A Guest Post by Carrie Oakley
No matter how good you are, there’s always room for improvement. Good needs to become better, and better must aspire to become the best. This is even more imperative when you’re in a position of responsibility.
Being a manager means that people look up to you, they expect you to show them direction, and they hope you will be able to bring out the best in them. So it’s your job to not just do your job, but to also grow and improve your people everyday. Generally, when people talk about improving managerial qualities, the words leadership, communication skills, decision making, strategic vision, and other similar jargon creep in. However, there are other ways to enhance your managerial skills that are purely based on being a good observer. All you have to do is:
- Learn from bad managers: It’s simple enough to learn how to do the right thing by observing people who are doing it the wrong way – just don’t do what they do. The thing with managers is that people tend to notice a bad one immediately while a manager worth his salt gets his due only after he has proved himself to be consistently good. So keep your eyes and ears open – the office grapevine is sure to be abuzz with gossip about the misdeeds of inept managers; take into consideration the grouses that people have with their managers – some of them may be just disgruntled while others may have genuine cause for concern – and try your best to avoid being tarred with the same brush.
- Know how to do the job your team does: As you climb up the professional ladder, you tend to lose your technical or on-the-job skills and focus more on administrative and managerial tasks. However, unless you keep in touch with how things should be done at the basic levels, you cannot supervise and manage your team. The moment they sense that you have no idea of what they’re talking about, they’re likely to pull wool over your eyes or worse, lose any respect that they had for you. So even though it entails extra work, ensure that you’re up to any task, however beneath your level it is, by understanding what your people do.
- Treat people as you would like to be treated: Just because you’re a manager, it doesn’t make you less of a human being. So treat your subordinates fairly, just as you would like your superiors to treat you. While it’s ok to take them to task or reprimand them for shoddy work or irresponsibility, remember this golden rule – praise in public and scold in private. When you’re perceived as a just and fair manager, your team is bound to feel more loyal and willingly work harder on all your projects. You avoid the cold treatment and the anonymous tricks that employees play on mean managers they don’t like, and you also feel good about yourself because you’re doing the right thing.
The key to being a good manager is to observe the world around you and apply those observations to your job. Strive to be a fair and balanced by learning from good managers and avoiding the pitfalls of the bad managers you observe.
This guest post is contributed by Carrie Oakley, who writes on the topic of online colleges . Carrie welcomes your comments at her email id: carrie.oakley1983(AT)gmail(DOT)com.