Being a manager at a company where autonomy is highly valued and exercised is a lot less stressful than a traditional management position. By sticking to process and keeping lines of communication open, we are able to hold each other, and ourselves, accountable for getting our work completed on time. But sometimes things get a little exciting around here, work piles up, and tasks that may not seem too urgent to anyone but me, can begin to slip through the cracks. Sometimes… I have to step up my manager game and be insistent.
Recently, I had to do just that - with the boss. I scheduled a meeting to go over a proposal with a potential client and time was ticking away. Every day I’d ask, “Did you get that proposal done?” and I’d hear, _“Nope. I’ll get to it later in the week.” _ and every day I felt the pressure of the possibility of having to make the embarrassing call to push the meeting back a few days. But like I said, I was insistent. I kept reiterating the fact that we HAD to get this proposal done and we HAD to be at that scheduled meeting. I am happy to say that the proposal was completed on time, we made the meeting, and all went well.
A lot of responsibility comes with being a manager, even in a place where you can trust everyone to do their very best. And sometimes, you have to get a little tough. That doesn’t mean that you have to lose your cool, and you definitely should never remain silent and watch the team fail. Sometimes, you just have to be authoritative and insistent. Being a manager doesn’t mean that you get to boss people around. It means that you should know exactly what needs to get done and how to delegate accordingly. Everyone should have a very clear understanding of what tasks they are personally accountable for, and also know exactly what finishing those tasks means.
- Plan out each week before it begins. That means every single day, every single task. Write down everything that needs to get done for the week, and assign tasks. Let your coworkers know what tasks they will be responsible for and ask them when they will be completed. Trust that they will stick to the plan, and discuss how everyone did at the end of each week. Holding a weekly planning meeting with coworkers is a huge bonus if you can pull it off in your industry.
- Don’t just expect everyone to know exactly what they’re supposed to do and how to do it. It’s disrespectful to expect your coworkers to read your mind, so don’t assume anyone knows every detail of your (or your boss’s) expectations. Communication is imperative and keeping the lines open helps to keep everyone connected and on the same page.
- Don’t get caught slipping! If you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t expect anyone else to either. Take notes, keep job specific calendars, write everything down, don’t forget anything. At the end of the day, if your team fails, it’s because of poor management.
- Be flexible. Sometimes someone might have a great idea, or a better way of doing something. It's important that you listen, and discuss new ideas. Being able to grow and contribute in the workplace solidifies that feeling of belonging. If your coworkers feel that they matter, they will do better on the job.
- Remember to acknowledge positive accomplishments. When people feel valued at work, it helps them get excited about being part of a winning team. Having a thankless job is no fun.
In conclusion, being a manager is not easy. But with a little extra effort and a lot of confidence, it can be a very rewarding position in any company. Do your best, lead by example, and coach your team all the way to the big win!