What Makes For Effective Managers
April 20, 2022
A few weeks back, I wrote about what differentiates good and not-so-good leaders. Today I want to explore what makes one an effective manager.
Many of us have come across these different types of managers in our workplaces.
- Managers who are intellectually sharp but are toxic in dealing with people
- Great at engaging with people but very poor at getting work done.
- Individually competent but struggle with assigning work and delegating.
- Genial but power-hungry.
Management is both an art and a skill. It is a skill because there are different facets of management that have been codified for us to learn from. It is an art because there is no standard template to follow. What you do in any situation is unique to you based on your competence and experiences.
What are the key competencies anyone essaying a managerial role should display? Here are five types of capabilities/intelligence every manager should look to develop.
This pertains to the manager’s ability to understand people, relate to how they think and feel, practice empathy, align teammates to organizational goals, coach, mentor, create a positive environment for people to thrive, understand intra team dynamics and create a positive environment for people to thrive
Everyone works in some specific domain- sales, marketing, finance, operations, etc. Technical expertise involves having both a broad and deep understanding of any domain. Thanks to this understanding, the person knows how the different elements in the domain operate and can problem solve and guide others effectively.
This pertains to the ability to read signals from the environment, distinguish between noise and data, gather facts, glean insights, measure and track progress, see trends, make decisions based on careful analysis and predict outcomes.
Execution of any goals and deliverables involves the ability to plan, define processes, align people with processes, create feedback loops to check for inefficiencies, and build operating rituals where performance is tracked. Having operational intelligence is a must for effective execution.
This is the ability to understand the larger forces and play- like the economic, political, or technology disruptions- that could impact the organization. This big picture perspective helps the manager deal with ambiguity, identify new opportunities, front-run potential challenges, and lead effectively.