Before we come to understanding ways to improve managerial skills, let us first know what management is and what do managers actually do?
Understanding the role of a Manager
As most academic writers explain “Management is the planning, organizing, leading and controlling of human and other resources to achieve organizational goals efficiently and effectively.”
One of the most well-known definitions of what management is and what managers do was given by Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer who, in 1916, published a book on management. In it he defined management as a process involving:
• Forecasting and Planning
The simple division of a manager’s job into these separate elements remains a powerful idea, although now we would refer to ‘commanding’ as leading.
If you can relate your activities to this description, then you are a manager – even if the word manager is not part of your job title. You may have only one or two people for whom you are responsible, but if you work through them to achieve organizational goals, you are managing them together with the other resources you use.
To manage people requires certain aptitudes and skills. Often, however, the task of managing – especially if you are new to the role – may leave you with little opportunity to consider or analyze what you are doing. You may feel that you are responding to a range of demands without being in as much control of your work as you would like. Many new managers feel like this. At some stage, most managers feel ill-prepared for their role and wonder whether they are doing the ‘right’ things.
Ways to Improve Your Managerial Performance
The absolute measure of managerial success depends largely on how effectively managers help their organization to achieve organizational aims and objectives. Thus, for improving managerial performance it is important that every manager (and employee) knows the purpose of their organization, the purpose of their job and the work-specific objectives they must meet.
To improve your managerial performance, it is very important that you must know yourself better, your strengths and your weaknesses, and those of the people around you. You must know your objectives and have a plan of how to achieve them. There are various ways of doing so. The most common is to rightly align requisite skills with that of a manager’s job and set targets against which his or her performance (or effectiveness) may be measured. This can be done by setting key performance indicators, or KPIs.
You must build a team of people that share your commitment to achieve those objectives, and you must help each team member to achieve their best which will be able to attain a common goal.
Engineers are rewarded for their technical skills but as a manager, your success is measured not by your own output but by the output and productivity of the people you supervise.
Working with others and getting them to give you their best can be just as rewarding as technical accomplishments once you get the hang of it. Here are some key tips that will help you to develop qualities of a good manager. These qualities will also help you in spontaneously improving your managerial skills and to guide your people more effectively.
Improving People Skills
(Know yourself and treat the people around you the way you want to be treated)
The first step towards improving performance for managerial success is to know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses, and those of the people around you. You must know your objectives and have a plan of how to achieve them. You must build a team of people that share your commitment to achieve those objectives, and you must help each team member to achieve their best which will help to attain a common goal.
To compliment your managerial performance, develop patience, kindness, and consideration for other people. Respect and accept people for the way they are then only you will be able to motivate them to perform for you.
Avoid being overly critical while delegating task and measuring performance. As a manager, it’s part of your job to keep your people on the right track. And that involves pointing out errors and telling them where they’ve gone wrong. But this does not mean that you yell or always criticize them. Your job is to guide and teach these people not to yell or nit-pick or show them how dumb they are compared to you.
Good people skills is a hallmark of successful managers. It is therefore essential that you keep encouraging the people around you. Instead of criticizing them, forget their mistakes, and zero in on one small thing they do right. Praise them and they will do more things right and discover talents and abilities they never realized they had.
Let them fail. Successful managers know that the best way for their people to learn and grow is through experience and that means taking chances and making errors.
Give yourself and the people around you the chance to try new skills or tasks without overtly looking over. This will let your people know you are genuinely interested in them. And that’s something they’ll really appreciate.
Be Open to Ideas
It is often believed that good managers keep everybody busy at work on their assigned tasks. But if your people are merely “doing their routine jobs,” then where is the scope and space for them to create new ideas and explore new potential. A truly productive team is one in which every member is actively thinking of better, more efficient methods of working to produce a higher quality output in less time, at lower cost.
To get this kind of innovation you have to be receptive to new ideas from your team. Whenever required, encourage them to produce new ideas. A more po¬tent form of motivation is to simply put employee suggestions and ideas to work. Listen to new ideas with an open mind.
A good manager is open-minded and receptive to new ideas.
Give Yourself an Aim to do more
If a manager doesn’t aspire to achieve something or does not have a goal to work towards then his job becomes redundant. His growth stops and he gets bored, unhappy, and unproductive. Organize your work in such a way that you can create enough opportunity for advancement, so that there is a logical progression in your career. Don’t hold back and aim for higher goals and purposes to achieve so that you can put forth your best efforts during all the years.
Better managerial performance help people and organizations in improving their own effectiveness and efficiency. Globalization and rapidly changing technology shows we are in a period of intense competition. Proper management of man, material and other resources is therefore vital in these complex environments.
The performance quality of a manager through his management styles can determine the culture of the organization, its productivity, and ultimately its success or failure. A good manager should thus have the ability to facilitate action and guide change.
Watch out for this space for our next blog on “How to become an effective manager – Developing skills for managerial effectiveness”.