I was recently with a team of leaders, and we were talking about the importance of taking information from the leadership team back to the people you manage directly. One person asked me this question: “I’m managing 1 person. What am I supposed to do?”
The reality is that many managers aren’t in management because they’ve been trained for it. They become managers because of growth in the organization, because they’ve been there the longest, or because they’ve proven themselves as good workers, so the natural next-step is management!
I recently read this anonymous article on the 4 pillars of management and I think this is a great place to start. Let’s unpack these:
Basic Management Skill #1) Plan
Management starts with planning. Good management starts with good planning. Without a clear plan, you will never succeed. Many times we begin without a plan, without a goal. Start with the goal in mind, than figure out the best way to accomplish that goal. As you plan, think through obstacles that might come up, problems you may encounter. Evaluate the resources you have on hand and what you’ll need to accomplish the task. Planning is critical and as a manager, this is your job. This is also something great to do with the people who will be helping you accomplish this goal. Bring them in, listen to them, help them take ownership.
Basic Management Skill #2) Organize
Now that you have a plan, you have to make it happen. Organize your team, the finance, the tools, the resources. Do your due diligence by being prepared, being trained, being ready. You already have the plan in place, now lay it out. Think about the timeframe, create a work-flowchart, motivate your team, define the roles of everyone that will be involved, cast the vision and be ready!
Basic Management Skill #3) Direct
Now, GO! Tell people what they need to be doing. Think about your role as being the conductor of an orchestra. Your job is to help people to know what they need to do and when. You are connecting the dots, keeping things moving, motivating your team (again and always), and keeping the goal in mind, you’re watching the clock and making sure things are on target. You’re the director!
Basic Management Skill #4) Monitor
Now that everything is moving, you have to keep an eye on things. What’s not working? What problems are you finding? How is your team feeling? Are they still motivated? Do you need to make any adjustments to the plan and model? Don’t take your eyes off of the goal. Sometimes at this stage, it’s easy for managers to go and do something else. Finish the task. Do the job right. Reach the goal.
When you manage right, you add value. Your team is able to accomplish more and they’re motivated to be challenged and to hit the goal. A manager’s job is to simply walk through these 4 stages, again and again, helping your team and your organization experience success, growth and your vision.
If you’re a manager, and you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, start here. The rest will come.