An Introduction to Management

What is Management?

As you might expect a simple Google search brings up many definitions to help answer the question, ‘What is Management?’. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on the one below. It’s a good one and one of the most widely quoted.

Management is the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organised groups”

Harold Koontz (Organisational Theorist and former Professor of Business Management at the University of California).

What are some of the key skills a manager must have?

Effective communication skills.

Pay attention to the words you choose, the tone of voice you use and the body language you express. The picture below shows the power of body language when we are seeking to communicate with others.

It’s also critical to remember a golden rule of effective communication. It’s not communication if it’s not a two-way process. Check that whoever your message was intended for has listened and understood.

The ability to develop and lead a team

A good manager leads and develops their team so all can be more productive which will ultimately lead to increased profitability for the business.

As you’d expect there many models, theories and instruction manuals on how to do this but we’ve always found John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model to be a good way of simplifying manager responsibilities in this area.

To be able to lead meetings effectively

There are some simple steps managers can take when preparing for, and leading meetings:

  • Ensure that the objective of the meeting is clearly communicated beforehand
  • Provide a clear agenda to all meeting participants
  • At the beginning of the meeting agree on any ground rules, rules of engagement etc
  • Use ‘effective communication’ to ensure all meeting participants can contribute fully
  • Follow up on any agreed actions in a timely manner once the meeting has been completed
To be able to handle difficult situations

All managers will be faced with a difficult situation on occasion. What’s important is how they deal with them:

  • Don’t avoid the situation however tempting that might be
  • If possible, give yourself time to gather thoughts, facts etc. before confronting the situation
  • Don’t lose focus on what you want to achieve by handling your difficult situation. Always keep the end in mind
  • Listen, ask lots of questions, clarify your understanding, articulate your feelings, decisions etc. clearly and concisely (effective communication)
  • Follow up on the situation later to ensure no residual difficulties remain
Self- Management

Self-management is one of the domains of emotional intelligence. Also known as discipline. This involves controlling or redirecting our disruptive emotions and adapting to change circumstances in order to keep relationships moving forward positively.

To be future-focused
  • Whatever we do as managers, it’s vital that we remain focused on where the business is heading and how we can ensure our team are able to help it to get there
  • Communicate and reinforce the business strategy regularly
  • Ensure team and individual objectives are aligned to the business strategy
  • Think about how you and your team can continuously seek out opportunities for development in order to increase contribution to business performance including profitability

This video gives some more detail around management in a business environment.