Chris Croft
Tips of the Month Archive

Managing People Tip 10


Who to delegate a task to

Find out about yourself

The Management Potato

Encouraging ideas


Something for your office wall

The unbroken chain

Are you a successful manager?

Monkey rules

What are managers really for?

Person in hole

Getting your hands dirty

Weekly meeting

Some awkward questions

The three Value Disciplines

Captain of the ship

This months "thought" is about what managers are really for.

What ARE they really for?

Are they, perhaps, just for solving the problems that are too big for their team to handle?

Does a typical day for you consist of:

meetings, problems, tasks for the boss, and some minor admin?

all of the above are reactive tasks - you arrive in the office and your day is controlled by everything and everyone around you.

So I was thinking, there must be more than this, and what would a proactive manager do? - what does the person who gets ahead of the game do in THEIR day?

Ideally management would be about:

creating the environment for people to be able to run things,  changing things so that they improve,
changing things so that the system can cope with changes in the external environment (this might be customers, competitors, or technology).
this would involve thinking about (and talking with others about) the following areas:

Objectives - are we going in the right direction.
Culture - is it right for us and our market?

Commercial. Customers - who are they, who should they be, are they happy, what will they be wanting in the future?
Costs - can we / should we reduce them?
Prices - how scientific are we about setting them?
Income Opportunities - have we missed any?
Budgets - are they on target, how are they set, etc.

Overview:.Time - mine - how am I doing?
Time - others - how do they use theirs? How proactive are they?
Measurement and Information - are we measuring the right things?
Systems - does it all work together smoothly?

Task: Project Management - are projects properly managed?
Risks - what are they, how are they managed?
Technical - are we up on the latest trends in our area?

The right people in the right jobs?
Succession Planning
Appraisal - are we doing it? Is it working as it should?
Coaching and Training - everyone needs to be constantly learning and becoming the best they can be - but ARE they?

Management By Wandering About - do I do it every day?
With every team member - a regular chat about how things are going.
With the whole team together - a regular (ideally weekly) meeting to discuss how things are going.

You could sum all these up by saying that ideally a manager would be proactive. Of course you still have to sort out all the poo, but if you can say that you're 25% proactive on average then that's pretty good.

only as a last resort would a manager be doing reactive stuff. Of course there will be quite a bit of it, but each time, as well as dealing with it, the manager would be thinking "How can I improve the system or coach the people so that this doesn't happen again?"

I know it's quite a long list, but they are all areas that need to be thought about.

But even if you picked one or two of them as a result of this, then that would be good.

I'll probably go into more detail on some of the above on future tips. (And any requests might be listened to!)

onwards and upwards!

Autumn approaches, but are we downhearted? No, because we love bonfires, conkers, kicking through dead leaves, log fires, and who knows, maybe the in-laws won't turn up to Christmas this year....?

visit and have tips like this one sent to you free by email once a month - they never repeat!