Work in team
Two colleagues finding solution of problem

5 things managers should know

For several years now I have been privileged to sit on a panel as a manager for aspiring leaders here at Northern Arizona University. On this panel is a group of managers at the University who, on the last day of the class, meet with the students and answer questions about being a manager. During this meeting there are always five things that seem to come up, so I thought I would share them with you all.

Know your Strengths and Weaknesses As a Manager

No one is perfect. And the best managers surround themselves with people that make up for their shortcomings. Synergy is a huge buzzword in the field of management. This is achieved by bringing a group of people who complement each other and round out the team. This has been a key to making a well rounded team. People who love what they do and help eachother out.

Don’t Hire “Yes” People

Another theme I noticed is related to knowing your strengths and weaknesses. I know that when I share an idea and fully expect my team to discuss and rework the idea or dismiss it. And I welcome it. I don’t want my team to just say, “great idea boss, let’s do it!” The best ideas I have found have come out of a group session. One person says something and it sparks an ‘Oh, what if’ moment and BAM! We have a winning idea.

Celebrate Successes

I for one, love to watch sports. Have you ever seen a team, after winning the championship, just walk off and not celebrate? Of course not. They run around, scream, and then go to Disneyland. But seriously, when you finish a big project or milestone take some time and celebrate it. Have some cake or pizza you’ve earned it.  Remember to fit the size of the celebration to the achievement if it’s big – go big. If small – some token like movie tickets.

Find a Mentor

Once you become a manager, it is really important to find a mentor who can help you in your career. Find someone to share their experiences and bounce off ideas with. Or even vent sometimes. A mentor is a huge benefit to you. Also, they can help you navigate a new assignment and meet new contacts.

Always Improve and Learn.

The older I get, the more I realize I don’t know. There is so much to learn and we all should always be looking to better ourselves. Never think you have this locked down. Because that is when life will throw you a curve. Take time to better yourself and improve your life. Workout your body, Take up a sport or read a book of finally learn how to play the guitar.

I hope this list helps you out in your career. What tips do you have for managers? Leave them in the comments below.

Steve leads the Learning & Professional Development team, with over a decade of Instructional Design and professional development experience in higher education at Northern Arizona University.

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