Management Development Tips

March 12, 2010

Management Development Tips – Look Inside Yourself First

Progressive managers learn to develop themselves by ensuring they continue to grow through their careers.

When they get stuck, the first place they look is within.

All good managers have the innate capability to look inwardly from time to time to understand better how they are doing.

They can be very focused and objective about how they go about their self-assessment, or – which is much more value-creating on a different level – they can ask their team about how they are doing as well.

When you are able to do this, you’ll have a far greater knowledge of how you work yourself, which is extraordinarily useful, generating interesting insights as well as offering lots of possibilities too.

One of the reasons people (not just managers), struggle with a better understanding of themselves, is that they are frightened of what they might come up with.

It’s a scary place, being your real self – especially when, for a long time – many years even – you have become used to playing an inauthentic role. Truth is, we are all acting a part in our lives, because of the way we have become fashioned through our experiences.

And it can make us both uncomfortable as well as less capable when we are working outside our natural skin.

Once you have taken steps to recognize any areas where you need to fine tune them, you can take steps, often with the support and help from your team, to develop your skills in a much more productive way.

For junior managers, you can start this right from the beginning of your management role. By engaging others in your team with your development through a bit of self-analysis, you will help them see that this is the most valuable way to progress their performance.

For more experienced managers, such openness, whilst relatively rare, has enormous possibilities for you as well as the team itself.

Being open about who you are and how you go about your work, is most revealing – not least in the response you get from your people, which whilst initially may be a little puzzled, is likely, over time, to become fascinated by the internal changes you make and they can learn from too.

Often there will be programs that will be able to help you. Your organization may have one-off training courses you can do. You may have team members or colleagues who have the specific experiences you need if you take the time to look around.

There is nothing like being focused, taking your development into your own hands and creating the opportunities for your own development yourself.

If you sit around waiting for the magic workshop to transform your management development to clear all your shortcomings, you may well have to wait a long time indeed.

Far better to seek out support from an experienced hand that will be able to guide you through ‘learning by doing exercises’ that will neatly feather into your day-job.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Management Development Tips, Managing Me by Martin

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March 10, 2010

Management Development Tips – Self- Driven Learning Is The Best

Management development is a critical activity for all managers to undertake, whatever their levels of expertise.

Noticing what you need to do differently is the vital first step and then taking action without waiting for others to do it for you.

There can be amazing value when you are focused enough to want to develop and grow.

It is pretty obvious that there are many managers out there who are at different starting points in their careers. Knowing where to start as you move your career along can be a bit tricky.

Because what’s just right for a new manager, still getting their basics right, will be very different for a seasoned manager who – when being very honest – will know exactly where they have their weaker points that will need attention.

Please remember, wherever you are up the ladder of success, there will always be something that you can develop, regardless of the level of experience you have and the interest you take in your own future growth.

It can be much more challenging when you feel things aren’t going as well as they might and then try to pass the blame to anything that will take it. Like your employees; outside influences; the weather even (it has been known!).

Where you are new, you’ll look for an experienced hand to guide you quickly to help you make a great start. You will be able to absorb all sorts of information and it will all be very valuable.

You know that it’s important to reflect on what you are learning and sense how it is serving you. It is easy to get distracted, of course, and you will need to be choosy. It’s also worth taking time out to reflect on your behaviors, to check out whether the ‘how’ of the ways you do things is the most appropriate and productive.

For those more experienced, you see things in different ways, from a position of ‘been there, done that’. Much experience is invaluable for you and the key to check here is whether what you do has served you well – no, really, check it out with your people – so that you can select other options to make the difference going forward.

It just depends on you to take a few minutes out of your week to find what you need to move forward, that’s all. When you find that specific little gem you can improve – even just a little – you really will find that it’s been worth your while.

It’s worth noting that the very action you take to improve your performance shows that you are one of the small percentage who are prepared to take their career into their own hands.

With that level of a pro-active spirit, aligned with the activities and learning you can find – often very inexpensively – out there, you have much greater opportunities to be successful than many of your colleagues.

And that is immensely valuable, both financially and for your own fulfillment too, as well as the development and growth of your own people, which you will inevitably begin to support them with as part of your focused development.

Management development is a fascinating activity for managers – of any age or experience – to get involved in and the most valuable and rewarding comes from grasping the nettle and taking personal responsibility for your own growth.

Filed under Blog, Management Development Tips, Managing Me by Martin

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February 26, 2010

Management Development Tips – Learning Opportunities Are Everywhere

As most managers will tell you, learning our trade is a life-long experience that never stops.

The learning will come from many different sources, when you care to look…

From the first day we take on the responsibility of management, to the day we finally step back, there are always improvements we can add in.

We will develop our skills in the workplace through the experiences we will have.

We will enjoy learning through training programs we are fortunate enough to undertake – where we take the learnings back to implement in our own way, back in the workplace.

Yet there are many opportunities that can be very creative indeed, often outside the workplace, which are all around us, if only we look.

Here are three examples, which might sound a little wacky, yet are stimulating and intriguing possibilities that can excite a manager’s development, when prepared to take a risk or two in thinking outside that box.

Time to give it a go!

Nature

Sometimes just a walk in the park is enough to trigger some thinking that will develop the way you manage.

Have you seen the flight path of a green woodpecker? It’s flap-flap-flap/rest. Effort made till the right speed is achieved and then take a break. Efficient management is more effective with breaks in the energy devoted.

Why do some tree shoots make it when others don’t? What’s the link to your management?

Metaphors

Metaphors from nature, are perfect for giving a totally different perspective to issues that you face and as such are huge assets for the future.

Metaphors are where a descriptor can be applied in a number of situations where they find some sort of relevance.

If you look for them, they are around.

How can the release of 1,000 white balloons be related to what you do? What is the relevance of traffic light sequencing? Why are snowflakes so symmetrical?

Sound weird? Maybe. But then again, if you create one more tool in the box from watching hang-gliders on a thermal-rich afternoon on the scarp side of a hill or how dolphins school together their prey on National Geographic, it’s worth it.

What stories can you apply to the management you offer?

Off The Wall

Whilst there are ideas that are a bit wacky like those mentioned about, there can be much to gain from speculating yourself as you go.

In these cases, it would be easy to deny relevance and move on past. Slow down though – wait. The inkling you felt came for a reason. Where you feel there is a draw for you to linger and be curious, try going with your flow for a while and see just where you are led.

Developing your skills as you progress as a manager is valuable for you. How you go about it will be different for everyone.

We all learn differently, so it’s often good to see things in as many different ways as you can and be brave; take risks, see from the world around you what might work in the team you lead.

Big – and small – ideas may come from well, anything really!

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Management Development Tips, Managing Me by Martin

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