When people think ‘management’ they typically think their boss or their manager, which is an understandable natural thought, however we experience management at every stage in our lives. It starts with our parents, continues on to our teachers and then moves on to our managers and bosses in a work environment.
Management is not a ‘one size fits all’ operation and a good manager understands that each person has unique experiences and qualities. A great manager knows how to draw those experiences and qualities from each person in their team, maximizing their potential.
In an article from 1999 titled ‘In the mush’, Joe Flower looked at the four stages of competence.
He laid out the four stages as follows:
- Unconscious incompetence – The individual is unable to do something but they are also unaware of their inability.
- Conscious incompetence – The individual is unable to do something however they are aware of the inability (and are eager to gain the skill set required).
- Conscious competence – The individual is aware of their ability to complete something however this task requires concentration to complete.
- Unconscious competence – The individual has so much skill in their area that completing the task has become ‘second nature’ to them.
Many managers believe that they should give each member of a team the same treatment and mentoring for fear of being seen as favoring one person over another, however, to fully gain the understanding needed to be a great manager, one must understand the members of the team.
I believe that getting to know the members of a team is crucial in building the most efficient and proactive team possible. A great manager is able to read between the lines and see beyond a conversation. An example of this would be: John is struggling to come up with examples of how he may help the team, but in conversation casually mentions the golf tournament he has planned, a great manager would be able to see that John clearly has several skills, leadership, organisation, delegation and has successfully planned an event. John isn’t aware that in many ways he is stage four, but as a great manager you are able to draw from his experiences and use that to the benefit of the team. Managers need to be skilled themselves to be able to recognise the skills in others.
Management is not about the task at hand, it is about knowing your team, knowing their skills and their drawbacks and who would work well with who and pairing people who would complement the skill set of their partner. Knowing your team is also about knowing their individual preferences, some people do not like to be brought into the limelight by receiving recognition for their work and prefer to thrive solely in the background, others need to receive recognition for their work and are demoralised if they do not receive the recognition they think they deserve. The most effective way of learning what team members like is by having one-on-one sessions. Role play and group sessions are also an effective way of seeing the team in action in a low stress environment.
Perhaps the most valuable thing a manager can do to emphasise their ability and skills is to create an ideal environment in which every member of their team feels fully engaged and appreciated and working to the next level of ability.
We believe that tomorrows Manager needs to concentrate on creating a favourable environment in which their people can grow and excel. The need to appreciate their people as individuals, challenge, support and coach and acknowledge. This requires skills that are not based in industrial methods of working. They are more agricultural and organic. People are not machines and that is why, in the right circumstances they will exceed all expectations.
We must invest in our Managers and give them the skills and scope to create great teams and achieve great results.