Resources for a New Manager
The life of a new manager is full of challenges. You, like many people before you, might've gotten into this role without any management training. This article aims to assist you in building your own management curriculum to help you on your new journey.
The job of a manager is very different from the job of an individual contributor. As a manager, you are responsible for your entire team's work, not only your own. You are accountable for the performance of your organization. You have to enable your team to produce more jointly then what they would be capable of producing alone.
According to Peter Drucker, the guru of modern management, the five elements of management are:
- Set objectives
- Motivate and communicate
- Develop people
All of the elements above are important. Unfortunately, many managers get themselves so busy that they forget about developing their team and themselves. As a manager, you get your work done through other people. And this means that you'll be meeting with people, both formally and informally most of your time. Here are some of the meetings that you'll need to have to succeed:
- Weekly one-on-one meetings with each one of your direct reports. An important part of this meeting is developing the people who report to you.
- Weekly project review meeting for all projects that are your responsibility.
- Weekly staff meeting with all your direct reports. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that your entire team is on the same page with the issues that affect your organization.
- Monthly department staff meeting (if you have multiple managers reporting to you). During this meeting you have a chance to communicate with the entire organization those topics that pertain to all of them.
The following are resources that you can benefit from as you are developing yourself and your team.
The following podcasts are excellent learning resources:
Manager Tools: Mark Horstman and Michael Auzenne have been producing this podcast since 2005. They provide ready-to-use, practical, and detailed advice on topics ranging from "How to do a handshake" to "How to do your one-on-ones."
Career Tools: Also by Mark & Mike of Manager Tools. Detailed, practical advice on managing your career one day at a time.
HBR Ideacast: published by the Harvard Business School, provides commentary and advice on a variety of business topics.
There are many books targeting the new manager, so picking one is not so easy. Here are some to help you get started:
First, Break all the Rules, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. The authors report the findings of a multi-year Gallup survey. Their book represents the conclusions drawn from interviews with eighty thousand managers representing one million employees. Their teams sifted through the data to find which criteria separate the best from the rest. Their advice helps you focus your first actions, and provides a roadmap of what to concentrate on as a manager.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. Free Press. 2004. The undisputed front-runner work with lessons for developing yourself and your team. Covey’s words of wisdom are just as true today as they were over 20 years ago when he wrote them.
The Essential Drucker, by Peter Drucker. Harper Paperbacks. 2008. This is a good summary of Drucker’s work. He is the “guru of gurus” when it comes to management. He is able to clearly articulate topics that others struggle mightily with. You learn from him about just about any management topics that you will come across during your career. Feel free to pick up any other book by him, including one of the thickest ones, called: Management.
For more books look on my reading list.
Magazines may be old media, however the following have good web editions as well. The Harvard Business Review keeps you up-to-date with both academic and hands-on practitioner articles. The Strategy-Business magazine adds to the mix consultant written articles with sound advice. The Economist magazine keeps you up-to-date on world business and politics.
There is an abundance of material available to help you become a great manager. Commit yourself to using them. You may have a lot to learn, however it will be a lot of fun. It is only appropriate to end with Drucker’s advice to all of us: you accumulate knowledge with one reason in mind, to use it to help your team get better results:
The ultimate test of management is performance. Achievement rather than knowledge remains, of necessity, both aim and proof.