Managing others can often conjure up images of command and control and making people do things they don’t want to do. Equally, from the outside, management in organisations can feel very ‘them and us’. Yet for individuals moving up in an organisation, there will come a day when they will be expected to manage others. It may feel very different from their old day job and a little bit uncomfortable at first. The good news is, there are some simple and effective ways to approach it.
Why this model helps:
To quote Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’. So if you’re struggling a little with managing others, the chances are you’re doing too much of what you used to (i.e. doing tasks). To really make the most of managing others, you are going to need to start thinking and behaving differently. This model describes the different paths to a shared organisational goal. Where in the past you may have focused on completing certain tasks, your role as a manager is all about achieving goals for the business. You will only do this by stepping back from the task enough to supervise others, support the process and keep a firm eye on the outcome. By working through others you are helping that process; by doing things yourself, you’re just getting in the way.
How to apply it:
To help you transition into a manager role you can start with your to do list. Try and identify which activities are about you completing tasks and which are activities that help the overall process to function better and the goal to be reached. In the early days you are likely to have a balance of functional tasks combined with process activities. As you progress and build up your management skills, more of your time will spent with process activities. These may include allocating & reallocating workloads, briefing & debriefing tasks, coaching colleagues, delegating work, evaluating performance and giving feedback. That’s a veritable A to F of managing skills! So let’s get real. Do a genuine self-assessment of the work you do on a daily basis. How does it look? Are really managing yet? If not, what’s going to change?
Some Catseye wisdom:
No-one ever became a great manager overnight. Investing time into developing all these skills will demonstrate your commitment to your role as a manager and your belief in the value of working through others. Management shifts to leadership when your people fully trust your ways of doing things and are happy to follow you in the pursuit of personal and organisational success.