Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Thoughts On Management (Short Take)

The image explains in an overall view the way ...
When most of us hear the word “manage” we tend to think of what is essentially a command and control approach. Command and control is a very autocratic management method in which the manager gives frequent and specific instructions to employees and the employees carry them out. It’s important to keep in mind that command and control  dates from a time when most employees were unskilled and the tasks being done where relatively simple and repetitive. Clearly that is not the environment that skilled professionals operate in.

There used to be a theory in management circles that a good manager didn’t need to know anything about a particular discipline to manage effectively. Thankfully that theory seems to have fallen out of favor. To be an effective manager of skilled professionals you need to have a good understanding of the technology or discipline that is at the core of the people you are managing. I’m not saying you need to have the same level of in depth knowledge that the people in your group have about their respective areas of responsibility; that just isn't feasible. You should however be able to ask intelligent questions and understand the answers. You should also be able act as an effective sounding board if somebody is looking for input on an idea or project they are working on.

Treat people with respect. Be honest, sensitive and timely in giving feedback. People are not mind readers. They can’t be expected to do something if they don’t know that it needs to be done. When dealing with skilled professionals it helps to also be able to tell them WHY it needs to be done.

When you talk to people, listen carefully and attentively to what is being said and avoid canned responses.

Be real, but be professional. We all get angry or frustrated at times but it’s seldom if ever appropriate to vent at work or in front of the people who work for you.

Give credit where credit is due. Always be careful to attribute work you are presenting to the individual(s) who did it. I’ve seen managers lose good people because they didn’t do this.

Be flexible, delegate as much as is feasible. Avoid the command and control management style!

Image via Wikipedia
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