Brighton School of Business and Management August 2011 Student Newsletter
Contributions from you, our students, are very welcome if you have information, advice, website links, or ideas, that may be of help to other students, please send them to us.
Personal & Career Development Tip of the Month
In line with this month’s theme of Making a Success of Management, our tip of the month is to: devote some time to analysing your potential as a manager if you are not already one – analysing the style(s), skills, tools and techniques that you could be using if you are new to managing – analysing the effectiveness of your management-leadership approach if you are an experienced manager.
In all three situations, carry out a self-analysis, but make sure that you also ask for the opinion and advice of others – your colleagues, your team members, your line manager, and your mentor-coach if you have one.
Take into consideration all of these contributions and then draw up a strand of your professional development plan that is focused on learning about and applying the skills, tools, techniques, approaches, that are essential to managing effectively.
Making a Success of Management
This month’s newsletter offers some insights into the roles and responsibilities of the manager, and how to prepare for and make a success of moving into management, or, if you are an experienced manager, refreshing your understanding of, and approach to, management.
Common Management Misconceptions
Many new managers know that they’ll have to master a new set of skills, if they want to be successful. However, despite being prepared for the challenges ahead, they can come unstuck in unexpected ways.
Experienced managers already know of these essential skills, but sometimes struggle with the application of them.
Here we take a close look at seven aspects of a manager’s role that can be a surprise to new managers, and which can continue to trouble even experienced managers.
Being aware of and understanding the implications of these realities is essential in order for a manager to be effective.
One: You Can’t Run Everything in Detail
As a new manager, or an under-pressure experienced one, you first need to realize that you can’t be directly involved in every detail of every activity and project that your team is working on.
If you ignore this, work will bottleneck around you, you’ll become exceptionally stressed, and your team’s effectiveness will plummet.
So your perspective has to shift from getting things done yourself to getting things done through other people. (This sounds obvious – but many managers struggle with this!)
To avoid the problems associated with this:
· Learn how to delegate effectively.
· Only attend meetings that you really need to attend.
· Question whether you need to participate in tasks, or simply be informed of their outcomes.
· Be careful not to make too many decisions for people; when people come to you with a question, ask them what they recommend.
· Give people the guidance and resources that they need to do their jobs themselves.
This frees you to do the job of managing and leading your team – the reason you are there.
Two: Giving Orders is Costly
As a manager you need to work towards a situation where you don’t need to tell people what to do every time, and can, instead, trust them to make the right decisions, most of the time.
Some people may doubt their ability to make decisions. When this happens, they’re likely to come to you for approval of everything. This creates “manager dependency,” and can make you a decision-making bottleneck, potentially stalling your team’s progress.
In a similar way, overruling decisions or making last minute changes can waste a great deal of time and resource; and it can also undermine your people’s confidence.
To avoid the problems associated with this:
Communicate your organization’s vision and values, keep people informed, and train them so that they have the confidence to make decisions, based on what’s best for the organization.
Create systems and structures so that your people understand what needs to be done.
Endorse robust decision making tools, and teach people how to use them.
Let people know that mistakes are part of the development process, and that you’d rather they take some risks than be indecisive. (Clearly, this may not be suitable in all types of work, so use your best judgment.)
Recognize how placing trust in people can improve your team’s performance.
Three: It’s Hard to Know What Is Really Going On
No one wants to give his or her line manager or management team bad news. So, the reality is that by the time you get information, it won’t necessarily be reliable.
However, you need accurate information to manage effectively, so you’ll have to gather information from as many sources as possible.
To avoid the problems associated with this surprise:
Use Management By Walking Around. This keeps you in contact with your people, and allows you to see and hear what’s going on first-hand.
Talk to (internal and external) customers, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders, on a regular basis, and build strong relationships with these people.
Analyze all of your stakeholders, and communicate with them often to ensure that you know what they’re thinking.
Four: You’re Always Sending Out Messages
As a manager, your words and your actions hold a lot of weight. People may speculate about why you said or did something; and they’ll try to interpret whether your words or actions contained any hidden messages. Your mood will also affect your team, and everything that you say will be analyzed.
