Practices of Successful Managers
Managers must lead, supervise, mentor and motivate others – and their capability ability to do so in an effective manner makes a huge difference to the company’s general performance and success. In fact, the success of the company has as much if not more to do with the performance of the manager as it has to do with the performance of the CEO and his or her senior team. In spite of the overabundance of technical training available for middle managers in most industries, this group has to succeed or fail on their own than just about any other professional group in the corporate world. Why? Because the training programs geared for this group are either too generic or focus on technical skills instead of personnel skills.
Managing is more about bringing out the best in subordinates not overburdening them with technical information. One single technique does not meet all management requirements. Managers usually are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. They are expected to increase or maintain success, in any way that company defines it, by getting the best performance possible out of people – yet you have to operate within often difficult and demoralizing policies, procedures and guidelines established by senior management. Moreover, middle managers are generally the most under-supported and under-developed segment of employees. Unless you work for one of a handful of forward thinking companies, the types of management training and mentoring you will receive is not the kind you need.
So called “management academies” or corporate universities frequently teach skills that are too basic to help you be successful or are not customized enough to address the specific problems you face. As a group, new or middle managers are typically the most difficult employees to train or help. There are several reasons for this. First, you are working so hard to do your job, the cost of slowing down long enough to get some training feels too high for you. Secondly, managers, particularly newly promoted managers, have a difficult time asking for help or admitting to their own weaknesses. Whereas senior managers generally have the credibility or self-assuredness to admit to their shortcomings and weaknesses, many middle managers feel that admitting to their weaknesses is an admission of incompetence that could be a career-limiting move.
A common mistake of newly appointed managers is to assume that they are expected to act bossy now that they manage others. While there is some truth to this notion in terms of behavior, successful middle managers find it is important to continue to be the same person they were before the promotion. Managers should develop a management style that fits with who they are as a person; and not try to behave like someone else. . If their natural approach is fun-loving and less serious, find ways to manage that way. If you are more serious and impersonal in the ways you interact with others, don’t assume you have to change personalities to be successful.