Management is what creates and sustains an organisation. Without good management any business will struggle. The trouble is that there is much to learn. While continued learning is essential there are 10 skills that every manager needs if they are to succeed.
A manager you needs to be competent in business planning, project planning, workload planning and contingency planning. The better your planning the more likely you are to achieve what you want when managing.
Communication covers writing, speaking and listening. You must be competent in all 3 areas. What often happens is that managers focus on the speaking and writing aspects of communication and don’t focus enough on listening.
3. Decision Making
You might get a good view sitting on the fence. Your job as a manager is to get results. If you procrastinate and avoid taking decisions, nothing moves forward. You must be willing to take decisions and recognise that you will get a fair share of them wrong. Remember that even when you make the wrong decision there is a lot of learning too.
We all love doing certain things. Unfortunately as managers it is all too easy to hold on to tasks that they know they should no longer be doing. If you don’t start to delegate, you are likely to end up failing as a manager. Start small so that you reduce the perceived risk in your own mind from delegating.
5. Problem Solving
You and your team will encounter problems. Others will look to you as the manager to come up with solutions. Mastering problem solving will differentiate you from the team and show your boss that you can sort things out. In reality there’s no magic formula for problem solving. Often it just requires you to step back and be open minded.
Recruitment of staff is probably one of the single biggest financial investments that any business makes. If you don’t have this skill, get some training. It’s not that interviewing is actually that technically difficult. The challenge is that most managers don’t do it often enough to become really good at it.
Staff appraisal done well is a source of motivation. Make sure that you understand your organisation’s process, are thoroughly prepared and conduct appraisal meetings professionally. Avoid appraisal simply being a box ticking exercise and you will stand out as a manager.
8. Poor Performance Management
Sooner or later you will have an employee who is not performing. Deal with it early on, stating clearly the standards expected, where the employee is falling short and the improvements required. Make sure everything is written down and agreed with the employee. In tricky or complex cases seek advice from the Human Resources Department. The most important thing you have to remember is to focus on facts rather than opinions.
You are responsible for getting results through others. Keeping the team motivated, even when things are tough is essential. Simple things like saying thank you, praising and being positive can make a huge difference. In most studies it has been shown that money itself, once people feel they are fairly rewarded, is rarely a big motivator long term.
While many managers wish that the Finance Department will take care of everything, this is not reality. As a manager you spend lots of company money and may generate some of it. Start by thinking about how your actions and decisions impact on the finances of the business and you will be a step ahead of most. Truth is finance isn’t that complicated. Yes like every profession there are some strange rules. Ultimately though it’s about making the connection between what you do operationally and the money.
There are a host of skills to master as a manager. These, in my experience are 10 that you must have to prosper and realise your true potential. What would you add to the list?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.