New managers and new business owners often are unsure of what the role of Manager is, often they may confuse the status, power and leadership of a manager for what the role is really about.
Managers are classically responsible for the business, the department, project or a sub component of tasks, for completion to meet the agreed expectation of stakeholders. Often completion is organized through plans or budgets that detail the dollars to be spent, time frames, other non financial measures. Project managers often use project plans to monitor and drive their delivery, whilst business and department managers use common profit and loss and many other metrics.
Many people take on "manager" roles without management training - it is a real shame that they are not trained more formally before taking on the roles. Pay structures often bias this situation as "manager" roles may have more status and higher pay than the straight technical roles. Yes I do teach management and I have been in manager roles for over 30 years - still never cease to learn and be surprised by management actions (good and poor). My strong belief is that the profession of "management" should be promoted and recognized as a separate skill rather than just leaving as a title or pay grade - there is so much to learn !
Management to me, in a raw sense, is getting things done whilst trying to meet or exceed expectations as set out in plans or budgets. So the manager has the responsibility to ensure that the following is organized (minimums here, many others required) :-
- resources are allocated and appropriate for the task/plan ahead
- staff skills sets are appropriate for the tasks being allocated
- staff training is adequate with reasonable long term planning for succession
- cashflow and metrics are adequate
- metrics are appropriate for the tasks/project/business
- time frames are reasonable and achievable (no point in setting out if they are not)
- decision making processes are reasonable, efficient and rationale
- processes of delivery are adequate for to meet the stakeholder expectations
- systems and delegation are appropriate for efficiency and yet maintain controls
- monitor operations to expose anomalies, investigate and analyse
- trade-offs are required to ensure reasonable balanced outcomes across all deliverables
- dozens of books written on the additional skills required
Whilst the above is not exhaustive you may notice that none of the above required the manager to have all the answers, or be the powerful decision maker nor the micro-manager. Yet many new or small business managers may feel compelled to be the powerful decision maker. Yes leadership may help in bringing staff and other stakeholders along but I will write about Leadership integration another time. Today is all about what is a manager !
Great managers can manage large corporates and yet not be on top of every single detail, certainly most do not micro manage things. So often the new manager or small business requires or expects people to know all things, to have opinions and plans for everything. This may require some modification or mentoring as whilst the manager is responsible for the outcomes and good process - they can delegate, can take ideas from others, can train and monitor rather than do all tasks. For the new manager this may be a new revelation that is hard to implement - this is where formal training, formal qualifications and experience/mentoring can help. I recall being thrown into my first managing role just because I was good technically - quite daunting in your early 20's and a lot of the learning occurred through trial and error.
Imagine how much better managing would be if you had training and more support in the early years of Managing !
So along comes Disruption - the expectations of the Management role has not changed - yet the whole ground/systems may need complete modification and adaption. In Disruption the resource allocation, the plans, the decision making will be in constant change - it may even feel like being under constant threat and competition, where the next Disruption is impossible to detect ahead. The manager of the future will need to gather data quickly, make assessments and change plans regularly - the expectation of managing all things by a few may soon be impossible - rather complex systems may be required to monitor all of the operational dynamics in the organization.
There is likely to be so much happening in any single organization that the need for highly skilled and trained management is essential. Hiring for mere technical skills, without the full broad range of management skills, may no longer be appropriate! If you can see that Disruption is a real and ongoing phenomenon then your organization should consider the gaps now - start resetting the skill sets you may require in Disruption today!
If you are a Leader or seeking to be one in the future - you need to read, read, read about Disruption NOW ! Those that fail to understand and adjust will fall behind.
Feel free to ask Dr Mat over a chat or email on Leadership, Management or change issues, advice, consulting or mentoring that you may seek.
These and other related topics feature in Dr Mats upcoming book titled "Leading and Managing Change in the Age of Disruption and Artificial Intelligence" - written for the modern professional, student and academic wanting to be ahead on modern Leadership and Management issues. Available through Amazon and other book sellers from May 24th 2019 - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1787563685 . This book has been strongly endorsed so use this link to review the endorsements - consider buying this book or recommend it to colleagues or others.
Consider your own specific situation and seek professional advice before acting directly in reaction to any of the tips on this website, they are intended as general advice only.