Managers lead by example, whether they want to or not. You need to be careful about the example that you’re setting, and be fully aware of the messages you’re sending – deliberate or not.
To avoid the problems associated with this:
Use simple, clear language when you communicate with people.
Double-check that people understand your message, and don’t assume that people have grasped the real meaning of what you’re communicating.
Think about your body language, and learn how to use it to convey the right message.
Use storytelling to communicate the messages that you want people to hear.
Be a good role model for your people, and lead by example.
Five: You Aren’t Always the Boss
Even though you are the leader of your team you aren’t the ultimate boss – decision maker. (Even a business owner is accountable to his or her customers.)
There will always be someone that you need to report to, be accountable to, or satisfy, so you can’t allow yourself to get caught up in your own importance.
As a manager, you should know who you need to keep informed, and you should work hard to gain the support of people around you. You will also need to manage upward, and be aware of how you stand with the people you report to.
You also can’t let the flow of information stop with you, just because you’re the manager.
To avoid the problems associated with this:
Learn how to develop effective relationships with influential people in your organization.
Find ways to collaborate with people that you report to, and to gain their trust.
Remember to share information and resources on a regular basis – both with your team, and with others.
Six: Pleasing Stakeholders is not Always the Goal
Stakeholders (shareholders, clients, customers, funding providers) typically have a short-term perspective, and may be totally profit or performance oriented. However, there are other longer-term considerations that can be more important than the goals of many stakeholders, and you need to be aware of these. For instance, should company profits outweigh safety concerns? Should you push your team to finish a project unfeasibly early, because your manager is putting pressure on you? If an executive is behaving inappropriately with one of your people, when should you decide that enough is enough?
Making this type of decision requires knowing who you are ultimately accountable to.
To avoid the problems associated with this surprise:
Take some time to understand your personal values, and how they fit with company values.
Understand the vision of the company and what it stands for. Make decisions based on that vision and those values. Reward team behavior that promotes these values.
Develop a clear strategy for your team, and ensure that it’s aligned with corporate strategy.
Attract and recruit people in your team who fit the vision and values of your organization.
Understand Value-Based Management – the concept that you should be aiming to achieve the best long-term value of your business, not sacrificing the future just to boost this quarter’s earnings or meet an inappropriate deadline.
Seven: You Are Still Only Human
As a manager you must remember that you are being trusted to manage a team of people and a range of activities, but your position alone doesn’t make you better or more capable than anyone else. You’ll continue to make mistakes, people around you will still have opinions that are different from yours, and many will be far more experienced and knowledgeable about certain specialisms than you are.
However, being a manager does make you more responsible, and you need to demonstrate this responsibility.
The transition to being an effective manager can be a challenge. But by being aware of these common misconceptions and the issues associated with them, you’ll increase your chances of being successful.
To avoid the problems associated with this:
Be humble and thankful, and reward the people around you who make you and your team look good.
Be accountable to yourself.
Use your emotional intelligence to remain connected with colleagues, family, and friends.
Work hard at being an effective manager and at being the best you can be.
* These seven aspects – seven surprises awaiting new managers – were first identified by Michael Porter, Jay Lorsch, and Nitin Nohria – more on this can be found at www.12manage.com and at www.entrepreneur.com
Core Skills Needed to Manage Your Team
Whether you are a new manager leading a team for the first time, or an experienced one asked to take on an existing team or build a new team, there are a number of essential steps that you should take in order to ensure that you manage the team effectively and that the team itself, and each individual within it, is effective and successful too.
Whether your team exists already, or it’s your responsibility to create a new one, there are some essential aspects that you must focus on if the team is to thrive and succeed.
What is management, exactly? And how does it differ from leadership?
Leadership involves creating a compelling vision of the future, communicating that vision, and helping people understand and commit to it.
Managers, on the other hand, are responsible for ensuring that the vision is implemented efficiently and successfully.
Of course, these two roles overlap – and, to be fully effective, you need to fulfill both roles.
However, the focus here is on the specific skills and responsibilities of managers, and on the tools available to them.
