Has anyone ever told you that you have a knack for something? How about the phrase “your talent is natural”. Some people are just naturally inclined to excel at certain things while others are not. The thing about talent though, either you have it or you don’t. You can’t teach talent, it is something you’re born with. This ability though is sometimes confused with having a skill, however, a skill can be learned. When it comes to organization or management, it’s all about developing skill.
What does management entail?
Management is defined in the dictionary as the ability to deal with or control situations and people. Good management is a visible activity but it needs to be supported by the invisible; attitudes and habits. Management and leadership boil down to the strength of your influence. You can tell someone what to do and you may get results for a time, however, the old saying still rings true “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”. The best way to have prolonged success as a manager is to lead by example.
Great managers must able to C.O.P. E. They are excellent at communicating. They are extremely organized. The always have game plan and they are well educated Let’s discuss each of these attributes in detail and see how they all play a role in improving your management skills.
Communication is defined as the exchange of information via any medium be it verbally, in writing or electronically. Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of management. Employees can’t perform a task well if they are unclear on what they should be doing and they are unlikely to do it for very long if they feel like they are not being heard. Communication is a cycle and as a manager, you have the ability to make it a vicious or a victorious one. Below are three ways to improve communication.
1. Practice active listening
This involves more than just hearing what someone said or “politely” waiting for them to finish. When you listen actively, you listen for the purpose of understanding not for the purpose of responding.
2. Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions require an explanation beyond yes or no. For instance, instead of asking “Do you understand?” you may ask “What do you understand?”. If there is a miscommunication it is easily identifiable.
3. Look for opportunities to teach.
At times persons may say they understand yet their results on a task show otherwise. Instead of simply restating the initial instructions and asking for a revision, this would be a good opportunity to “show” what you mean. Odds are the mistake will not be made again.
Good managers are organized. Not only do they have a plan but they know exactly what they are going to do at every step to accomplish that plan. They have a system in place and they have the discipline to stick to it. With a clear idea of what needs to be done within which time frame and a clear understanding of the resources available to them, it is easy to successfully utilize the resources you have to be it people or material assets to a valuable end result. Below are three great ways to get organized.
1. Prepare a schedule
Everyone including yourself may be aware of the task at hand but it is an effective strategy to break up a task into bite-sized pieces, individual tasks that when accomplished achieve the goal. This is a great way to ensure vital steps aren’t overlooked leading to delays and missed targets.
2. Set deadlines
Once you know what tasks need to be completed it is a good practice to set deadlines for each task. All too often a project falls behind schedule because some aspects were not completed on time.
3. Beware of Bargains
In high-stress situations, it’s easy to leave things for another day or “make up for the time later”. This is a sure way to delay an entire project. If parameters have been set, they should not be moved unless absolutely necessary.
A good manager has a game plan set out to accomplish both long and short term organizational goals. These may be daily, weekly or monthly tasks and they are always S.M.A.R.T.
You may have a goal to increase efficiency. To make that goal specific an exact number must be identified. Your game plan therefore may be to increase efficiency by 10%.
It is beneficial to set goals that can be reasonably attained. A 10% increase is easier to work towards than a 150% increase.
3. Time sensitive
“A goal with no time limit attached is only a dream”. Instead of simply stating what you want it is good practice to stipulate when you would like it done. This will enable you to easily identify tasks that need to be completed. For instance, instead of setting a plan to simply increase efficiency by 10% you may set a plan to increase efficiency by 10% over the next 3 months.
Good managers are great leaders. Exceptional leaders understand that you can only lead from the front. That becomes an almost impossible task if you don’t know where you are going. Not only should a manager be familiar with the industry they are a part of but they must also be thoroughly acquainted with the vision and mission of their organization. They must also have a clear understanding of the biggest asset available to them which is the people under their direction. Here are three tips to get educated.
1. Make use of technology
The internet has opened the door for massive amounts of data collection on almost every and any topic imaginable. Doing market research is a great way to not only understand the industry you are a part of but to also get a clear view of the direction your organization should be taking to increase growth.
2. Ask questions
No matter how long we have been on this earth, there is always someone that has been here longer. Everyone repeats the phrase that “experience is the best teacher” and it truly is especially when it is someone else’s experience. Instead of just asking “how” try also asking “why”. If you can understand how to do a task and why it is being done it is then easy to improve on it.
3. Be observant
We spoke earlier about talent. It’s something you have and it cannot be duplicated. We all have individual talents. “Measure a frog by his ability to climb a tree and he will spend his whole life thinking he is useless” Take the time to observe your employees and figure out what they are good at. Thereafter you will have a clear idea of how to successfully utilize their individual talent.
Management skill is your ability to work with and through others to resolve any situation. With great communication, excellent organization and a well-educated approach, everyone can develop the ability to lead from a position of strength.