The Skilled vs Unskilled
In our lives, we will be in the good books of a few people and also in the bad books of some and there are no exceptions to that. Yet, when it comes to the role of a Manager, we witness two kinds of them. One kind who plays it cool with great charisma and cheer irrespective of the situation. Another who struggles to get simple things moving. The latter not only burn themselves but also the people around them. No surprise that anyone reading this post now can spell out at least a few qualities if someone seeks advice from you on how to be a good manager.
I am not here to jot down any generic tips. Instead, will share with you all my recorded tips on How To Be A Good Manager. The valuables that I heard from one of the Managers to whom I was reporting.
Every tip below is organic content. Hence, I trust them to help people whose mindset revolves around questions like the ones below.
- How to be a good manager or become one?
- Step up from your current role to the next in your career with ease.
- How to restart yourself as a good manager? Especially when you had already burnt the bridge that makes others feel you are trustworthy.
It was Praveen’s farewell as he was getting ready to take a new role with more responsibilities. I reported to him for a period of 36 months and had seen him taking ownership of things in the project since the start.
Taking ownership, does it ring a bell?
I am sure most of you believe that taking ownership would also be a part of the below tips list on How To Be A Good Manager. If so, you guessed it right.
As usual everyone from the team wished Praveen. There were a few who mentioned certain traits of his that they envy too. At last, when it was time for Praveen to speak, a member asked him to share his routine which helped him run the project with ease.
Little I knew that time the tips I made a note of are going to change my perspective on how to be a better manager in other words a skilled manager. The points uttered by Praveen can be a success mantra for anyone who cares about career growth.
My 14 Takeaways On How To Become A Good Manager – As Heard From Praveen
1. Stand For The Team
One of the traits that makes a good manager and the one that most of us want our leads to own. Isn’t it?
Always back your team and keep your ears open so that you can listen to them. Unless you listen to your team, there won’t be any growth for both parties involved. By standing up for the team, you seed confidence in the team members and at the same time pave the way to build trust.
2. Learn The Client’s Business
It is never too late to learn about something. Some say “
Fake It Until You Make It“. But, acting upon the quote can only provide a cushion for a certain timeframe and it is a must for you to learn things, and not to fake long.
A Manager should learn about the nature of the business of the client, their geographical presence, and their flagship product or service to date. Without that knowledge, you can neither help the client nor the team members achieve the best results.
3. Act Like A Layman
Not always a manager comes from a technical background. Even if you are, the possibility of having expertise on all the applications that are in use is very thin. So, it is always best to understand any issues experienced by the team like a layman be it technical or non-technical. This will help you better explain it to your boss / other managers when it is time.
A lead can’t hesitate to discuss things with the team members. You should always ensure to Ask Why and How? These are two powerful words that can take you and your team a long long way.
4. Check, Read & Re-read The Email
One of the simplest and very powerful traits that 80 percent of individuals ignore. Always check and read all the emails that are project-specific. Reading an email more than once can give more clarity on the ask or on the information received. By doing this you can be on top of the things that happen in the team in turn better equip yourself as well as the team.
Never write an email in a hurry which may lead to unwanted issues. Take reasonable time to respond especially with the clients and management.
5. Keep Things Simple
It is possible that you can multitask, and tick all the checkboxes in your basket. If you try to mirror Elon Musk – there is a good percentage of chance that you burn out soon. Try to delegate responsibilities to your subordinates for better efficiency and output. It will be a Win-Win for you as well as the member as you provide an opportunity for them to learn things.
Make room for yourself in your schedule so that you can focus on critical things, like the ones that you cannot delegate to anyone.
6. Always Keep Data Points
"I will get back to you on this shortly" is a very familiar statement that most of us give and hear during meetings. Use this statement at the least possible in other words use it wisely. The best way to avoid this statement is by preparing yourself for any upcoming meetings.
A simple way is to connect with the team and have your data points ready. That way you can give correct information to your boss and the client if asked about the project milestones or similar.
