Ten Steps to Better Management

Step 1: Clarify, negotiate, and commit to your role as manager.

  • Many management jobs will have changed priorities in response to the current economy.
  • Check with your manager that you are doing what is best for the organisation.
  • Check with your conscience that you are doing what is best for you and your team.
  • Check that you are prepared to do the work that will help others to be outstanding.

Step 2: Understand the results you are expected to produce.

  • If you are to be recognised as an outstanding manager you need to know what excellence looks like.
  • At the moment you might be expected to drive costs down while producing more value.
  • Watch out for mediocrity. Expect excellence. Don’t let the current climate be an excuse to cut corners.

Step 3: Know your business.

  • Know what excellence looks like. Recognise the behaviours and habits that lead to it.
  • Recognise behaviours and habits that undermine it.
  • Understand the metrics that are relevant to your part of the business. Use them to get better.
  • Understand what your organisation needs from you – now.

Step 4: Build a great team.

  • Recruit, develop and retain people who will take responsibility and work independently – within parameters agreed with you!
  • To make sure you retain your best staff in difficult times talk to them – give them control – give them the chance to shape the organisation and their future in it.
  • Build a team that you can lead – not a flock that you have to herd.

Step 5: Ensure your team knows what excellence looks like.

  • Feedback, feedback, feedback.
  • Coach, coach, coach
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate
  • If you are not sure what constitutes excellence in your business – FIND OUT QUICKLY!

Step 6: Plan – with flexibility.

  • Review and revise plans on a weekly basis.
  • Expect progress on a weekly basis.
  • 121s are ideal for this.

Step 7: Get out of their way.

  • Help them to do great work.
  • Listen to them.
  • Understand what stops them from being great.
  • Get barriers out of their way.

Step 8: Be engaging.

  • Be positive and constructive.
  • Smile a lot.
  • Be energetic and hopeful.

Step 9: Proactively manage progress.

  • While change IS inevitable – progress is not.
  • Make sure that everyone knows what constitutes progress and has their own plan to make it.

Step 10: Leave a legacy: develop people and the organisation’s capacity to produce results.

  • better meetings
  • more focus
  • more knowledge and skills
  • more professionalism
  • better execution
  • higher standards

This post was inspired by Lisa Haneberg over at Management Craft.

Managing for an Entrepreneurial Culture

Organisations fall somewhere on the spectrum between bureaucratic and entrepreneurial.

The bureaucratic end of the spectrum is characterised by control, compliance and dependence.  Dependence on the boss to come up with the right plan at the right time. In the bureaucracy we do as we are told.  In the bureaucracy advancement comes from compliance and avoiding failure.

The entrepreneurial end is characterised by influence, innovation and autonomy.  Relationships are used to broker agreements about what the priorities are rather than waiting for top brass to decide.  Decision making is a much more even split between the front-line and management.  It is real-time rather than locked into a plan.  Advancement comes from understanding context and making the right calls for the business – not from playing it safe.

For me, 121s are all about shifting towards a more entrepreneurial organisational culture.  Where everyone is forced to think every week – “what are the priorities?”, “how do I feel about them” and “what support do I need to deliver on the things that really matter for the business”.

These are great questions to help people to stay in touch with what they are all about – and how that fits with the organisation and its mission.  And employees who are in touch with these things are likely to bring passion, creativity, energy and commitment to the workplace.