It happens to most people eventually, some get there quickly, while others take a bit longer. Transitioning into a management role is a natural evolution of skill development but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. Chances are you’re ready but in case you’ve questions, we think we have answers …Welcome to EP 134: Management 101
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Today we are talking about firm management – but at a fairly introductory level so that we can focus on a broad range of considerations that are applicable to a broader range of individuals who are transitioning into management roles. The idea for this show – and we rearranged a few things to make it today’s show – was the result of a question that was asked during the 133: Ask the Show episode. That question was “Do you have any pointers for architects who are transitioning to management roles?” … and I had some hot opinions on that.
Where to begin? Let’s start with a little conversation about leadership versus management.
Understanding the distinctions between leadership and management is crucial because it clarifies the roles and responsibilities of individuals within an organization. Both are necessary for an organization’s success, but they serve different purposes and require different skill sets. Effective leadership inspires and guides, while effective management ensures tasks are completed efficiently.
The one caveat I will add is that you need to have leadership skills to be effective at management.
Effective Communication Skills jump to 4:31
This is a topic that I talk about incessantly and despite recognizing my own shortcomings in being an effective communicator, it is something that I work on the absolute most.
- Active Listening: Encourage managers to listen actively to their team members, understanding their concerns, ideas, and feedback.
- Clear and Concise Communication: Emphasize the importance of clear, direct, and respectful communication in both written and verbal forms.
- Conflict Resolution: Train on resolving conflicts professionally, fostering a positive work environment.
- Achievement: Develop activities that can help build a team environment that allows people the opportunity to develop some sort of non-working relationship with their teammates that would improve communication skills.
Time Management and Prioritization jump to 16:00
Prioritization is crucial for effective time management in a management role. All employees need to learn how to focus on tasks that contribute most to the organization’s goals, but as you move into a management role, you aren’t just working on how you manage your own time, but the time of others. This is when prioritization really makes a difference in working through the typically broad range of responsibilities
- Time Blocking: Encourage employees to allocate specific time blocks for different tasks, ensuring that important tasks are given dedicated focus.
- Use of Prioritization Tools: Teach them to use tools like the Eisenhower Matrix or task management software to categorize tasks by urgency and importance.
- Regular Review: Encourage regular reviews of task lists to adjust priorities as needed based on changing circumstances.
Delegation jump to 29:36
Effective delegation is essential for freeing up time and empowering team members. Less-experienced employees who are migrating into management must learn to delegate tasks appropriately. This task is a lot harder than people realize because it isn’t about passing work from your plate to someone else’s. This has more to do with assigning to the appropriate people and empowering them to take on the responsibility (i.e. reduce or eliminate micromanaging).
- Clear Communication: Train them to communicate tasks clearly, including objectives, expectations, and deadlines.
- Trust and Empower: Encourage them to trust their team and empower team members by giving them autonomy to complete delegated tasks.
- Follow-up and Support: Emphasize the importance of providing necessary support, guidance, and periodic check-ins without micromanaging.
A key consideration to this process is understanding that when you delegate tasks, you are reassigning work, process, time, and effort, to others but NOT the responsibility for that task.
Time Efficiency jump to 41:48
All employees, but especially those moving into a management role, must learn to use their time efficiently, eliminating time-wasting habits and practices. This is a topic that requires attention and constant development throughout an entire career.
- Time Auditing: Encourage them to conduct periodic time audits to identify time-wasting activities and distractions.
- Time Management Techniques: Teach them techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, batching similar tasks, and avoiding multitasking.
- Technology Utilization: Show them how to leverage productivity tools and apps to streamline tasks and reduce administrative work.
I have always thought that when I put my head down and focus, I am very efficient and I was able to complete those tasks ahead of the time I had assigned myself to do it. As I have grown in my leadership roles, this is becoming dramatically more important because the frequency with which unplanned tasks and items that need my attention have skyrocketed. I have needed to try and and get anything done as soon as possible because chances are, my calendar which looks completely open at the start of the day, will become congested with items that need immediate attention.
Goal Setting jump to 51:47
Setting clear and achievable goals is a fundamental aspect of time management for managers.
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Teach them the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework for setting goals. This is a larger discussion than we spent today but if you are curious to know more about this process, this is a good resource (here)
- Breakdown Goals: Help them break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks and milestones.
