The 3 management principles
I’ve participated this week in a management forum and one of the hot topics was to discuss about what makes a person a good manager. Every person has ideas shaped by past experience and natural comfort zones that guide his behavior. However, almost everybody agrees that managers must take care of these 3 things:
This might look easy, but it is not.
Fairness means taking the right decisions. Give credit to your people for their work. Do what you say and say what you do. Apply rules to yourself, not only to your team. Assign work accordingly to experience and preferences.
“For what the king fundamentally insisted upon was that his authority should be respected. He tolerated no disobedience. He was an absolute monarch. But, because he was a very good man, he made his orders reasonable.” (The Little Prince, 10.15)
Respect means treating people right. It is the opposite of fear. Don’t use your position in the company to pretend being always right. Don’t use people, develop them. Being respected is key; being feared shows the result of management short-term strategies.
Trust means creating communication channels. Listen to your people. Don’t give lessons, give advise. Say thank you when people tell you the truth.
Can you learn management? Yes. Most of us can benefit from experts and learn what to do and what not to do. There are many techniques out there (for coaching, people development, communication, etc..) that will improve our chances of success. Getting a coach or a mentor might be a great idea for new managers. Is management for everybody? No. Managers must love being managers, and not everybody likes doing this. Of course, some people like taking the lead in specific circumstances and they do a great job (situational leadership) but they don’t like being the boss all the time, and this is ok.
Remember that the final goal of a manager is to develop people to their best possible level, even better than yourself. If you are not ready to do this, do everybody a favor and work in something else.