Management Skills and Management Confidence
It’s almost impossible to be a skilled manager without being a confident manager. But many of the people I coach and train just don’t feel confident. One of the reasons many business owners and managers don’t feel confident in their management role is because they are afraid of making mistakes, of not being the ‘perfect manager’.
What can happen then is that they either don’t take any action at all (a big mistake in my view – read why here) and subsequently they don’t build their management skills, or they spend so long planning what they need to do that by the time they get around to taking some management action it’s often a case of ‘too little, too late’
The need to be the perfect manager is a belief that will rarely serve you well. The good news is that beliefs can be changed, or in this case, ditched altogether (and that in itself is one of the key management skills! ) How? Here are my top tips for ditching the perfect manager belief.
Management Skills 1: Accept that you can be both ‘flawed and fabulous’
Ok, I know that sounds like something from a self help magazine but let me ask you a question. Which of these two managers would you prefer to be managed by:
Manager A. The manager who never makes a mistake. Ever. Who’s always right. Always. Who never needs your advice or input, never shows any doubt or flaws, never shows any insecurity
Manager B. The manager who makes the occasional mistake (but who always acknowledges this, apologises, and includes you in looking for ways to improve and move on). Who seeks your advice and input, who doesn’t have all the answers. Who has some doubts and insecurities, just like you, and who is aware of these (and tries to ensure they don’t negatively affect you)?
Do you have a preference?
I’ve asked this question of many people and the majority prefer Manager B. So, here’s an idea. Maybe your employees don’t want to be managed by the perfect manager? Maybe they would prefer to be managed by someone more ‘human’ – someone with similar insecurities, doubts, and someone who makes the occasional mistake? Someone who is like them, rather than a paragon of virtue that nobody can relate to?
Management Skills 2: Accept that managing is not like open heart surgery
There are very few mistakes in management that can’t be rectified by something as simple as you acknowledging the mistake and then asking for ideas on how to improve and move on. Managing employees, for most of us, is not like open heart surgery – nothing is irreversible – and generally employees are very forgiving so long as you are honest and you learn from your mistakes…
Management Skills 3: Accept that mistakes are how we learn
In the same way that no one has every learnt ice skating without getting their backside wet, no one has ever learnt how to manage their employees effectively without making a few mistakes. Of course nobody wants to work for a manager who makes the same mistakes again and again. The important this is to learn from your mistakes.
How to learn from mistakes – 3 key steps
Step 1. Take time to work out what went wrong and why. You could easily adapt the A.R.C. model I describe here (‘How to give positive criticism – using results and consequences’) like this
Action – what specifically did I do that caused the problem?
Result – what specifically were the results of these actions?
Consequences – what specifically were the consequences of these actions?
Step 2. Plan what to do differently next time. The philosopher Eli Siegel said ‘If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is as mistake’. If you can involve your employees in this planning, all the better
Step 3. Do something differently next time!
Management Skills Summary
Management confidence is important because confident managers:
- Take action and get results
- Build their management skills and
- Improve employee job satisfaction
Yet what I see many business owners, managers, team leaders and supervisors doing is letting negative beliefs get in the way of taking action and building confidence
Here are a few questions to help you think this through:
- What are your beliefs about management?
- How do these beliefs serve you in building your management confidence?
- Which beliefs do you need to let go of?
- Which beliefs do you need to adopt?