Many times, what you do is not nearly as important as how you do it or the infrastructure you build to encourage and protect sustainable growth.
As a manager or potential manager, best practices need to be front of mind for you at all times. There’s always going to be a worse way to do things, but don’t get so focused on Not Screwing Up that you fail to make the best decision in a given situation.
To enable you to make the best decisions you need to understand the accepted and proven best practices for your industry and business. Your company probably has a manual that will tell you what to do, but best practices go well beyond this.
Think about the manager character, Michael Scott, from the American version of The Office. Scott often knows what to do, but his weakness is not really understanding “why” it needs to be done. Often he’s the problem, and that’s the comedy, but his ignorance goes deeper than that. He’s oblivious of his own failings, but he’s also oblivious to the real reasons – the best practices – to do what he should.
Understanding how to do something is simply not enough. Anyone can know “how” to get something done, but if you don’t know “why,” your perspective will be handicapped — incomplete, and prone to error.
A full team is not enough. If you don’t have the right people in the right positions, the “right” number of people will just mean more problems for you to deal with before you can get any actual work done. Hiring is a vital process, and it’s a developed skill. A big part of successful hiring is knowing why you are hiring, not “what” you are hiring for, but “why” that skill set or job is vital to the overall success of your team. How do they “fit” into the system.
Some companies love to promote from within. Others bring in people from outside. Chances are, a bit of both is the best recipe for success. Remember, the goal is to find the right person for the job and the team.
Speaking of hiring, try not to bring in your buddies. Yes, they need a job, and yes they are fun … but work issues can ultimately strain relationships, and, as a manager, you’re less likely to make “tough” decisions if the person on the other side of the desk is a friend. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly with your team. You should be, and you should care about them, personally … but, as their manager, you probably should limit your time with them outside of work.
Learn how to make fast decisions and well-planned decisions. You will need to do both and to do both often. Not every choice can be a lengthy study with charts and focus groups … and some should. Understanding when each is appropriate is a vital skill for a good manager.
Elie Hirschfeld is NY real estate developer.