Do not forget that getting into a client call without proper data points is like standing on the war ground without a spear and shield. Never ever give an impression to the client that you are not up to date on the happenings in the project.
7. Do A Dual Role – Do Not Overdo
Looking at something with the eyes of the customer will help more than anything else. It will help deliver greater results based on the factors like time, scope, etc. Yet, remember not to overdo it as it is like a two-sided sword.
The best way to do this is to play a dual role. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes as well as in the team’s shoes to weigh the situation better and act fair.
8. Don’t Wait So Long
Need clarity on something? Act on it. Need inputs on something? Act on it. Need the status on something? Act on it.
Never let things slip from your to-do list or carry forward a specific item for several days. Yes, it is understandable that you cannot run behind everyone asking for an update. But, set an expectation in the minds of your team members so that they know what is to be done and when.
A proper delegation strategy will help a lot here too and save time. That being said, do not wait for long when there is no update. Instead, seek an update to have things under control so that you mark that task off your list. Precisely, when you want something Act on it instead of wasting time waiting. This applies to everything that happens in our lives.
9. Value The Time Of Others Too
Time is precious and that is for everyone living.
You might receive 100-plus emails a day. But, irrespective of that ensure to respond to the emails directed to you before the end of the business. Use the Rules feature in outlook or a similar application to segregate critical emails and respond on time.
Never let your client or the person to whom you report send a follow-up email to you. Always be on top of it and there is no shortcut. Value others’ time like how you want your time to be valued. When your team or a team member put time and effort onto something for the project, Appreciate it.
10. Follow up & Always Close The Email Loop Clean
Follow-up is a powerful technique that helps us to stay on top of something. This applies not just to our work but everywhere.
Do not assume things as it may lead to a costly mistake sometimes. Always follow up and do so until the email loop is closed clean. Never let an email hang on without proper closure to avoid any ambiguity. Use features like appointments in outlook to handle things better and smoothly.
11. Connect & Seek Help
During a crisis, you must connect with other project managers in the firm to bring some more expertise on board. This is to help the existing team tackle the issue much faster. The main goal should be to seal the leak when it is small and then learn from it and cut its occurrence.
Your Center of Excellence team can be of great support in such scenarios. Seek help and also lend help to others when needed. This will help you grow your network in the organization for better growth.
12. Stay at the Pace
This is the trait that most Managers push to the back seat. Never place yourself in a spot where you don’t understand what the technical team is discussing. You are not expected to be an expert on the topic but should be aware of the basics to relate things better. Rely on yourself first to fill the gaps rather than waiting for someone to throw some light.
Even minimal exposure to the technical areas would do wonders and help you get more opportunities. This trait will make your client trust you more which in turn may give you better leverage when the time comes. For example when submitting RFP, project bidding, etc.
13. Sleep & Wake Up Early
Of all the traits, this one is the most difficult to practice being a Manager. No doubt that 99 percent of the time you had to stretch and plan to cover your client’s time zone. But, doing this beyond a limit will drain more energy than required and disturb your sleep schedule. This is where the Delegation strategy would be handy to manage things efficiently.
A healthy routine would help you to focus on things that matter and better support the team for extraordinary results.
14. Stay at Peace
Imagine how the ship would sail when the captain is not in his correct mindset. This applies to all kinds of work and to everyone. It is important for the individuals who lead a team to stay relaxed and rejuvenated. Take a break at least once in two months to pull yourself back together a bit and to move stronger when the time comes.
Besides breaks, indulge in activities like hiking, running, swimming, and weight training. Doing these will help you free up your headspace and stay calm. No one ever saw these skills letting the followers down anytime.
The Manager Mindset
As I mentioned at the start, the above-mentioned are tips from one of the several managers I worked with. These tips do not cover all the answers available to an individual’s question on how to become a good manager. Yet, can act as a stepping stone to change your perspective towards career growth as it does to me.
I strongly believe that some of these tips are not only for managers but for individuals in most other roles too in various work environments. I would love to read your point of view too in the comments section if you can spare a minute of your valuable time. Cheers.