Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
–PETER DRUCKER, FATHER OF MODERN MANAGEMENT THEORY
Much had been made in business school of “scientific management” and the need for highly educated, professionally trained mangers. In reality, you can’t learn to be a competent manager in a classroom—beyond a few simple principles, it’s a skill best learned through experience.
Management is simple, but not simplistic. In essence, Management is the act of coordinating a group of people to achieve a specific Goal while accounting for ever-present Change and Uncertainty (both discussed later). It’s like taking the helm of a ship during a storm: all you can do is move the wheel back and forth, which is simple, but it takes experience and skill to do it well.
Based on what we’ve learned thus far, here are six simple principles of effective real-world Management:
- Recruit the smallest group of people who can accomplish what must be done quickly and with high quality. Comparative Advantage means that some people will be better than others at accomplishing certain tasks, so it pays to invest time and resources in recruiting the best team for the job. Don’t make that team member beyond a core of three to eight people a drag on performance. Small, elite teams are best.
- Clearly communicate the desired End Result, who is responsible for what, and the current status. Everyone on the team must know the Commander’s Intent of the project, the Reason Why it’s important, and must clearly know the specific parts of the project they’re individually responsible for completing—otherwise, you’re risking Bystander Apathy.
- Treat people with respect. Consistently using the Golden Trifecta—appreciation, courtesy, and respect—is the best way to make the individuals on your team feel Important and is also the best way to ensure that they respect you as a leader and manager. The more your team works together under mutually supportive conditions, the more Clanning will naturally occur, and the more cohesive the team will become.
- Create an Environment where everyone can be as productive as possible, then let people do their work. the best working Environment takes full advantage of Guiding Structure—provide the best equipment and tools possible and ensure that the reinforces the work the team is doing. To avoid having energy sapped by the Cognitive Switching Penalty, shield your team from as many distractions as possible, which includes nonessential bureaucracy and meetings.
- Refrain from having unrealistic expectations regarding certainty and prediction. Create an aggressive plan to complete the project, but be aware in advance that Uncertainty and the Planning Fallacy mean your initial plan will almost certainly be incomplete or inaccurate in a few important respects. Update your plan as you go along, using what you learn along the way, and continually reapply Parkinson’s Law to find the shortest feasible path to completion that works, given the necessary Trade-offs required by the work.
- Measure to see if what you’re doing is working—if not, try another approach. One of the primary fallacies of effective Management is that it makes learning unnecessary. This mind-set assumes your initial plan should be 100 percent and followed to the letter. The exact opposite is true: effective Management means planning for learning, which requires constant adjustments along way. Constantly Measure your performance across a small set of Key Performance Indicators (discussed later)—if what you’re doing doesn’t appear to be working, Experiment with another approach.
Do these well, and your team will be highly productive. Do them poorly, and you’ll be fortunate to get anything useful done at all.
This Article is taken from The Personal MBA
Written by Arshad. A