The Importance of Delegation
The top priority for team managers is delegation. No matter how skilled you are, there’s only so much you can achieve working on your own. With a team behind you, you can achieve so much more: that’s why it’s so important that you delegate effectively!Successful delegation starts with matching people and tasks, so you first need to understand fully what the team’s role and goals are. A good way of doing this is to put together a team charter, which sets out the purpose of the team and how it will work. Not only does this help you get your team off to a great start, it can also be useful in bringing the team back on track if it’s veering off course.
Only then will you be in a position to analyze the skills, experience and competencies within your team, and start matching people to tasks.
Motivating Your Team
Another key duty you have as a manager is to motivate team members.
Learn about or refresh your understanding of the Theory X and Theory Y model – two very different approaches to motivation, which depend on the fundamental assumptions that you make about the people who work for you. If you believe that they’re intrinsically lazy, you believe in Theory X, while if you believe that most are happy to work, you’ll tend towards Theory Y.
Make sure that you understand the theory behind this – it will fundamentally affect your success in motivating people.
Whatever approach you prefer to adopt, you also need to bear in mind that different people have different needs when it comes to motivation. Some individuals are highly self-motivated, while others will under-perform without managerial input.
Developing Your Team
Teams are made up of individuals who have different outlooks and abilities, and are at different stages of their careers. Some may find that the tasks you’ve allocated to them are challenging, and they may need support. Others may be “old hands” at what they’re doing, and may be looking for opportunities to stretch their skills. Either way, your responsibility as a manager is to develop all of your people.
Your skills in this aspect of management will define your long-term success as a manager. If you can help team members to become better at what they do, you will soon become known as a manager who other people want to work for, and you’ll be making a great contribution to your organization too.
The most effective way of developing your people is ensuring that you give regular feedback to members of your team on their work.
Many of us are nervous of giving feedback, especially when it has to be negative.
However, if you give and receive feedback regularly, everyone will come to benefit from improved performance.
If you are putting together a new team, or have to bring in number of new people into your team, then learn about, or refresh your understanding of, the development stages you can expect your team to go through. These are known as Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing stages.
Communicating and Working With Your Team – and With Others
Communication skills are essential for success in almost any role, but there are particular skills and techniques that you’ll use more as a manager than you did as a regular worker.
These skills fall under two headings: communicating with team members, and communicating with people outside your team. We’ll look at each in turn.
Communicating With People in Your Team
As a team manager, you’re likely to be chairing regular sessions as well as one-off meetings. Meeting of all kinds and regular ones in particular, are notorious for their capacity to waste people’s time, so it’s well worth mastering the skill of running effective meetings.
Many meetings include brainstorming sessions, and as team manager, you’ll often have to facilitate these, so you’ll need to be comfortable with how to do this. There’s more to it than simply coming up with creative ideas, as you do when you’re just a regular participant in such a session: learn how to run brainstorming sessions. Make sure that you understand where they can go wrong, and what you can do to avoid this. Active listening is another important skill for managers – and others – to master. When you’re in charge, it can be easy to think that you know what others are going to say, or that listening is less important because you’ve thought of a solution anyway. Don’t fall into this trap. Most good managers are active listeners: it helps them detect problems early (while they’re still easy to deal with), avoid costly misunderstandings, and build trust within their teams.
Communicating With People Outside Your Team
Your line manager is probably the most important person you need to communicate with.
Take time to understand fully what your manager wants from you and your team – if you know exactly what he/she likes, and how they prefer it to be delivered, you’ll be better able to meet with their approval.
Don’t be afraid to ask your manager to coach or mentor you: you can usually learn a lot from them, but they may not be proactive about offering this. If you’re approaching your manager for advice, make sure you’ve thought things through as far as you can. Introduce the subject with a summary of your thinking, and then say where you need help.
Also, as a manager, part of your job is to look after your team and protect it from unreasonable pressure. Learn skills like assertiveness and win-win negotiation so that you can either turn work away, or negotiate additional resources.
Another part of your job is to manage the way your team interacts with other groups. Use stakeholder analysis to identify the groups you need to deal with. Then talk to these people to find out what they want from you and what they can do to help you.
However much you hope you won’t ever have to do it, and however much feedback you give, there comes a time in most managers’ careers when they have to discipline an employee.
Discipline is different from basic feedback because it doesn’t always relate specifically to the employee’s specific work activity.
