Becoming a better manager
Modelling good managers
Look out for and notice what successful managers, in your organisation, do that differentiates them from others. Pay particular attention to how they communicate with their staff.
Good managers clearly communicate their expectations. They tell employees the outputs/outcomes expected, but allow some discretion over how they go about achieving the results. When an employee has done a good piece of work they notice this and recognise the employee for doing this straight away.
When you find such Managers in your organisation you may benefit greatly from asking one of them to become your mentor. This will enable you at regular intervals to benefit from discussing your issues with an objective sounding board within the organisation.
Use every opportunity to develop your management skills. Record any events that you have noticed, been involved in, where you have learned something of practical use to you. This might include your observations of how you or another Manager handled a situation well. Sometimes the things we learn most from are our mistakes.
Taking the time to write these down cements the learning more deeply and allows you to identify when you will be able to use your experience again.
So turn today's mistakes into tomorrow's successes. Notice what you did and what effect it had. Identify what you learned from it and how you might tackle that situation again in the future.
There are many formats that learning logs can take. The secret is to use a format that works for you.
Take control of your own development
Why is it increasingly important to manage your career?
The past few years have brought major changes to the working environment, causing many companies to rethink their strategies in order to sustain profits or even survive. The impact of these changes is dramatic, causing many organisations to find different ways of differentiating their products and services.
Profit margins have been significantly reduced with heightened price competitiveness causing companies to review their cost structures and reduce costs.
One major cost is labour and downsizing and restructuring has in turn led to a reduction in management layers. All organisations now face the challenge of achieving higher levels of effectiveness from fewer numbers of personnel.
Career development as a result switches ownership from the organisation to the individual, with support from the organisation.
Management will still need to be responsible for employing the best people and managing the resources to achieve the results expected of them, but employees now have an individual role to play.
Each person will have to take responsibility for:
- achievement of their objectives
- managing their own development
- the process of continually reviewing the value they currently add
- planning to develop the value of future roles.
The pace of change is often too quick for sufficient planning and attention to be paid to making the right decision about who to deploy to which roles.
So what can you do?
- You need to understand your range of skills and present these so that they are flexible to changing organisational situations.
- Take advantage of company sponsored management training programmes.
- What self directed learning activities could you undertake such as correspondence courses, evening classes, networking events, reading industry related publications, reading management books etc.
- Work with a Mentor or Coach.
- Subscribe to a professional body to keep yourself up to date.
- Seek to get at least one job offer a year; even if you don't accept the role the positive impact on your self confidence and negotiation power will be significant.
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