Being A Manager
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Joined: Sep 2010
25-01-2011, 12:14 PM
What Is Being A Manager Really Like?
When most people think about management they envision high salaries and power. That is not always the case. There are many people that have started out low on the totem pole, and worked their way to the top to be successful. You may hear about managers and their large salaries, but what you do not hear about are the everyday struggles of the average manager.
There is constantly work that has to be done that the manager must do as well as deal with unexpected events that pop up. Many managers travel and have to schedule long meetings into their work hours. It is not uncommon for a manager to make many personal sacrifices in order to be able to handle all of the responsibility of their position. This often involves a balancing act of activities outside of work and family life.
Managers and people in positions of authority frequently have to deal with difficult situations. When problems occur, managers are the ones that are notified and they need to be able to provide guidance to others involved in the situation. Managers are responsible for such things as firing workers, hiring workers, and dealing with employee personal problems. Authority may be a luxury in some instances, but it brings along with it other tasks that are unpleasant for anyone to do.
Managers must also have excellent communication and people skills. The whole day involves dealing with others and communicating through various forms of media. In one day they must come into contact with all types of people. It is important for them to make use of contacts that are developed outside of the business, as well as enforce ongoing relationships through adequate use of communication.
The work of manager consists of many different tasks. This can either be good or bad depending on if an individual is adaptable. Managers are expected to know a little bit about everything that is going on in the business. Additionally, managers must be able to handle the many tasks that are thrown at them. Managers have to be a mix of many talents all rolled into one.
Responsibilities of a Manager:
1. Realize that management succeeds via the efforts of the workers.
Because you're in charge doesn't mean you deserve all the credit for the work being done. Your staff is responsible for the bulk of the work. You are leading them as they get it done to be sure all regulations are complied with, etc., but they are doing the actual work. Taking credit for their efforts will surely undermine your leadership.
2. Delegate responsibility and then trust your people.
Micro-managers are never appreciated. Once you've trained someone to handle a task, allow him or her to handle it without interference. Different people have different approaches, and someone else's way of doing something may be just as efficient as the way you would do it.
3. Know your employees to know your strength.
Watch your staff, get to know them as individuals. Understand their motives: Why do they work in this company? Why do they work in this department? What excites them? Some may love the work. Some may love the flexible hours. Some may love the retirement plan. Whatever that is, do your best to understand. That allows you to enhance, adjust and align their motives with your goals.
4. Empower your staff to make critical decisions.
If you have done a good job of training your people to be your proxies, then you must believe they are doing their best to act in your (and your company's) best interest. Even if they make a wrong decision, or handle a situation in a way you would not have, don't second guess or berate them.
5. Create a clear chain of command.
If you are the owner and have a manager, be sure the rest of the staff understands the chain - they are to take problems to the manager first, and only if they are still unsatisfied should they escalate it to you.
6. Tell your staff how much you appreciate them.
Never hesitate to pat your employees on the back, compliment and thank them for their excellent service - if customers are there, letting them know how you value your people can go a long way toward the customers actually having more faith in the services your business provides. When your staff feel valued and appreciated, their job means more to them than simply a paycheck.
7. Share your goals with your employees.
Tell them what makes you happy and ask them directly to help you reach your goals. "Hidden agendas" in a leader are damaging to morale because they create confusion in those who work for you.
8. Learn to be an effective listener.
Your employees deserve to be heard when they have concerns. Allow them to finish talking before you speak; do not assume that you know what they are going to tell you before they finish talking; do not form objections in your mind while they are talking. Instead try to be fully engaged while they are talking without making it about your rebuttal.
Disadvantages of being a Manager:
You are not as close to the employees in your group when you are the boss. You can't afford to be. A manager needs to be a little removed from the employees in order to objectively make the hard decisions. Many first time managers, promoted from within the group to manage it, are amazed at how quickly former friends become cold and distant. Even an experienced manager, brought in from outside, finds the employees more aloof than they are with each other.
Long Waiting Results
In management, goals are usually more long-term, quarterly or even annual. The real measure of a manager's success, an improvement in their people management skill is even more long term and more difficult to manage. If you can wait months or longer for feedback, management may be for you.
You may, and in most cases should, have your employees make many of their own decisions. However, ultimately the responsibility for the final decision rests with the manager. When it appeared that low team moral might have damaged the project and implimentation, it was a manager who had to make the decision. It's the manager's job to make the decision, right or wrong.
Being watched always
There is always someone after your job. As a manager, you may have several people in your group who think they could do your job better and are actively working to get that chance. You have several people within your own organization who want your job and more people on the outside who are after it as well. The higher you go in any organization, the fewer positions there are at that level and the more competition there is for them.
Managers have legal liabilities that others don't. Managers frequently have to sign documents, they have to ensure the workplace is free from harassment, they have to keep their people safe. If a manager fails in any of these responsibilities, they may be held legally liable.
Managers often have restrictions placed on them because of their position. For example, a normal employee can exercise stock options or trade in the company stock whenever they wish, but the top managers (even in most of the companies their closed ones also restricted) who are involved in making financial results are restricted to windows of time that exclude immediately before and after quarterly financial results are announced.