Monday, January 4, 2016

Managers without management training

As a mentor to several early career people, I'm often asked to advise about management issues, the most common to do with lack of management.

Various examples are forthcoming of managers who should be doing something to resolve issues, but who don't. These come from role confusion ie, not knowing which manager is responsible for which activities, failing to address issues with staff who are not performing, and such things as purchasing challenges.

The managers concerned are highly skilled specialists in their own disciplines, but not management trained. And there is the problem.

Engineers, architects, nurses, administrative staffs etc, eventually move into management roles for which they aren't necessarily prepared.

In some cases, all they have to work on is their experience with their managers - people who have years of specialist experience who are thrown into a management role.  Sometimes they are learning from the unlearned and the cycle continues.

Studying management theory can be a great help, as can an appropriate mentor. Management courses abound and need not require enrolling in a four year degree program. There are dozens of short courses covering key management topics.

Management theory is largely common sense. Have you ever had that feeling that there must be a better way to do something, but aren't quite sure what it is?

There is both a mental shift and an activity shift that people need to make when they become managers. For example, not only do they have to do the work of managers, they also have to begin thinking like a manager and not an operational member of a team.

If you are a specialist in an occupation that hasn't included a good dose of management theory and practice, do yourself a favour and learn about management. When you are promoted to your first management role, it will make your life much easier. Your subordinates will also notice the difference and appreciate it.

If this relates to you, make 2016 the year you study management.


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