Being an effective manager in the American economy is certainly no easy task. But effective management is the key to a successful business. And successful businesses are the key to a vibrant American economy.
Being an effective manager in the American economy is certainly not an easy task. The job I consider my first real job was as manager of a print shop at the age of 19. I’ve since worked for myself in numerous ventures, as well as worked a variety of jobs in fields from fast food to engineering, manufacturing, programming, and even defense contracting.
My having been a manger made me keenly aware of what the demands of a manager are. And in my various careers, I have observed many traits of many managers. Some were good managers, others were terribly bad. Having been on both sides, I have some advice to give those who wish to improve their ability to manage. This advice also applies to those who work in upper management who desire to be more successful than their competition. The following then, are five characteristics of an effective manager:
By far, my most important observation was that of the perspective of a manager. When I worked at an engineering manufacturer, I had the best manager one could ask for. He believed that a manager is not a manager of people, but rather of resources. A manager isn’t a boss. He or she facilitates the needs of those hired to do the actual work. This attitude, this perspective, is what makes a manager effective far more than any other characteristic. Of course, such a perspective must be shared by upper management for it to be effective. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, and my brilliant manager stepped down as a result. Our effectiveness and productivity suffered as a result.
Competence and Intelligence
Along with the right attitude, a manager must be competent and intelligent. Unfortunately, American culture seems to ignore and perhaps admonish intelligence, even among managers. And if a manager is not as intelligent as those in his or her department, such as at my engineering job (we were all more intelligent than one manager), then the manager should acknowledge this and act accordingly. Again, acknowledging the proper role of a manager is vital to this.
The ability to relate well to members of the department is also quite essential to effective management. Management responsibility includes conflict management, as well as motivation; both of which require effective people skills. An effective manager doesn’t need authority to get things done or end conflicts when he or she has a good relationship with all department employees.
Confidence can easily come from the right perspective, intelligence, and competence, but is vital to effective management. Given that a manager is responsible for facilitating the work of those in the department who actually do the work, confidence comes from knowing a manager is fully capable of putting everthing together so that the department operates most effectively. Learn your place, your department’s place, and the value of the department and its workers, and a manager won’t have any difficulty with confidence.
Sense of Responsibility
With the right perspective on management should also come a genuine sense of responsibility for the position of manager. Knowing that one is responsible for making sure the department gets things done is the best motivator. Simply believing that people should listen to you and do what you say is the worst way to manage. A manager is held responsible for making sure the work gets done by the upper management. A sense of responsibility frees the manager to understand what it takes for workers to do their job, rather than being bogged down by a believe that a manager is a ruler.
A manager at any level from the CEO to the person who manages the mail room should each be able to understand how these characteristics are important for effective management. Imagine how much more competetitive a company can be when employees know they are the company’s most important assets, and when managers understand that they are there to facilitate the employees’ ability to do what needs to be done to make a company successful.