I believe managers are developed through a process of education, coaching, and progressively more challenging assignments.
I use the model of the triangle because it reminds us of the Fire Triangle model used by firefighters. A fire is composed of three elements: heat, oxygen, and fuel. To put it out, just remove one element.
This works the same way in management development. The three elements are technical skill, quality of thinking, and interpersonal mastery. Remove one, and the whole thing collapses.
Here’s how we define the elements:
Managerial Effectiveness: This is your ability to be a great manager. The manager’s job is to make sure all functions are functioning and all people are performing to their maximum potential.
Technical Skills. These are the skills used to become an expert in a particular field. It could be anything from blue collar trade skills to engineering. Technical skills normally don’t mesh with supervision although you may have to work with people. There are some technical aspects to the job as well such as the appraisal forms and progressive disciplinary processes to follow.
Quality of Thinking. This is the ability to think strategically and critically. Like a chess player who must think three moves ahead, so must you change your way of thinking from transactional to strategic.
Interpersonal Mastery. This is your ability to work with and relate to others. It involves effective communication, patience, and understanding of yourself and others.
An organization can have only one true leader. Management helps the leader get the organization moving forward together.
Effective management is the only way to determine if a person has the potential to lead an organization.
Thus, the effective manager should:
1. Neither micromanage nor espouse a culture of benign neglect
2. Neither be a bully nor a spineless wimp
3. Maintain a culture of continuous learning
4. Seek out the root cause of every problem before attempting to solve it
5. Make employee performance management a high priority
6. Create and sustain a “full speed” work tempo
7. Refuse to accept poor performance. Deal with it swiftly and decisively
8. Recognize great performance
9. Constantly scout for talent, at all levels
10. Encourage innovation and creativity
11. Be an active delegator. Use delegation to grow yourself and your direct reports
12. Commit to their own continuous learning and development
13. Confront problems and conflicts
14. Accept, but not succumb to organizational politics
15. Use, but not abuse power
16. Advocate for what’s right, even if it’s unpopular
17. Build a working rapport with everyone
18. Always teach, coach, and mentor
19. Celebrate, but document, all success
20. Address, dissect, and find root causes of failures
21. Respect and leverage differences
22. Tie every action to “the big picture”
23. Stress the power of networking
24. Always reflect, always learn
Management skills are built through teaching, coaching, and mentoring. They are honed through reading and reflective journaling.
Management is 100% or nothing. You can’t be half-committed to it.
- Management isn’t for everyone. There is no shame in “tapping out.”
- The will to manage is paramount – skill and focus can be taught.
My company, The Management Foundry has strategies in place to provide this development process for you and your organization. To find out more, visit our website at www.managementfoundry.com
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