Obvious breaches of the law or of company policy are easy to identify and deal with, but some issues are more complex and emotionally charged, such as poor timekeeping, rudeness to others, continuing sub-standard performance, racism or discrimination.
It is often tempting to ignore an issue because you feel unsure as to how to deal with it, you can’t let things go that should be dealt with.
The simple rule is to consider whether the issue affects the quality of the employee’s required performance and-or behaviour level – as expected by you, the manager, and-or that employee’s colleagues, and-or any internal or external customers, and-or the overall policies of the organisation.
If the decision is that it does, then the issue must be dealt with.
To not deal with it would be irresponsible and cause irreparable harm to your team and to your reputation as an effective manager.
You must then: take a reasonable amount of time to gather information about the situation; ask for advice from specialists if necessary; decide what action you should take; then take that action.
Acting at the earliest opportunity is essential.
Discipline issues rarely go away of their own accord, and they usually get worse, often causing considerable unhappiness and resentment amongst other team members.
When you move into line management you need to develop a new set of skills, and make use of new tools and techniques.
If you are experienced but taking on a newly formed or larger or more specialist team, you need to review and refresh the skills, tools, and techniques that you use.
These will help you with the key management areas of organizing, motivating, developing and communicating with your team.
Make sure that you continually focus on delegating effectively, motivating the team, developing team members, communicating effectively with people inside and outside your team, and managing discipline effectively.
It’s a long list of areas to focus on, but all are equally essential
* from an article at www.mindtools.com
Four Essential Skills Managers Must Master
All managers can agree that many skills are needed to be an effective manager. But what skills are the most important skills that a manager needs to master?
Many argue that to be a more effective manager you must master four essential skills.
Communications, motivation, building trust and leadership are critical skills for every manager. These four skills are essential for a productive work environment, a cohesive and results oriented team and your success as a manager that can lead to more opportunities.
There are many methods of communications. Email, phone calls, conference calls, leaving voice mail, one-on-one, team meetings, small meetings, large meetings, and more. Learning to master each of these communications methods is essential to being a successful and effective manager.
Points on Communications:
By communicating regularly with team members one-on-one they will feel valued and connected.
Leadership is kept up-to-date about any issues. The last thing you want is you boss blindsided by something you did not tell them about.
You find out about issues or problems so you can take care of them. Be proactive and solve an issue before it becomes a problem.
A common mistake in communications is being too long or disorganized. Short and to the point is what you want. In one-on-one communications ask for feedback so you are sure they understood what you told them.
Communications also involves the fine art of listening. When someone is speaking to you give them your full attention. Ask questions so you are clear on what they are trying to communicate. Take notes to remember important points or tasks.
When there is something really important you need to talk about, such as a meeting with your boss or leadership plan it out before you meet.
Write down the points you want to get across, anticipate any questions that may be asked, and plan out what you will say.
Email is a common method of communications. Emails should be kept short and to the point. Break up points you want to get across into separate paragraphs. It makes it easier for the reader to comprehend your message.
Motivation is giving the support that is needed to get the work done. We are constantly given tough tasks, often that “must be done right away”. Being able to motivate a person or a team can be the difference between success and failure.
Points on Motivation:
You are giving the person or the team a reason to act. When the need arises you must be able to communicate why something needs to be done, who needs to do what and follow-up to make sure the job is getting done.
Just telling someone to do something is not enough. You need to give them enthusiasm about the task and get them to commit to it.
When something is not being done the right you need to motivate the person or team to do it the right way. Motivating requires that you explain what the problem is, why it is the wrong way, how it should be done, and follow-up to make sure it is being done the right way.
Motivation is not using your authority, fear or threats to get what you need. It is about using your influence to persuade someone to do something.
Show your appreciation for a job well done. Sometimes a simple “great job” or “thank you” will do. Also consider highlighting their achievement to others.
Building trust with the people you deal with not only improves your reputation, but it leads to successful outcomes. You want the team member, the team, your boss and your leadership to know that you can be counted on.
Points on Building Trust
You build trust by displaying your ability, your expertise, your commitment and your competence.
You build trust by achieving results. People know they can count on you to get the job done and team members will want to share in the success.
Maintain a “can do” attitude towards everything you do.
