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How to become a Great Manager ?

Managers run managements. Being one of the best managers is the dream of many an employee. But the road to it is tricky because each manager has taken his/her own path. And what makes a manager a great manager is not measured quantitatively. But there are some characteristics that are found in all great managers, irrespective of where they work.

The study of managers who have scaled great heights shows us that they share some thoughts and perceptions. They essentially work with human capital. They have people skills that help them motivate their subordinates. Whereas management was initially perceived to be getting work done through people, now the focus is on developing people through work. They believe that people are good and they can be trained in the required skills. They have to perform the roles of a leader as well as a mentor.

Managers are seen to be effective and efficient when they perform the following tasks:

• They select the right people for the job
• Have a clear performance appraisal system
• Know the staff at a personal level
• Develop the staff

While they perform the above activities, they make use of many tools that are available to them. Some of the tools are:

• Coaching Cards - A coaching card is comprised of four steps: 
- Establish goals 
- Collect performance data 
- Analyze performance 
- Review and modify goals

• Communications Plan – It includes activities such as corporate events, staff meetings, customer leads, key leader status calls, etc…

• Delegation Worksheet – This worksheet involves a quiz that has to be taken by the manager. The quiz includes questions like: 
- Do you work late in office or do you take your work home? 
- Do you tolerate mistakes done by your colleagues? 
- Are you doing something that your team members could be doing?

Each answer is given a score. The more there are affirmative answers, the more it is likely that the manager has to delegate tasks.

• Delegation Checklist – This involves analyzing the job, deciding what tasks have to be delegated and selection of the right person to do the job, planning and making the delegation.

• Effective Meetings Outline – The keys to have an effective meeting are to pre-publish the agenda, starting on time, setting of ground rules, sticking to the agenda, and fixing responsibilities to do the homework before the meeting and finishing on time. The minutes of the meeting must be published after the meeting so that the content of the meeting is documented. A facilitator could be used if the meeting involves a large group of people.

• Feedback Model - This is an important tool that is used to follow up on performance appraisal. A feedback is given not in a random manner, but by first asking if the subordinate is open to it. Positive feedback is always welcome, but negative feedback must not be projected in a manner that is demotivating. It should be specific to a behavior or act. The impact of the appropriate behavior must also be explained. The remedial step should also be discussed.

Keeping in mind the goals of the manager, he/she has to take into account the goals of the subordinates. Staying focused is the key to success as a manager.

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