“No job is more vital to our society than that of the manager. It is the
manager who determines whether our social institutions serve us well or whether they squander our talents and resources.” – Henry Mintzberg
Nobody aspires to being a good manager these days. So much attention and resources are devoted leadership development, and everyone wants to be a great leader. Yet leaders all have to manage people. The separation of management from leadership is dangerous. Leading without good management results in a failure to execute. Let’s get back to good, strong managing. But what does that mean?
According to traditional management theory, managers are supposed to plan, organize, coordinate and control. The truth is, pressures of reacting to urgent matters supplant most reflection and planning. Managers respond to the urgencies of each day, take on too much work, operate with continual interruptions, and make instant decisions. There is no time to step back and consider bigger issues. This leads to acting with superficial and fragmented information.
Effective management requires reflective systematic planning. Research shows that managers work at an unrelenting pace and their activities are short, varied and discontinuous. They are biased towards action, and spend little time reflecting.
In one study, half the activities engaged in by executives lasted less than nine minutes. A study of 56 foremen in the U.S. found they averaged 583 activities per eight-hour shift, an average of 1 every 48 seconds. Executives meet a steady stream of callers and mail all day long. Many managers leave their doors open to encourage the free flow of information, but also thereby encourage interruptions. There is little time for reflection or planning.
The full version of this article discusses the following concepts:
What Does a Manager Actually Do?
Ten Roles of a Manager
Measuring the Activities of Managers
Why Managers Don’t Delegate More
The Five Managerial Mind Sets
From Empowerment to Self-managing Teams
Here are the order links for this article with full reprint rights. You can use this article as your own in your newsletters, ezines and marketing materials. (If you are an annual subscriber, you do not need to order this article; simply email Patsi to indicate your selection.)
a. Text, 2000-word Article with full reprint rights, $79: click here
b. Text, 1000 word article with full reprint rights, $57: click here
n. Text, 500 word nugget, full reprint rights $42: click here
All word lengths are approximate.