Build trust by mentoring. Show that you care about personal development.
Share credit for the work done in particular in a team environment.
Keep stakeholders informed. If you are not going to have a task completed in time let people know. It built trust that people can depend on you to let them know about issues that can affect them.
Adopting a Leadership Approach
If you are a manager you are a leader. Most leaders are made, not born, and being a leader involves a never ending process of improving yourself to become a better leader.
For a manager leadership is about influencing others to accomplish a common goal.
Points on Leadership
Leadership is not about standing on the hill and directing, but getting down in the trenches and helping others get the job done. Managers who show active participation help build trust and confidence in the team which leads to the overall success of the project or initiative.
Leaders should be able to clearly share their vision and their goals with others.
Leaders must delegate responsibility, but must be accountable.
Leaders must be able to influence others, not by rules or force, but by persuasion.
Leaders drive change. A leader must be the one to stand up and say this needs to be changed and this is how we are going to do it.
A leader is innovative, inspirational, influential and looks beyond the horizon with a long-term perspective.
You need to create an environment where all team members can reach their highest potential.
* from a series of articles at www.itmanagersinbox.com
Integrating Leadership Behaviour into your Management Approach
For those new to management this article is one to read and remember, but to put aside until you are confident about the basic skills of effective management discussed above.
For experienced managers, the approaches discussed below should be seriously considered as being essential to the development of your management skills and style into a rounded, holistic approach that includes effective leadership behaviours.
Management v Leadership
The difference between Leaders and Managers is question that has created great debate amongst management thinkers for centuries. Today we are clearer about what attributes leaders and managers should have, but we also know that certain characteristics, skills, attributes, behaviours, displayed by successful leaders are not only found in leaders, but in effective managers, and vice versa.
Most will agree that there are many areas where leaders and managers behave in similar ways. However, given that there is now some consensus at least on a core set of attributes of leaders, it can be of great advantage to managers, at all levels, to adopt some, if not all, of these.
The result, argued here, is that by adopting the known behaviours of leaders, managers will be more effective, more productive, and provide better support for those they manage. In essence, they will become manager-leaders, leading locally, within the operational activity areas of the organisation.
Understand What Leadership Is
On a simple level, a leader can be defined as a person who, through their presence and behaviour persuades others to carry out activity that they would not normally do, or had believed was not possible, or that they would normally resist doing.
This includes specific actions, but also includes achieving higher levels of quality and productivity, and higher levels of morale and motivation. If the outcome of this activity is positive, the people will have achieved results that would not have been achieved without the leader’s leadership. If the outcome is negative, then at least the people made every effort to achieve the desired outcome.
In terms of an individual leader, the evidence of leadership is found when others, individuals, teams, or groups, change their behaviour due to the actions and behaviour of that leader. At the executive, organisational level, leadership is usually identified with the ability of the senior, executive management team, sometimes a single person, to motivate the employees at all levels to contribute to the best of their ability to the achievement of the organisation’s objectives.
Looking at these three layers of leadership, most now argue that these characteristics, these outcomes, should be expected of managers at all levels.
Below, we identify the core behaviours that leaders display, and offer them as behaviours that all managers should adopt.
Undertake Continuous Personal Development
This is now the responsibility of all managers and all leaders, at all levels. Continuous personal, professional development is an essential aspect of effective management and-or leadership. The most successful leaders commit themselves to being up to date with business developments in their field and related fields, and having current, appropriate qualifications. In essence, they continuously develop themselves to ensure that they the knowledge, understanding, and expertise required to carry out their responsibilities.
Support Continuous Development Of Others
Leaders understand that the organisations and teams that they lead, that they have responsibility for, need to perform to the best of their ability, and that the demands on them will increase in line with the pace of change experienced by the organisation. To achieve this, a successful leader will actively and visibly support and promote a policy and rolling action plan that ensures all employees, all individuals, take part in continuous personal and professional development activity. The benefits of this are well established, and from the leader’s point of view, this approach is essential in providing the leader with appropriately skilled, knowledgeable and motivated people.
