5 actions which will make you a successful manager
A managerial role, and the management track, is a path towards greater responsibility and advancement in a career. In some cultures it is a very coveted path, according the individual with recognition, prestige, and social standing.
It is also the most viable path to career growth in professions where expertise required is low, the work is repetitive, and hence the opportunity to grow through greater specialization is limited.
What changes when you move into a managerial role?
A managerial role entrusts you with leadership of a group and the responsibility of ensuring deployment, productivity, and wellbeing of a team of resources.
You now carry responsibility for the goals & outcomes assigned to the entire team.
This is the most important change when moving into a managerial role– you are measured on the output of the group and not on your own individual performance or actions.
Making the transition
The first step in becoming a successful manager is to recognize that the collective productivity and output of the team which you lead is the primary measure of your job performance.
Hence, to ensure success in a managerial role you need to make your team successful.
5 actions which can enable this are
i. Clear communication
ii. Ensure resource availability
iii. Build capability in the team
iv. Create a constructive environment
v. Promote your team
i. Ensure that your team understands their individual and collective goals – What output is expected, in what time frame, individually & collectively.
ii. Feedback –Schedule discussions on progress vs. team goals early and regularly to allow inputs for course corrections and improvements. Have a similar schedule for discussions with individual team members on their performance vs. goals. If you want your team members to perform better, this regular and planned schedule of discussions on their performance is the best starting point.
Ensure resource availability
i. Capacity planning –Any team requires a headcount and expertise to meet its collective goals. Acquire it, and fast. Working with shorthanded teams will overburden the incumbents and lead to burnout and elevated attrition, a shortfall in output vs. goals, or both.
Set a timeline by which you need to get the full team in place and work towards it. Do not wait endlessly for the perfect candidate(s). You are better off having someone who is 70% there and working/delivering for the team, than having an empty seat waiting for the perfect fit.
ii. Garnering organizational resources –Your team will require resources from their organization. These include funding, infrastructure, and access to internal expertise. As the leader of the team and its representative it is for you to ensure that the resources required are requisitioned and garnered.
Build capability in the team
Understand the skills required in the team for it to be successful. Some of these can be built through training, others by hiring trained talent from outside.
i. Coach - If you were a high performer in the work which your team is doing, share the best practices which made you successful and groom your team to be as successful (or more) in their roles as you were when you were doing the same job.
ii. Be ready to roll up your sleeves –There will be situations which your team members may not have the expertise or ability to handle. If you have the proficiency, this is the time to step to the plate and demonstrate how the task can be accomplished. If you don’t have it, work with the team to identify and bring in expertise from outside the team.
Everyone will not get there. In any team there will be the high achievers (like you) and the ones who are less so. Understand and accept that any team will have this spread of performers – and in most pragmatic organizations the goals for a team are set based on a blended team and not one composed of only top performers.
Create a constructive environment
i. Be even-handed - Every team member has an equal lien on your time. Avoid the temptation to get too invested in the high performers because they are your best resources or the low performers because it’s your mission to lift their performance up.
ii. Conflict resolution – There will be friction in any group. It could be within your team, or between your group and another. It is for you, as the team leader to create an environment for constructive debate where different views can be aired and a process for resolving conflicts.
Promote your team
i. Groom future leaders – Identify members of your team who exhibit the aptitude, ability and intent to perform at a higher level than their peers and take on greater responsibility. Help them find avenues to perform at their higher level of potential within your group, and if necessary, in roles outside your group.
ii. Be a brand ambassador – You represent the team in forums within and outside your organization. Highlight and celebrate their accomplishments and ensure that your group gets visibility and recognition.
Successful accomplishment of the team’s goals is the measure of success for a manager.
Five actions which you can take to help your team, and yourself, become successful are:
i. Ensure that your team understands what is expected of them individually and collectively and there are planned checkpoints to take stock and course correct.
ii. Cars need gasoline. Your team requires resources to achieve their goals.
iii. The more proficient the team is, the higher the likelihood of its delivering good output. Continually raise the achievement level of your team members.
iv. Plants need good soil and nutrients to flourish. Your team needs a facilitative, nonpartisan environment.
v. Be the cheerleader for your team. Celebrate their successes and create avenues for their growth
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Other blogs on career management can be viewed on www.valencoinc.com