Successful managing comes in all sorts of different forms, fashions, and approaches, but there are some foundational circumstances, situations, and traits that will set you up for success or put you in danger of failure.
Managers who procrastinate will always find reasons – read: excuses – not to do whatever it is that needs to be done. If that’s you, stop it right now. Good managers are action oriented. They determine factors, count costs, and make decisions. If you’re not involved in that cycle right now, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
Good managers get results, and they’re not surprised by them. Your team should be delivering measurable results and meeting expected goals. If not, you’re doing something wrong. Further, if stuff is happening that is catching you off guard on a regular basis, you’re not nearly plugged in enough. It’s fine – and fun – to be caught off guard from time to time, but these instances should be few and far between. You need to have your head in the game and your finger on the pulse.
Good managers get on well with people. If you are at the center of inter-office conflicts, your people skills are lacking and need to be improved. That doesn’t mean you need to be their buddy, but you need to be able to proactively relate to your team members. That means getting the most for them using the best relational skills rather than negative reinforcement.
The team around you is good and getting better. The best managers know how to recruit and train the best people for the best positions on their team. When you know what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and by whom, then you are well on your way to becoming a successful manager. Now you just need to put that knowledge to work.
Successful managers are always looking for new information, increased skills and the best tools and methods. This means you will need to grow and change, and that you must be the catalyst of this personal improvement. Don’t let your annual performance reviews be the indicator of your success. Hold yourself to a higher standard, and you will become a more successful manager.
David Milberg is an investment banker in NYC.