As a manager, you are expected to make decisions. The higher you climb, the more important decisions become.
However, growing self-confidence and self-importance does not add to the quality of decision-making. If you are going to shout, do so for the good of the company and not to advance your status. Should you make an incorrect decision, you would do better to admit it and backtrack. Excuses will not help. The more you make them, the more they will damage your credibility.
If you use the language of Team Roles, you can admit your weaknesses without inflicting any damage. Ironically, it is those weaknesses which can make you appreciated amongst your team. Furthermore, it gives everyone else a chance to be of use. Although it may be a daunting proposition, it is important to realise that you will need to find a managerial approach that works for you. Refining this approach will involve an understanding of team dynamics and a lot of self-awareness.
If sensitively handled, it will point you towards success. There is no “one size fits all” rule for aspiring managers, but there are a few pointers to take on board.
- Play to your strengths Few successful managers are altogether free of faults, but you can achieve success by playing your strong suit well. Learning to manage yourself effectively is a prerequisite to managing others well. Here there are general lessons worth bearing in mind.
- Ascertain how others see you Self-flattery is a common device for self-promotion, but it is also the high road to the self-deception that precedes a fall. To foster good relationships with others, it is desirable to have regular feedback on how you are seen.
- Don’t confuse managing a business with managing people Some talented business managers are exceptionally poor at managing people. Equally, some excellent people managers know little about managing process. Success in any of these fields often disguises weaknesses in other areas. If you are strong in one area, make sure you have a good ally in an adjacent field. The key to progress is not always to take the difficult road to self-improvement. A more reliable option is to take the shortcut by finding and working with people demonstrating the skills you lack.
- Don’t paint a sinking ship Organisations with holes in their operating systems are bound to flounder. Concentrate on creating an improved structure of management and leave the finer details for later. A seaworthy ship rather than a smart ship is easier to steer in the right direction.
- Prioritise good strategy over operational efficiency It is preferable to do the right things inefficiently rather than the wrong things well. Complex operations only work effectively with the provision of adequate thinking time. So thinking should come before action.
- It is better to appoint at leisure than to sack in haste or to live with a mistaken appointment Taking meticulous care when making appointments is seldom a waste of time. A rushed decision taken in ten minutes can lead to several years of regret.
- Endeavour to find the right peg for the right hole Those who fail in one job may well succeed in another, if the correct appointment is made. Experience with the Belbin Job Requirement Exercise bears out the adage that there are “horses for courses.”
- Take an interest in all jobs All jobs are deserving of managerial attention. People appreciate praise, and will accept criticism if it is focused on the task rather than the person.
- Don’t interfere too much Managing is about delegation. Give someone autonomy over, as well as responsibility for, a job. Interfering and micro-management can diminish the desire to assume further responsibilities.
- Make known your chosen style of management Once you have established your strengths and weaknesses, announce to your team what you think you can contribute and what you expect from others.