In all individuals, teams, sections, departments, and organisations, there is a massive amount of unused, but valuable, information. This knowledge, of relationships with clients, customers, and suppliers, reasons for and impact of past decisions, facts, figures, trends, assumptions, successful and unsuccessful projects and initiatives, and so on, is often lying idle, unknown and invisible. It is a wasted resource. An effective leader will understand the new discipline of Knowledge Management and find ways to draw out this information, this knowledge, and make use of it. An effective manager will learn how to bring local knowledge to the surface and make good use of it. Often, this can be as simple as asking individuals and teams to explain, describe, divulge, the information they have, for example on causes and reasons for current problems or issues.
Promote Visible Decision Making
At any level of management or leadership, the decision-making process must run smoothly and visibly. It is important that the decisions are appropriate and produce positive results, but equally important is the need to make the process as transparent as possible. This raises the confidence in the decision makers, and generates support for decisions taken and action needed to implement or support them. A good leader will make sure that: systems and processes provide the decision makers with the information they need; make it clear who is taking a decision; make it clear why a decision was made; and provide sufficient resources for the implementation of action to be successful. In addition, the thoughtful leader will push decision making responsibilities down to the lowest level possible, thereby giving empowerment to individuals and teams at a local level.
Build a Partnership Culture
An underpinning strategy of many successful leaders is to adopt a team, partnership approach as a foundation stone of their leadership style. Making all participants feel that they are part of a team, and important partners in making the organisation successful. Integral to this is the building of relationships and trust. This is not to say the leader becomes friendly or intimate with the teams and partners. Rather, they ensure that relationships are built on openness, honesty, mutual understanding, the sharing of knowledge, and the joint will to create and profit from a successful partnership. This approach, accompanied by other tactics such as listening, praising, transparency of decision making, will generate a collective desire to achieve success. With this positive force supporting operational activity and change implementation, the manager or leader will face fewer problems and be personally motivated by the visible support of others.
Show That You Care
To be a successful leader it is necessary to show that you, personally, have conviction, that you are committed, enthusiastic, motivated, and that you care about the outcome of the activity, the project, the initiative, the strategy, that you are leading. Allied to this is the need to show that you care for your people. Even in times of conflict and war, despite the human losses, the individuals killed or maimed, great leaders have demonstrated that they cared for their people, and were saddened by the losses. In business, the most successful leaders show that they care about their people and find a number of ways to demonstrate that.
Understand Leadership Styles
Most managers will have studied, albeit briefly, leadership styles as an element of their management training. Established leadership teaching now includes reference to the following styles: Laissez Faire, Autocratic, Participative, Consultative, Situational, Emergent, Transactional, Transformational, Charismatic, Visionary, Strategic, Influence Oriented, Cross-Cultural, Coaching, Servant.
Most managers, sadly, will never look at these again. This is a serious error, because, dependent on the situation, each one of these styles can be appropriate, are available, and highly useful, to all managers. Whilst one or two of the established leadership styles will be used by default by most managers, there is great merit in studying and reflecting on those, and the other styles. Even the hybrid style followed by most managers, usually a blend of consultative and participative, can be damaging if used incorrectly or at inappropriate times. The other styles should be studied in depth also, so that when used, which they inevitably will be, they are used thoughtfully and correctly, producing positive results rather than conflict or negative outcomes.
It is clear that leadership behaviours can be adopted successfully by managers. Though it may not be possible for managers at certain levels, or in certain situations, to make use of all of these behaviours, most managers will be able to integrate many of these into their management approach.
To all managers reading this article, we recommend that you learn more about leadership styles and behaviours, and integrate them into your own approach.
Study Resources of the Month
Stettner – The New Manager’s Handbook (McGraw Hill 2002) ISBN: 978-0071413343
Owen – How to Manage: The Art of Making Things Happen (Prentice Hall 2009) ISBN: 978-0273726982
Radcliffe – Leadership: Plain and Simple (Financial Times 2009) ISBN: 978-0273730897
Quotes from the Gurus
The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work – Agha Hasan Abedi
Leaders are more powerful role models when they are seen to be learning, than when they teach – Madhura Pandit
To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where they are going – Joe Namath
To lead the orchestra you must turn your back on the crowd – Max Lucado
Golden Rule of Management: in everything you do, manage others the way you would like to be managed – Brian Tracy