In business and industry, the job of a manager may apparently seem to be complex, though, believe me, it is inherently simple. One may tend to perceive that a manager's job is to organize, coordinate, command and control. This was the old adage. Now, times have changed.
As a manager you may find yourself engaging in a multitude of activities such as – giving directions, allocating resources, assigning tasks, making judgments, giving opinions, detecting problems & mistakes, finding solutions, taking decisions, providing for training & skill development of team, negotiating commitments, etc., etc. A good manager carries out all of these activities with a clear focus towards the objectives and goals of his/her organization.
Business goals are not static. People do not always conform to plans and do not like to be controlled. Activities do not always proceed the way they were planned. Solutions to old problems need not necessarily be the same as they were in the past. The ways and means of management, therefore, require a continuous review and newer approach to taking decisions and solving problems. It is a very well known cliché that - Good managers are not born, they are made. But, what exactly do we mean when we say that they are made?
A good manager today would shed off the old ways of approaching, decision making and solving problems. A good manager would evolve with experience of business and the realities of the workplace. He/she will be eager to learn and improve by keenly observing, practicing, thinking and re-thinking, experimenting, and continually questioning. He/she will find answers from within the people and processes that he/she is engaged in, and will grow in stature and managerial skill largely from his/her encounters with people and problems. The text book knowledge that you would have picked up from business school has lesser role to play in managerial success.
One of the most important activities of a manager is taking timely decisions – whether right or wrong. How do you ensure that you make more right decisions than wrongs? As a manager you are always faced with multiple options and the success in making a right decision lies in the correctness with which you weigh the options. Objectivity is the key. Shed off your personal biases and prejudices. Take opinions of team members. Do not hesitate in consulting other managers to get their perspective. One would say that the more people you engage/consult, the better it is. However, you need to draw a line somewhere. You cannot endlessly while away seeking too many opinions. Time is the essence and further, too many opinions can also create confusion. Successful decision makers also believe in delegation. As a manager you need not take all the decisions – delegate certain decision making to your team members. Which ones to delegate and which ones to not delegate is where your intelligence creeps in. You should engage more in making generic and strategic decisions and your team members should engage more in making decisions which are more technical in nature. However, this is not a thumb rule. Certain technical decisions may have a high impact and you cannot afford for it to go wrong, especially when you are leading a design & engineering team or handling a technical project.
Management has more to do with people and less to do with systems. A good manager has to bring together people to work and achieve his/her organization's objectives and goals. Choosing the right set of people, knowing their individual strengths and weaknesses and accordingly assigning tasks, is an important activity that a good manager would never take lightly. If you are able to build a good team of people, you are recognized in your organization as a good leader. Remember, there is a very thin line between good manager and good leader and essentially, a good manage is a good leader as well.
Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of premier engineering colleges & management institutes, and IT professionals.
Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & Web Services Worldwide. He has hands-on experience of building variety of websites and business applications, that include - SaaS based erp & e-commerce systems, and cloud deployed operations management software for health-care, manufacturing and other industries.