8 Highly Useful Tips for the Accidental Manager 

If you didn’t plan to get into management, yet suddenly you’ve found yourself in charge of a team, you’re not alone. Recent CMI (Chartered Management Institute) research has shown that 68% of UK managers categorise themselves as so-called, ‘accidental’ managers. If this sounds like you, here are eight simple tips that will help you get to grips with your new role, and increase your confidence as a manager.

1.    Boost Your Skill Set

While it’s easy to assume good managers are born rather than made, that’s not actually the case. Management skills can be learnt. To become a better manager you should observe managers you admire, copy their best qualities and adopt their approach. You should also take the time to find the best resources to improve your skills. Find blogs that offer pointers, and tips, or enrol on an introduction to management short course to teach you the basics.

2. Hire a Diverse Team

Research shows that diverse teams perform better and are more productive. Hiring a diverse team will also help you combat groupthink – cultures of pre-determined logic. Bring people in from the outside, welcome different views, and be mindful of people telling you what they think you want to hear.

3.    Take Inspiration from Eisenhower

It’s easy to lose track of time, if you simply make a list of your tasks, you won’t get a clear picture of what takes precedence. A good way of prioritizing tasks is former US President Dwight Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important principle. By determining what tasks are urgent and important, you can begin to better structure your workload.

4.    Break Your Workload Down

Being a manager isn’t just about delegating work. There will be days when meetings overrun, deadlines get stretched, and the workload suddenly beings to pile up on your desk. If you find that you’re buried under with work, try increasing your productivity with the Pomodoro Technique. This involves breaking your working day into 25-minute intervals.

5.    Don’t Be Too Nice

Don’t fall into the trap of being too nice at work. While you might be the type of manager who likes to lavish praise on a job well done, you must also address those who under perform. Instead of reaching for the P45 forms, find out why a team member isn’t performing well, and offer support. Getting to the root of the problem will help your team perform more efficiently, and you will gain the respect of your employees.

6.    Keep an Open Door Policy

If your colleagues are facing serious operational issues, or have simple gripes, you want to know about it. By being open you can discover, and tackle the obstacles that are affecting your team. Sometimes your team might be hesitant to come to you with their problems, so follow the example set by Harriet Green, chief executive of Thomas Cook. She set up a confidential email service, where employees could address the company’s problems. Harriet took the time to respond to each email, and as a result earned the trust of her employees.

7.    The 4 Cs

Critical thinking, effective communication, creativity, and collaboration are key skills that every manager needs. These four competencies, what are collectively known as the 4 Cs, are what you should look for in both your employees, and yourself. If you feel deficient in any of these areas then it’s worth taking the time to learn, or find a solution that will suit you.

8.    Step Up

As a manager you are now a role model for the most junior members of your team. This means you need to lead by example; you need to go that extra mile to get the job done. You should show your impeccable values of integrity, diligence and professionalism, encouraging others around you to do the same.

Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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