step to making life even easier. Your enthusiasm and commitment to getting results needs to be translated into high levels of motivation from your staff. Create two-way communication so that you stay in touch with the coalface but avoid getting too hands on. Build strong teams. Provide feedback especially about what people are doing well. Everyone should be able to articulate what your goals are clearly and simply.
The final step in having an easier life as a manager is to put effective controls in place so that results are measured and your future planning can be adjusted in light of what is actually happening in your area of responsibility. Sound IT, good quality measures and efficient feedback mechanisms will make your life all the easier. Poor control is like driving a car with no dashboard instruments – you end up not knowing where you are going.
“Is it really that straightforward?”. Pretty much. Decision making lies at the heart of this approach to making the management job as easy as possible. The more concrete the decisions that are made the greater the likelihood that good results will ensue. Failure to decide probably makes more managers’ lives more difficult than any other significant factor. There are endless excuses but in the end of the day the question really is – how difficult do you want your management job to be?
I hope this blog has encouraged you to re-evaluate your management approach and furthermore I wish that it leads to making life a little easier for you.
I raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK – a very small donation at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/everyonedeservesgoodmanagement would be most appreciated.