I have always thought that being a good manager is a bit like plastering a wall – looks easy until you try it yourself!
A truly effective manager is a hard one to pull off. Once you have realised you can’t be “one of the gang” any longer you need to carve out a role for yourself whereby you respect and are respected in turn.
Fairness plays a huge part as there is nothing as frustrating and a cause of unhappiness than teams feeling they are being treated unfairly. This means taking personal feelings out of the equation and looking at the issues or problems constructively and rationally.
We all know it’s great to manage people when everything is going well. A happy, enthusiastic and driven team seems to manage itself – I say “seems” because again you only find yourself managing a team like this when you are doing a good job. It is the proverbial swan – no one sees the manic paddling underneath!
The flip side is managing a team when times are hard or you have to deal with a disruptive or unhappy team member. It’s a measure of a good manager how they deal with this scenario. What should happen is swift effective action- confront the issues straight on and resolve them and move ahead without recrimination or finger pointing.
One thing I have studiously avoided is books that tell you how to be an effective manager. My advice is think back over your career and remember the manager that motivated and mentored you – why did it work? Can you take from that experience and use it within your team?
I do have to say I have seen some humdingers of management books in London City Airport bookshops – “Nice girls don’t get the corner office” springs to mind – avoid!