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Every week on Coffee With Kim we meet with interesting founders and leaders, and occasionally sprinkle in a mini workshop. We’ve covered topics like resumes and LinkedIn, but today we’re discussing all things management. Managing up, managing down, management do’s, and management dont’s. I shared the number one skill managers want you to have, what you should avoid as a manager, plus my secret to managing clients.
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Do you consciously manage those above you aka your bosses or clients? Many think of management as having someone report to you, but managing people works both up and down. When managing up, I’ve learned bosses or clients are busy. To get a fast response, I suggest always framing questions to only need a yes or no.
For example, instead of asking “How would you like the outline created?”, say, “I’m going to create this outline in order of due date. Are you good with that?” This technique keeps conversation short and sweet and also shows initiative.
P.S. If any of my clients are reading, the secrets out, I do this with you all the time!
Secondly, managers often have a lot of ideas, but sometimes don’t remember what they’ve already assigned and what it will take to complete a new task. #Guilty. Don’t stress or work late, help them stay on track by setting priorities and expectations. Remind them of what’s already assigned to you and ask which they would like done first like this. Say this, “I’m happy to get this new task, however I already have A, B, and C on my plate. Which would you like me to get to first?” This forces them to know what’s on your plate and to prioritize!
The third way to master managing up is to bring ideas. It’s so simple, but trust me, it’s rare!
Being proactive and innovative is a skill that can’t be taught. It’s also a skill that every manager is looking for. Suggesting softwares, techniques, and other recommendations that elevate your team is always appreciated.
On the flip side, the number one thing managers dislike is when team members bring a problem but no solution. This is a big no-no!
The next time you present your manager with a problem, bring a detailed outline of the issue and 2-3 ways you can see solving it. This shows initiative, and that you’ve already thought through it. And, going back to point number one, you’re more likely to get a fast answer which means you can move forward quicker.
Managing down is the “traditional” structure most think of when they hear about managing people. This could be a Senior Manager managing Associate Managers, or a team member managing interns. It could also mean managing a vendor or freelancer working for you.
Reframe and refresh your management techniques with the following tips.
As a manager it’s important to give verbal directions first, then written. Here’s why – some people are auditory learners while others are visual. Auditory learners will hear what you said and absorb it during the meeting. Visual learners, on the other hand, will do best by reading or referring to notes later. Cater to both groups by sending a recap email using phrases like “as discussed” or “as presented” followed by specific dates, results, etc.
I have yet to meet a human being that enjoys being micromanaged, that said, avoid micromanaging at all costs. I get it. Sometimes you just have to know what’s happening with a project. Try implementing daily recaps, end of week recaps, or prioritization lists instead.
These management tools are great if you manage more than one person and will help you fight the urge to ask for a status report. Basecamp, Monday.com, and Asana are great project management tools for this!
Lastly, If you’re like me and struggle with knowing which projects to keep and which to delegate, do this… Handle the items on your to-do list that require you – like reviewing bank statements – and assign to a team member what doesn’t – like checking social media stats. Delegating can be hard because you feel like no one can do the task like you, but releasing control frees you up to do what truly only you can. Most leaders use some variation of this method, so I know it’ll work for you too.
Looking for tips on dealing with uncertainty and trying times? Want to ensure your career is future proof? Join us next week for a conversation with Jonathan Brill on resilient growth, innovation strategies, and preparing for change. RSVP here!
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