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 Wisdom to Win
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Management is...

Getting people to do great things for the organization and its customers.



Quiz - Are you a great manager?


1. Do you frequently observe, talk with and listen to your people?


2. Do you have a clear vision for the future of your department and inspire people to achieve it?


3. Are you passionate and enthusiastic about what you are trying to do in your job?


4. Do you continally build on your strengths and work on your weaknesses in management?


5.  Do you trust your people by delegating key tasks and encouraging them to take responsibility for results?


6.Do you agree objectives with your people and then give them the autonomy to achieve them in their own way?


7. Do you reward and encourage people's performance, training and self-development?


8. Do you effectively communicate with your people?


9. Do you treat everyone equally and respond sensitively to their problems?


10. Have you the courage to make really tough decisions? 


How to be a great manager


1. Know your people and treat them well (lead by example)


a) knowing and caring

Know what they want and give it to them, if possible.


b) explain and negotiate

  • explain difficult decisions
  • negotiate over irreconcilable differences (e.g. redundancies).



c) involve them 

(in decisions affecting their work).


d) praise them and reprimand kindly 

Tactfully mention their mistakes and talk about your mistakes first.


e) never humiliate them 

Honour their dignity and self-respect, so they don’t lose face.


f) empathize

(see things from their point of view)


g) stand by them 

(when they face external criticism).


h) keep your promises.


i) treat everyone the same.



2. Empower and sometimes command

People perform best, if they like their work and take responsibility for doing it well. So trust them.

But tell people what to do (called command and control) if quick, decisive action is required, like an army in battle.

The style of management must suit the situation.



3. Be a leader-manager

Managers must not only do what their bosses tell them but also lead their people to inspire and empower them.

So they must:

  • Create a common, challenging purpose based on customer satisfaction.
  • Get people working well together in teams to achieve these objectives.
  • Lead by example – do what they say, explain why they’re doing it and stick to their principles.
  • Meet people to listen to their problems and help them (called management by wandering around, MBWA).
  • Give people the resources and information to do their jobs effectively.



4. Reflect, plan , do, review and refine

Managers should make time for quietly thinking about

  • what they are going to do in the future (plan).
  • do it (i.e. being proactive).
  • evaluate performance (review).
  • change plans, if necessary (refine).


Here are some tips to do these four things:


a) prioritize

Don’t get bogged down in detail - see point 5 below.



b) don’t waste time

(see time management).


c) remember your influence on people 

- they will do what you do.


d) accept external constraints 

(company policy and procedure, your bosses, legislation and resource limitations).


e) always do what’s right 

Win in the face of fierce opposition.


f) be enterprising

Be prepared to be innovative and take risks.


g) think long-term 

Plan for the future.



5. Concentrate on what’s important

  • Prioritize – do the important things first and delegate everything else.
  • Be creative and find new and better ways of solving customers’ problems.
  • Value the quality of people’s work - make sure people achieve their objectives like making the most of their ability and satisfying customers as quickly as possible.




6. Lifelong learning

Managers must

a) continually learn and improve (so training and education are vital).

b) know their strengths (to use them well) and weaknesses (to work on them and recognize their effects on others).

c) act as a coach, helping others to learn.




7. Character with competence

Managers must deliver results through people, so they must have the character and principles to inspire others.

They must be kind but tough enough to make difficult decisions like firing under-performers.




Key quotes explained



“The simple part is knowing what to do. The part that is not easy is getting others to do it”

- Peter Drucker (American management writer, pictured right)

Motivating people is a vital function of management.




“To balance trust and control”

- Charles Handy (Irish management writer, pictured right)

A vital job for managers is to know when to trust people to get on with things and when to check up on how well they’re doing.




“Speed, simplicity and self-confidence”

- Jack Welch (the ex-boss of General Electric, pictured right)

Welch says that the best managers have three characteristics:

  • Carry out decisions as quickly as possible (speed).
  • Don’t over-complicate problems (simplicity).
  • Have the confidence to be the best (self-confidence).



Best books and articles



Douglas McGregor (pictured right) , The Human Side of Enterprise (1960)

There are two ways of managing people:

  • Theory X – assumes that people are basically lazy and need lots of supervision (as in Taylor’s scientific management).
  • Theory Y – assumes people can be self-motivated and work well on their own (so based upon empowerment).

McGregor said that Theory Y isn’t always best – theory X is best for quick decisions.

In other words the best management style depends on the situation - the conclusion of Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch in their book Organization and Environment(1967).

(For more detail see The Human Side of Enterprise in the Business Books section).


Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management (1954)

Key functions of managers are:

  • planning (setting objectives).
  • integration (getting people to work well together).
  • measurement (setting targets and performance criteria).
  • developing people.
  • managing the organization’s social responsibilities.

Managers are concerned with performance and must be:

  • administrators (looking after what already exists).
  • risk taking innovators and entrepreneurs (creators of tomorrow).

Also important are:

  • management by objectives (MBO) – giving individuals, groups and departments objectives that relate to the organization’s objectives.
  • marketing (customer satisfaction) and innovation – the two most important functions in an organization.

 For more detail see The Practice of Management   in the Business Books section.



Henri Fayol (pictured right), General and Industrial Management (1949)

The functions of a manager are to:

  • plan (set objectives and policies).
  • command (direct and motivate people).
  • organize and co-ordinate (get people working effectively together).
  • control (making sure people achieve their objectives).
  • organize (creating the best structure)




Henry Mintzberg (pictured right), The Nature of Managerial Work (1973)

Managers don’t plan and reflect, as they should, but deal with many tasks superficially.

Their main jobs are dealing with people, giving and receiving information and making decisions.



Andrew Grove (pictured right) High Output Management (1983)

The ex-boss of Intel says that effective management is based on:


a) managerial leverage

(maximizing the performance of teams and organizations under the manager's control).


b) excellence in key managerial activities 

  • information gathering and giving.
  • decision making (based on free discussion and full support for a clear, agreed decision).
  • being a role model.


c) motivation

Inspiring the best people to be the best through:

  • satisfying their needs (like interesting work).
  • delegation.
  • mutual trust (from integrity and shared values).
  • good people relationships (but don't let friendship damage your managerial effectiveness)


d) the best management style

This must adapt to people's task-relevant maturity (TRM), their capacity to take responsibility and deliver results.


e) achievement of agreed objectives

(management by objectives).

 Meetings should also achieve their aims as quickly as possible.


f) fewer levels of management

(to improve the giving and receiving of information).




H. Edward Wrapp (pictured right), Good Managers Don't Make Policy Decisions (Harvard Businss Review article, 1967)

Managers don't plan but let solutions to their problems emerge from a series of decisions that gradually progress towards achievement of their objectives (“muddling with a purpose”).

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