- Regular Progress Tracking: Stress the need for regular tracking of progress toward goals and making adjustments as necessary.
Stress Management jump to 60:51
Stress can negatively impact time management, and honestly, stress negatively impacts almost everything. While I consider this a life consideration, I included it on this list because as a manager, you need to understand and recognize that other people have to deal with stress as well, and that they might need to attend to the ramifications of their stress differently than how you do.
- Mindfulness and Relaxation: Encourage them to practice mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation to manage stress. I hear this recommended all the time – I don’t do it myself but I work with people who swear by the practice.
- Work-Life Balance: How do you not talk about this item with the subject is stress management? Stress the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout.
- Time for Self-Care: Remind them to allocate time for personal well-being, exercise, and relaxation to recharge their energy.
Decision-Making and Problem-Solving jump to 63:30
We went through this section pretty quickly, mostly because it’s too big a topic to squeeze into a show like this one. I ended up adding it last moment because I wanted to take a minute to talk about jumping to conclusions without having all the information. Whenever I am on the receiving end of this, all I can think of is how ridiculous someone is being because rather than wasting my time talking about something that isn’t correct, they could have used this time to understand the problem better, presumably allowing them to reach a solution more quickly.
- Data Analysis: Teach how to gather and analyze data to make informed decisions.
- Critical Thinking: Train on thinking critically and weighing the pros and cons before reaching conclusions.
- Risk Assessment: Highlight the importance of assessing risks associated with decisions.
- Feedback Loop: Emphasize the need to evaluate the outcomes of decisions and adapt if necessary.
- Achievement: Present real-world scenarios for analysis and decision-making practice.
There is a Navy Seal motto that I think about every time the topic of data analysis, risk assessment, and achievement is involved …
“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”
If it’s good enough for them when lives are on the line, it’s good enough for me when I am trying to determine if I need to move a project deadline.
Recommended Reading jump to 0:00
“The First-Time Manager“ by Jim McCormick (2021)
Why it’s recommended: This book is a classic guide for new managers. It provides practical advice and insights into the fundamental skills needed to excel in a management role. It covers topics like communication, delegation, motivation, and team-building in a straightforward and accessible manner. It’s an excellent starting point for someone new to management, offering real-world examples and actionable tips.
“Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek (2017)
Why it’s recommended: This book delves into the importance of leadership in creating a positive and productive work environment. Simon Sinek argues that great leaders prioritize the well-being of their teams and create a sense of trust and belonging. It explores the idea that leaders who put their people first tend to achieve greater success. It’s a compelling read for new managers looking to understand the role of leadership in management and how it impacts team dynamics. (This is part of a three-book series)
“Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink (2011)
Why it’s recommended: Understanding motivation is a key aspect of effective management. Daniel Pink’s book explores the science behind motivation and how to apply it in a managerial context. He introduces the concepts of autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the three main drivers of motivation. This book not only helps managers motivate their teams but also provides valuable insights into human behavior that are essential for leadership.
Would you rather? jump to 72:15
For today, we are going to do a Would You Rather, I am still tempted to choose the one I ultimately didn’t select, but in the end, I don’t think there’s much to this one.
Would you rather have an additional day off every week of the year, or have 1 month off a year, all taken on consecutive days?
The idea of constant 3-day weekends for an entire year – which amounts to 52 days off a year – is wildly appealing, but the reality is that I don’t think you can mentally recharge your battery in 3 days, and I don’t think the limitations on what you can do or where you can go within 3 days is worth it. Andrew added the consideration that during the summer months when he doesn’t have his typical teaching schedule, he gets kind of bored … but he still took the month.
Ep 134: Management 101
To wrap up the more serious part of our conversation, I’ll summarize by saying that any transitions can be challenging, but they are also full of potential and promise and you would do well to embrace this role with enthusiasm and confidence. The unique skills and experiences that have brought you to this moment in your career will prepare you to enter a management position and be successful. Stay open to learning, seek guidance when needed, and always lead by example, and hopefully, with integrity.
Special thanks to today’s sponsor Construction Specialties – they are so focused on the importance of mastering movement, that they have created CEUs specifically on mastering movement. Each course is worth 1 AIA LU/HSW and is part of the Mastering Movement Academy by CS. Visit masteringmovement.net to take this and other courses.