Do you want to be a manager?

feeton desk

Most people enter into their business careers with ambition. Everyone wants to grow and achieve something. However, as the years go by, for some the ambition turns to disillusion, and they get stuck. Others cling onto the ambition and drive fore something more, and for many in business that something more is to be a manager.

In this article I would like to define what exactly it is to be a manager. To attempt to put aside some of the myths and really add an element of reality, so that young people in business understand what they are aspiring towards and what they will be getting themselves into.

So let’s cover the myths first. Management is not about:

  • Getting a bigger office
  • Getting a bigger pay cheque
  • Finally being able to boss others around
  • Working less hours because you dictate the times
  • An opportunity to bore others in meetings

Now many aspiring managers can be forgiven for thinking that the above is true, as they see many managers above them exerting this very behavior. However, the “Peter Principle” (rising to your level of incompetence) will eventually take hold and return the system to management equilibrium i.e. normally the person gets fired.

So if being a manager is not about the above points, what exactly is it about? Well, consider the following description. A manager is a person who needs to create an environment that maximizes the required outputs. Sounds simple enough? Not when you consider all the elements that make up the environment.

In a typical corporate company the environment consists of, people or employees, up-line managers (bosses), systems, education, customers, products, and mostly problems.

With this system and the definition in mind what does one need to do to optimize and maximize the required outputs? Here is the list:

  • Hiring the best people for the job
  • Managing the expectations of your up-line managers or bosses
  • Accepting responsibility when others in your team mess up
  • Giving credit to others when things go well
  • Accepting that your staff are human beings and as such come with problems and issues. You cannot ignore these, as they eventually become your problems too. Always be ready to listen.
  • Ensuring that your staff are always learning and growing in their roles
  • Mentoring and assisting with your staffs career progress
  • Handling customers complaints as now the buck stops with you
  • Being knowledgeable about your companies products
  • Acknowledging that you cannot ignore problems or you will become another managerial failure statistic.
  • Work the hours that are needed to get the job done, while maintaining a healthy life balance.
  • And lastly, manage your own career.

The last point is an interesting one, as although it comes last on the list, most people think they should put it first. This is so evident in large corporate environments where political infighting is the order of the day.

The irony is, if you look after all the preceding points, you will not need to manager your career success, as it will automatically and spontaneously occur.  That is of course provided you have selected to work for a boss that works accordingly to these principles.  So perhaps at your next interview, when it comes time for you to ask any questions, the one to ask is, “What do you consider to be important in management?”. After all, it has been shown that careers advance more rapidly with better bosses.

So, if you aspire to be a manager, give some thought to the points above. It’s not for everyone. More money is normally made in sales with less of a burden to carry, and open plan offices tend to be the order of the day. However, if you feel you will be fulfilled by the above list, management can be a rewarding and awesome experience. So go ahead and apply for that job. Create your life.

World Cup Focus for Business

With two days to go to the end of the Soccer World Cup, an anticipation of Post World Cup Depression (PWCD) is taking hold of the general population. For the past month South Africa has been gripped by soccer fever. Daily activities have been re-prioritised. In the best of spirits, factions of supporters have arisen in companies, organsations and families. But the biggest aspect that I am scared of losing and will miss most, is the positivity and focus that the World Cup has given South Africa.

While thinking along these lines, I suddenly thought if South Africa was a company and I was the CEO, I would be seriously concerned about the general morale in the company come Monday morning. In additioWorldCupn to this thought was the notion of what have we learned from the World Cup that we could apply to business.

For starters, there is not one person in South Africa that did not feel the “Gees” (vibe/spirit) as the World Cup approached and during the last month. The nation has been focused with a positive energy. This was not only for support of our team (Bafana Bafana) but for ensuring that we excelled as a host nation. Evident by the fact that although the South African team was out in the first stage, the country continued to show their support for the World Cup as a whole.

The lesson here is about focus. It’s about the power of the many when there is a clear goal, a mission, and a vision. It drives home the message of communication to the team, to give clear examples of what we want to achieve and what the outcome looks like. South Africa attained this by media messages. Newspapers, TV, magazines, radio, and Internet sites all communicated what it means to be a host nation, and how we should welcome the people to our country and ensure that the experience is a positive one. Never before have South Africans been so proud to fly our flag, much to the joy of all the Nigerians selling flags at the street corners. Companies should take the example of this and give thought on how to communicate their message is in their own companies. Some ideas are:

  • Does everyone in the company know what the mission and vision of the company is?
  • Is the company mission one that inspires and motivates? If not, perhaps it’s time to revisit this.
  • Is there an example of what awesome company behavior is?
  • How do you communicate and celebrate success in your company?

I think it is evident that with focus and positivity, anything is possible. If you are a manager or leader in your company, give some thought as to how you can focus your company in the same way. Create your own World Cup attitude. Create the “Gees” in your environment.

Coming back to Monday morning’s problem. I feel it essential that on reaching one goal that we celebrate the success, visit the learnings from the experience, and then refocus the country on the next goal. I guess what this will be remains to be seen. Who knows, Olympics 2020? I will be there blowing my Vuvuzela all the way.

So don’t forget to play your part. Celebrate, support, contribute, be involved, lead. Create your life.