This might sound stupid, however having the title of manager invariably means very little. Do you know what your “power to accountability ratio” is?
Whilst there are very few jobs offering total power with little to no accountability too many “managers” find themselves in fully accountable roles with little or no power to make decisions. The managers’ staff are usually able to detect a low authority to accountability ratio very quickly.
One of two possible reactions often follows; a lack of respect with no real concern over whether or not the managers directions are followed and or a feeling of sympathy for the manager which, whilst feeling better then overt disrespect is unlikely to deliver much in the way of results.
A successful manager should always be seeking clear objectives particularly for those areas of the job where there are outputs you will be required to measure and be answerable for. Keeping the main objectives constantly in mind is essential even if they evolve or change a bit over time.
It will also help you to be very clear in stating the key objectives to the people who report into you. There are days when getting stuck in the detail is unavoidable however reminding yourself of what you want to achieve should help you to stay focused.
Its one thing to have agreed the deliverable elements, the next thing is to establish how you measure them. Wherever possible your measurement sources should be reliable. In the case of a football club manager the results are obvious and there to be seen. In other roles the deliverable might be a little more difficult to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.
A successful manager should be able to identify the key actions that the department is going to pursue. This shows clarity. The STAR process below might help you in formulating a basic strategic approach and remember strategic planning should not mean writing a book.
Simple. Will everyone understand it and buy into it?
Thought through. Does it identify the steps that will need to be implemented in order to mobilise the plan.
Achievable. If you don’t believe it can be done then no one will. Achievable by the way doesn’t necessarily mean easy although a well though through strategy should seek the most effective methods.
Risk assessed. If you haven’t thought about the risks and challenges then go away and think again. Very little in management is a dead certainty and you should have thought of the risks. This also demonstrates that you can plan for adversity.
A manager should be able to present the strategy clearly to all audiences; it should contain a clear vision followed by a set of clear time bound actions in order to achieve consistent success.
The more diverse your workforce, the more you are going to have to develop your management skills.
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