People management is your #1 priority now - unless you plan to get everything done all by yourself. If that’s your idea of a “good day at the office,” please read and heed the wisdom of Dr. Seuss in “I Love My Job”. (I seriously doubt if Dr. Seuss wrote it, but it sure sounds as if he did.)

On the organization chart, you’re now responsible for the “execution of a set of specific tasks or objectives that helps move the organization where it is going”.

How quickly and efficiently you get the job done depends on how well you manage yourself and those who report to you directly.

Start With Yourself

According to the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, self management means controlling your emotions across a spectrum of complex and demanding situations.

Emotionally, you are the result of years of conditioning. But now that you are in a new position, you need to be sure your emotions don’t get in your way, cloud your judgment, or distract you from what you need to do.

Then Focus on Your Team:
The Art and Science Part

The art is making your team members more effective than they would be without you. Create synergies by knowing your team members’ skills and strengths so you assign the right tasks to the right people at the right time.

The science is following the process – planning, organizing, directing and monitoring – for every task you are assigned. This process is the same whether you are in a large or small business, a government agency, a retail store, a manufacturing facility, a non-profit corporation or just a group of volunteers.

For any task:

  • Clearly understand each objective you need to achieve and communicate it clearly to your team members
  • Stick to the process (the four functions unique to your management role)
  • Use the right style in the right situations with the right people, and
  • Be able to call up the appropriate skills when needed

Always be aware of which function you are performing so the lines don’t get blurred and create confusion on your team. If you do your part well, your team will be there for you and take care of the rest!

Give Team Members What They Want Most:
A Style That Shows You Value Them

Study after study, year after year, clearly shows that feeling valued and being praised for their hard work is more important to working men and women than money - or anything else for that matter. Being valued and praised is what motivates your team members because that is what they want most.

There are a multitude of styles. Applying the K-I-S-S principle, I would recommend you focus on “The Big Three” as described by Paul Thornton, writing for The CEO Refresher: directing, discussing and delegating.

If there is anything about your style that will just drive your team up the wall - especially your more highly motivated and experienced members (who are your most valuable assets) - it is micromanaging them. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with ensuring they are doing what you assigned to them. Pitching in and helping would seem to show them your commitment and solid work ethic.

But, even though you mean well, your team members may feel you don’t trust them to do their jobs right and can feel devalued as a result.

Incorporate the Ability to Predict and/or React
Into Your Style

Predictive Management anticipates problems and prevents them from occurring in the first place. But when you do run into an unpredicted problem, which is inevitable, you need to be able to move into a Reactive mode.

No matter how valued your team members feel and no matter how much praise you lavish on them, an environment in which everyone has to move from problem to problem or from crisis to crisis, will wear you all down and sooner or later and is a sure recipe for burnout!

Management Skills
With the Biggest Payback

In my experience, these skills can be divided into three general categories, with some overlap among them:

  • Communication skills (negotiating, giving and receiving feedback, running an effective meeting, administering performance reviews, managing angry customers or employees, writing effective letters and emails, conducting business on the phone, reading body language, listening skills, the art of saying “no” etc.) Please link to business communication for discussions of these skills.

  • Interpersonal skills (expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly, speaking up when your needs are not being met, proactively asking for feedback, bringing conflict to the surface and getting it resolved, influencing how others think and act, collaborating instead of competing, shifting gears when relationships become unproductive, developing the ability to laugh even when you’d rather cry. Please link to professional development for a discussion of these skills.

Sidebar: Laughing and crying are said to be equally cathartic and good for the soul. But, at the office, laughing is definitely preferable!

  • Time and Stress management skills (These two are so closely linked, it’s the old “chicken and the egg” problem! Skills include, planning, delegation, organization, prioritization, time wasters, time savers, memory joggers, concentration, coping strategies, etc.) Please link to work life balance for a discussion of these skills.

Beware the “Queen Bee”

Is there a “Queen Bee” in your organization? This is one of the latest tags being applied to business women in executive positions. It refers to women who have broken “the granite ceiling”, and is not always meant as a compliment.

Researchers have found that women in senior or executive positions frequently view women below them on the org chart as a threat to their supremacy and/or competition so they treat them pretty harshly – overriding good performance appraisals, micro-managing them and saying uncomplimentary things about them in front of other managers.

The Queen Bee doesn’t seem to view men as a threat and therefore will be more lenient, forgiving and open with them more than she is with other women.

This research was conducted in southern Spain, but Americans were part of a series of “man on the street” interviews to gauge their reactions. Some of them were pretty funny, others were pretty scary!

In Summary

Have you ever noticed how rarely the word management stands alone? It is preceded by quality control, information, financial, sales, project, customer service, - the list goes on. These are all functions that are required within most organizations, even if only one or two people are responsible for all of them.

The key word is “people”. The success of every team or department rises or falls on how well its people perform.

I can’t stress it enough: take care of your people and the work will take care of itself!


Proceed to I LOVE MY JOB