Management Basics

Management basics - Are you managing well ?
Management is the process of getting activities completed efficiently and effectively with and through other people.

It aims at improving the efficiency of people and infrastructure by proper planning, organization, direction and monitoring. Management is categorized by different branches of business viz. Sales management, employee management, finance management etc.

We need to recognize that leadership and management are two different functions. Leadership promotes new directions while management executes existing directions as efficiently as possible.

Goals of management/manager(s): The goal (function) of management is to get the best return on resources (time, money, people) by getting things done efficiently. Looking at the big picture, following are the goals of management:

1. Make people/system more effective: The prime goal of management is to improve the efficiency of existing setup (a team of people, an infrastructure) by getting more results in less time.

2. Plan: Good management starts with good planning. Proper prior planning prevents poor performance. Without a plan you will never succeed. If you happen to make it to the goal, it will have been by luck. First understand and set the goal and then calculate how to best achieve the set goal. It is important to weigh available options to select the most efficient one.

3. Organize: Now the plan has to be implemented. You need to check if the existing setup is capable of handling their part in the plan and if they have everything they need to perform their roles efficiently. Also, how will the people (or teams) working on different parts of the plan co-ordinate with each other. An important and basic step is to ensure every individual understand their role and how they contribute to the overall success of the plan.

4. Direct/delegate: Tell the people when and what they need to do in clear, easy to understand instructions. If they need, individuals should be provided with the tools they need to perform well.

5. Monitor: Just assigning a task to someone doesn't mean it is being done. Every individual, once assigned a task, has to be monitored periodically to ensure the plan is being executed properly. If not, the manager will be able to work on the backup plan to ensure minor problems do not hinder with the functioning of the team/infrastructure.

Where/Why is management required: To ensure results are achieved in timely and efficient manner. Management skills are required at all levels - from an individual managing himself to a CEO managing a staff of hundreds of employees. Management, as described above, ensures work is done without errors and delays.

How to 'not' manage - common management mistakes:

1. Not making the transition from worker to manager: A Manager requires a different set of skills - people management, planning and organizational skills. Many talented employees fail to perform well in a management role simply because they're not able to change their mindset/attitude from a worker's to a manager's.

2. Not setting clear goals and expectations: When people do not know the result to aim for, they often perform sluggishly and do not co-ordinate well with other team(s) members. Clearly defining the goal ensures there is no time wasted in non-productive activities.

3. Failing to delegate: Even if you could, doing everything on your own isn't the most efficient use of your time or talent as a manager. Proper delegation makes an overwhelmingly huge task easy to accomplish since it divides the responsibility. Besides, it also allows for a better quality of work since there are inviduals dedicated to performing a set of duties without making mistakes and in a timely manner.

4. Failing to learn: Successful managers learn from their mistakes and they always take time and effort to upgrade their skills. This enables them to successfully lead not only existing employees but new ones as well.

5. Taking it too seriously: Yes, this is very important. Manager should make the job look easy and fun to do. Relaxed employees give better results than the frustated ones.

The goal of management is to ensure better results are achieved on time and efficiently. The role of a manager is to plan, organize, direct/delegate and monitor. Successfull managers clearly define the goals to aim for, communicate well with their teams and always upgrade themselves to keep up with improvments in technology and changing requirements.