Every manager wants to be the best. Not only does being the best bring promotions and other financial benefits, but it also brings personal satisfaction in a job well done. But being the best at managing is a lot more than just hard work and people skills. It’s all about balancing resources to make sure everyone’s needs are met and removing obstacles in their way. A good manager is a good listener, a careful planner, a dedicated organizer, a decisive leader, and unafraid to make hard choices.
Learn To Listen:
The primary attribute of a good manager is the ability to listen. This doesn’t just mean that a manager is engaging in long talks at the water-cooler or routinely dropping by people’s desks for a chat. It means that he or she genuinely listens to a person’s problems, both business and personal, and integrates that knowledge into later decisions. A good manager is one that people not only feel good about bringing their problems to, but that sincerely pays attention to those issues and what they mean in a practical sense.
Don’t Count On Others To Be Organized:
A manager’s listening then needs to feed into a good understanding of how to organize. Good managers don’t rely on the people under them to remember deadlines, manage resources, or come up with strategies. It is the job of the manager to, after listening to everyone, determine the best course of action or the best allocation of resources and then pursue it. A manager’s day should be consumed with the actions of others, and how to best ensure that everyone on a team is working towards a common goal, with resources supplied and obstacles omitted.
This also means that a good manager is decisive and fearless in leadership. This is not to say that a manager should be a tyrant. Rather, a manager should be predictable in behavior, explain his or her actions clearly, but always make certain that these measures are permanent and decisive. A manager should not be afraid to abandon projects that are not working out to conserve resources, nor to transfer or fire someone who is being counterproductive. A manager cannot play favorites, nor can they try to please everyone. As Herbert Bayard Swope, three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for reporting, said, “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–It is: Try to please everybody.” Really, the only people that you need to worry about pleasing are your superiors.
In the business world, strategy is everything. There is always an end goal at stake. To get there, you have to know which path that you, your team, and company need to take to get there. That path is the strategy—full of risks, calculated decisions, and a multitude of options. Because this is not something that comes naturally to most people, you should see whether or not your company or somewhere else near you offers strategic thinking training workshops for you to participate in. Learning strategy skills will definitely improve your business game and your future in the industry. It will also help you to accomplish the goals that you are making.
In the end, being the best manager is not about playing favorites or trying to dominate office politics. It is, instead, the management of critical resources and persons to make sure that the people being managed have what they need to do their jobs. Keep in mind that cultivating such skills won’t happen immediately. After all, as Steve Jobs said, “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”