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How To Be A Better Manager

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Smiling businesswomen in discussion in office
Thomas Barwick/ Iconica/ Getty Images

Earlier, we did a Letterman-like top ten list - How To Tell If You Are Management Material. Here are some key skills and abilities that help anyone be a better manager.

Need For Good Managers Increasing

The need for good managers is not going away. It is intensifying. With ‘flatter’ organizations and self-directed teams becoming common; with personal computers and networks making information available to more people more quickly; the raw number of managers needed is decreasing. However, the need for good managers, people who can manage themselves and others in a high stress environment, is increasing.

I believe anyone can be a good manager. It is as much trainable skill as it is inherent ability; as much science as art. Here are some things that make you a better manager:

As a person:

  • You have confidence in yourself and your abilities. You are happy with who you are, but you are still learning and getting better.
  • You are something of an extrovert. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you can’t be a wallflower. Management is a people skill - it’s not the job for someone who doesn’t enjoy people.
  • You are honest and straight forward. Your success depends heavily on the trust of others.
  • You are an includer not an excluder. You bring others into what you do. You don’t exclude other because they lack certain attributes.
  • You have a ‘presence’. Managers must lead. Effective leaders have a quality about them that makes people notice when they enter a room.

On the job:

  • You are consistent, but not rigid; dependable, but can change your mind. You make decisions, but easily accept input from others.
  • You are a little bit crazy. You think out-of-the box. You try new things and if they fail, you admit the mistake, but don’t apologize for having tried.
  • You are not afraid to “do the math”. You make plans and schedules and work toward them.
  • You are nimble and can change plans quickly, but you are not flighty.
  • You see information as a tool to be used, not as power to be hoarded.

Take a look at yourself against this list. Find the places where you can improve and then get going. And , if you need help, remember that's what this site is all about - Helping new managers get started and experienced managers get better.

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