If management were easy, then 98% of managers wouldn’t feel other managers need more training, as one recent survey shows. But that’s the reality – effective management is challenging. There’s always ample room for improvement.
Given that you’ll probably be bombarded by New Year’s resolution suggestions as the month progresses, figured I’d try to get ahead of the curve with this one. Accordingly, here are 5 practical resolution ideas – on 5 fundamental issues all managers deal with – that can make you more effective in 2017.
I will not be a conflict-avoider. Avoiding conflict as a manager is an easy thing to do – the path of least resistance. Potential conflict abounds in management: with your employees, with your own manager, with colleagues, with customers, etc. Truth be told, the vast majority of people find conflict stressful. Dealing with conflict diplomatically and effectively is a critically important management skill. Strong managers invariably face conflict directly.
I will spend time where I need to, not where I want to. Most managers have wide latitude on where they choose to spend their time: which projects they’ll focus on themselves and which they’ll choose to accomplish through others. There’s a natural temptation for all of us to spend time on functions we really like. In my own management days, for example, I totally enjoyed managing Sports Marketing and was less enthusiastic about Employee Communications. But that didn’t mean I could neglect the employee side and become consumed planning sports sponsorships. All managers to some extent face such choices – and need to balance projects one most enjoys with those most critical.
I will resist the (natural) temptation to play favorites. Face it, even though we may not like to admit it, as humans we all have tendencies toward favoritism. Some employees are just likable and easy to work with, others can be, well, downright difficult. But some of those difficult ones can still be extremely talented and valuable. And as a manager we have a responsibility to be scrupulously fair… even if that sometimes runs counter to the course we’d personally like to take.
I will hold onto only the projects I really need to, and thoughtfully delegate the rest. Effective delegation is all about balance. Delegate too little and you’re buried; delegate too much and you can bury your people. Finding the right balance is a delicate, important management challenge. It’s worth giving careful thought to how you’re approaching the broad span of projects and activities within your control – avoiding “this is the way we’ve always done it” thinking… to ensure your mix of decisions plays to both your employees’ strengths, and your own.
I will carve out time to help my employees grow. Employee development is one of those functions that there seems to be never enough time in the day for, and (worse still) is hard to demonstrate ROI on. Because it’s not really a short-term endeavor; by nature it takes a while for a growth to occur. But the best managers do make time for it. Numerous studies show that employee development is both highly valued and highly neglected. And managers who excel at growing their employees are usually rewarded with appreciation and productivity.
Management is nothing if not a multi-faceted discipline requiring a broad mix of very different skills. Best of luck with these in 2017!
This article was written by Victor Lipman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.