At the start of a new year it is always good to take stock, reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year and consider how we can improve for the coming year. Here at T2 Consulting I have been thinking about being a manager and how it is one of those jobs that can be seen as a natural progression from team member, but how little attention is given to what that means for the new manager and also their team. The previous dynamic is inevitably changed but more importantly a team member doesn’t just transform from being a ‘team member’ into being a ‘manager’. Even though there are many management training courses to choose from, a manager only really learns to be a manager over time and through experience. And it is a learning experience that is never finished: every situation is subjective and there is always something new to learn from every experience.
In the spirit of continual improvement and the age-old tradition of the New Year Resolution, I want to share with you my own light-hearted perceptions of what makes a good manager (or a bad one!), which I have formulated slowly over many years of working in a variety of environments. Although my managerial perspective is in IT and technical support, I hope my observations will strike a chord in other sectors as generic principles. As I write this I look forward to continuing to learn, and perhaps revise my current opinions as time goes by, but in the meantime here is my first instalment of what I think it means to be a manager.
Why a manager?
If you are a manager, by definition you have a team of people reporting to you. As their manager you are responsible for managing their output towards the collective purpose of your organisation. This means that you are there to enable them to do their job, not the other way around. Without the team your job doesn’t exist. They are not there to make you look good; you are there because they are adding value to the organisation. It follows therefore that if they are perceived to be not adding value to the organisation this is your fault. If they are adding value to the organisation then you are allowed to bask in their reflected glory.
Given this reality then, it is in your interests to do everything in your power to enable your team to fulfil their job descriptions to the best of their ability. If they need some information, get them the information. If they need better tools, get them better tools. If they have a problem, help them to solve it. Their problem is your problem. Ask them what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
Happy New Year and Happy New Year Resolution. Instalment number 2 coming soon!