Being a manager involves far more than simply doing one job well. As a manager, you're responsible for your team's ability to get work done. You also need to encourage, develop, and help your employees grow. If you're successful, you can be one of the significant influencers in someone's career. If you fail, however, you could be the bad boss everyone talks about. Consider implementing these secrets to success in business management.
Make Your Boss' Life Easier
You might expect the first secret to success to have something to do with your direct reports, but instead, it focuses on your boss. When you understand the demands on your manager and align yourself with his or her goals, you'll accomplish a great deal in your career.
For example, if you know that your boss has an important meeting every Monday morning, take the time on Friday afternoon to arrange the data and reports he or she needs and get them sent over. This will make a hectic morning easier for everyone.
This isn't about being a "teacher's pet," but rather about fully understanding what those above you think about, work on, and need help with. This will help you understand what you'll face if you get promoted to the next level. Of course, it will also make your boss happy and smooth the way for future promotions.
Understanding what's going on in the ranks above you also helps you communicate more of the "why" behind certain actions to your staff. This will help your employees stay engaged and motivated in their work for you, which will give you better results in your current job.
Master Change Management
Dealing with change is difficult, but it's a constant in the business world. When you can help your team, peers, and organization adapt to change, you will have a skill few master. It will make you more successful and enormously impactful in the company.
Some steps to becoming effective with change management include:
- Help others understand that change is inevitable
- Paint a compelling vision of the future
- Recognize that even positive change involves loss for those involved
- Acknowledge that some changes aren't great
- Facilitate effective communication both up and down the chain of command
- Answer questions
- Help other integrate the change and accept it as the new normal
Change management is not a process you go through only once, or even only once a year. Change can be continuous in large and small ways. When you master the art of helping people adapt to change, you'll be well on your way to being an incredible leader.
Work With Others, Not Against Them
The best managers see a company as a community where people rely on each other, work together, and help the organization thrive. Poor managers see work as a cutthroat battlefield, where you have to undercut a coworker to get ahead.
Remember that you're not at war with those around you. You all exist in the same environment, and you need each other to be successful. Someone else's success is not your loss. When you can see others as assets, you can easily create a team to work on a project. This will make you far more effective.
For example, when a peer succeeds in a major project, congratulate them rather than grumbling about a flaw in the work. Bring your coworker's positive qualities to the attention of the boss. You don't need to be jealous - you are all on the same team.
When you treat your team as a cohesive unit instead of playing politics and picking favorites, you'll excel at team building. Your employees' work will be higher quality, more productive, and it will be easier for everyone to reach their goals.
See Management as Development, Not Control
If you believe you need to control your staff and make sure they're working hard, that's all you'll do all day. Instead, look at those who work for you as motivated, autonomous workers who want to succeed and recognize that part of your role is to help them grow and develop.
The way you look at your capabilities and those of your direct reports has a lot to do with how well everyone will perform. Dr. Carol Dweck coined the terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset" in her research about how people learn and perform. A growth mindset is the belief that people's talents can grow and change. A fixed mindset is the idea that people's capabilities are set in childhood, and you have to work with what you see in front of you.
When you treat your employees as adults with their own motivation, focus, and drive, you'll get productive work from them. Instead of asking yourself how you can catch your staff cheating, ask yourself how you can free each person to bring the best of himself or herself to work every day.
One great way to do this is to be aware of each employee's career goals. Create an employee development plan. Encourage team members to learn more about departments they are interested in and suggest them for developmental classes or projects that would help move them in the right direction. Not only will you get better results, but you'll also have more time for your own work as well!
Be a Great Communicator and Listener
To be a great manager, you must be a great communicator. Your employees need to fully understand their goals and the company's vision and direction. This will lead to higher levels of engagement on your team, leading to far better results.
You also need to be able to share your team's needs with the managers above you and to do well in presentations required in your work. When you communicate well in meetings and with your boss, you'll build the trust and respect you need to continue moving up.
Part of being a great communicator is being a great listener. The book Just Listen by Mark Goulston is one of the best resources available. Goulston describes not only how to become a better listener, but also how listening can help you become more persuasive in all areas of your life. Reading and implementing this book could significantly enhance your career.
Lead Well and Expect the Best
Being a great manager is about expecting the best from others and yourself. When you can encourage, inspire, and create room for your employees' best to emerge, you'll have a tremendously positive impact on them. You'll also help them bring out their best work, which will help your team and organization meet their goals. As a strong leader, you can expect challenges, but these secrets to success in management will help you excel.