Management for beginners: Focus, prioritise, delegate Management for beginners: Focus, prioritise, delegate

Management for beginners: Focus, prioritise, delegate
27 Oct 2017

Just starting out in a management role is possibly one of the most exciting times of your career. It offers potential opportunities not only to grow and change, but also to have a positive influence on other people and their ability to succeed.

But it is also a time when you may feel at your least confident, particularly if you have been promoted from within the team. Playing the role of friend one day and manager the next is a difficult transition for most people.

Based on experience, observation and from coaching clients, it becomes evident that one way to make the transition easier is to be clear as to what success looks like for your department, your manager, your clients and, of course, yourself. A change in mindset is a must. Here is some advice to help you make the shift:

1. Do not try to please everyone all of the time or you will end up pleasing no one

As a team member, a key aim is to get the job done and please those around you, ranging from your line manager and colleagues to customers. But as a manager yourself, you need to filter information and focus your energies.

Your team will be there to support you, but it is important to concentrate on activities that will have the greatest impact and generate a return on investment for you, your department and the wider business.

2. Make time to think about your priorities

If as a new manager you have been given new responsibilities but are also expected to continue undertaking your previous workload, the key challenge you will face is time management.

If you are dropping various tasks linked to your previous position, it will be necessary to work out what to delegate in order to give you sufficient time to concentrate on your new role.

But delegating some (if not all) of the tasks linked to your previous position can be one of the hardest things for a new manager to do. You may feel that no one can do the job as well or as quickly as you can - and lots of other things besides. But ensuring you focus clearly on the essentials will enable you to rebalance your own and your team’s workloads accordingly.

The law of balance dictates that whenever you give something up, you will receive something else in return. So within the work environment, if you sacrifice some of your previous tasks, it will free up time to take on important activities related to your new role.

These activities should be prioritised to ensure success. But remember that failing to delegate effectively to others will have a negative impact on your work-life balance, which not only sets a bad example to staff but can also lead to burnout.

3. Set goals and delegate

Learning how to delegate is key. But an important part of the process is setting goals for the person or people you are delegating to in order to give them direction. It is also vital to jointly set objectives with members of your team in order to help them achieve their aims. As a manager, a key element of your role is to guide staff towards success. To this end, you need to be able to recognise the talents, skills, attitudes and behaviours of each team member and to harness them positively and effectively.

Simply telling people what you want and how to carry out the tasks in question is not a particularly motivational approach. But working with them on how they plan to achieve any given aim will generate more buy-in. Nonetheless, there will undoubtedly be times when it will be necessary to inform your team of their goals and how to achieve them due to their complexity and/or time constraints.

Whatever the situation though, having carefully thought-through and clear aims is vitally important - and how you word that aim can make the difference between success and failure.

Developing a clear picture of what you want the end result to look like will stand you in good stead, but for new managers trying to see the big picture can feel overwhelming.

As a result, as you begin to think about goals, it may initially be worth focusing on the known. This means, for example, setting goals based on delegating some of your current tasks.

Because you have been undertaking them yourself, the point of each of these tasks should be clear to you. This situation, in turn, should make it easier to explain the aim to members of your team and, therefore, is a good starting point.

 

 

Margo Manning, author of A Step-Up Mindset For New Managers, has worked in the development arena for more than 25 years. As one of the UK’s top leadership and management coaches and facilitators, she also has 15 years’ experience of delivering talks. Margo developed the “3:2 Management Model” and subsequent “3:2 Management Development Programme”, which have been adopted by organisations both large and small. She works with managers ranging from the new to the senior in companies such as Goldman Sachs, the Brunswick Group and Balfour Beatty.

Just starting out in a management role is possibly one of the most exciting times of your career. It offers potential opportunities not only to grow and change, but also to have a positive influence on other people and their ability to succeed.

But it is also a time when you may feel at your least confident, particularly if you have been promoted from within the team. Playing the role of friend one day and manager the next is a difficult transition for most people.

Based on experience, observation and from coaching clients, it becomes evident that one way to make the transition easier is to be clear as to what success looks like for your department, your manager, your clients and, of course, yourself. A change in mindset is a must. Here is some advice to help you make the shift:

1. Do not try to please everyone all of the time or you will end up pleasing no one

As a team member, a key aim is to get the job done and please those around you, ranging from your line manager and colleagues to customers. But as a manager yourself, you need to filter information and focus your energies.

Your team will be there to support you, but it is important to concentrate on activities that will have the greatest impact and generate a return on investment for you, your department and the wider business.

2. Make time to think about your priorities

If as a new manager you have been given new responsibilities but are also expected to continue undertaking your previous workload, the key challenge you will face is time management.

If you are dropping various tasks linked to your previous position, it will be necessary to work out what to delegate in order to give you sufficient time to concentrate on your new role.

But delegating some (if not all) of the tasks linked to your previous position can be one of the hardest things for a new manager to do. You may feel that no one can do the job as well or as quickly as you can - and lots of other things besides. But ensuring you focus clearly on the essentials will enable you to rebalance your own and your team’s workloads accordingly.

The law of balance dictates that whenever you give something up, you will receive something else in return. So within the work environment, if you sacrifice some of your previous tasks, it will free up time to take on important activities related to your new role.

These activities should be prioritised to ensure success. But remember that failing to delegate effectively to others will have a negative impact on your work-life balance, which not only sets a bad example to staff but can also lead to burnout.

3. Set goals and delegate

Learning how to delegate is key. But an important part of the process is setting goals for the person or people you are delegating to in order to give them direction. It is also vital to jointly set objectives with members of your team in order to help them achieve their aims. As a manager, a key element of your role is to guide staff towards success. To this end, you need to be able to recognise the talents, skills, attitudes and behaviours of each team member and to harness them positively and effectively.

Simply telling people what you want and how to carry out the tasks in question is not a particularly motivational approach. But working with them on how they plan to achieve any given aim will generate more buy-in. Nonetheless, there will undoubtedly be times when it will be necessary to inform your team of their goals and how to achieve them due to their complexity and/or time constraints.

Whatever the situation though, having carefully thought-through and clear aims is vitally important - and how you word that aim can make the difference between success and failure.

Developing a clear picture of what you want the end result to look like will stand you in good stead, but for new managers trying to see the big picture can feel overwhelming.

As a result, as you begin to think about goals, it may initially be worth focusing on the known. This means, for example, setting goals based on delegating some of your current tasks.

Because you have been undertaking them yourself, the point of each of these tasks should be clear to you. This situation, in turn, should make it easier to explain the aim to members of your team and, therefore, is a good starting point.

 

 

Margo Manning, author of A Step-Up Mindset For New Managers, has worked in the development arena for more than 25 years. As one of the UK’s top leadership and management coaches and facilitators, she also has 15 years’ experience of delivering talks. Margo developed the “3:2 Management Model” and subsequent “3:2 Management Development Programme”, which have been adopted by organisations both large and small. She works with managers ranging from the new to the senior in companies such as Goldman Sachs, the Brunswick Group and Balfour Beatty.