Are You Ready to Manage?

Are you ready to manage? - People Development Network
Su-Mari du Bruyn

Su-Mari du Bruyn

Co-Founder at Adapt To Change
All businesses face continuous changes in the business environment. Long term business sustainability is directly linked to the ability to continuously improve and Adapt To Change. Along with globalization came increased competitiveness and in today’s economic circumstances one of the biggest pressures most businesses face, is financial pressure –the pressure to maintain or improve business results in the midst of increasing competitive forces. The downfall of many businesses lies in their attempt to address these pressures with strategies that proved successful in the past…in an environment that today no longer exists. The world is significantly different today and today flexibility and innovation are almost synonymous with business sustainability. With more than 50 years’ experience, the continuous improvement and supply chain experts at Adapt To Change are making businesses better! Adapt To Change is dedicated to transform, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them.
Su-Mari du Bruyn
Su-Mari du Bruyn
Su-Mari du Bruyn

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Are You Ready to Manage?

In one of the sessions during our Leadership development program, a participant asked me “How do you know when you are ready for management?” A very interesting discussion ensued which I have attempted to summarize below.

Being a successful manager is very challenging because the majority of your results are not dependent on you. You are dependent on the members of your team to give their best. You cannot do everything yourself, so you need to learn how to delegate and coordinate activities. You need to learn how to enable the team around you to deliver. Management is definitely not for everyone. It is difficult when everyone looks to you for answers because you will not always have them.

Before you plunge right into management, it is important to be clear on what would be expected of you (other than your normal job description).

  • Apply discipline
  • Never reward unacceptable behavior
  • Have zero tolerance for non-compliance to rules, policies, and procedures
  • Comply with company standards and procedures
  • Highlight abnormalities (e.g. absenteeism or error trends)
  • Competent communicator
    • Give honest feedback in an appropriate and constructive manner
  • Connect
    • Be a connector between the next level management and staff (be your manager’s eyes and ears on the ground)
    • Practice MBWA (Management By Walking About) and know your team
  • Customer focused
    • Anticipate and try to exceed customer expectations (internal and external customers)
  • Develop your team and yourself
    • Be willing to share knowledge freely
    • Enable others by creating opportunities for them to develop and by encouraging continuous learning
    • Display personal commitment to learning and growth
  • Embrace change
    • Be willing to try new things – don’t be rigid and inflexible
  • Embrace diversity
    • Respect different views and perspectives
  • Improvement focused
    • Highlight potential issues or problems
    • Highlight improvement opportunities
    • Always work with facts – do not jump to conclusions
    • Challenge inefficiencies
    • Encourage a culture of continuous improvement
    • Minimize the loss of profit (through reduced overtime and rework), loss of time, loss of material (through reduced scrap or waste), loss of money and loss of information
  • Interpersonal skills
    • Be approachable
    • Treat others with dignity and respect
    • Do not incite staff with negativity
    • Acknowledge and recognize the contribution of others and thank them sincerely
  • Job-related competence
    • Be organized
    • Be on time and adhere to deadlines
    • Be proactive – develop the ability to spot problems or risks early
    • Be decisive, but do not jump to conclusions and take rushed decisions
    • Keep your manager informed with regular progress updates
    • Know what is going on in your area by doing regular spot checks (health checks)
  • Quality focused
    • Live the organization’s quality values – doing it right the first time
    • Work accurately and pay attention to detail
    • Maintain good health and safety standards
    • Maintain good housekeeping standards
    • Minimize risk
  • Sense of accountability
    • Act as if you are the owner of the business
    • Make decisions in the best interest of the business long term
  • Set a good example (high work ethic)
    • Take good care of company property
    • Be open and honest, but protect confidentiality
    • Display a sense of urgency
    • Get things done (take action)
    • Be consistent and reliable
    • Make sure that your actions match your words
    • Admit when you don’t know – you are not expected to have all the answers for everything
    • Be fair
    • Apologize when you are wrong
    • Be trustworthy
    • Do not form cliques or spread rumors
    • Do not have an entitlement mentality
    • Be positive, energetic, enthusiastic and excited
    • Be proud of your company brand
    • Be helpful
  • Team player
    • Be prepared to perform any job – don’t expect of others what you are not prepared to do yourself
    • Remain calm and collected when dealing with problems – it is us against the problem, not us against each other
    • Do not support a blaming culture
    • Support and cooperate with others – even those outside your department (internal and external customers)
    • Seek first to understand and then to be understood
    • Allow others to provide input, really listen and consider their input with an open mind
    • Promote teamwork

In the end, no one is ever really ready when they become managers. Management is a never-ending learning experience. The question should not so much be whether you are ready, but whether you have the courage to sign up for this amazing unknown journey of self-development and discovery, no matter where it will take you.