Managing You

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Managing is probably one of the more challenging aspects of your career.   I’m not referring to direct reporting or formal management structures, but the directional management of self (see picture below).  Since Webster defines manage as : to direct the professional career of , it stands to reason that you are the ultimate manager of our career.

Whether you are managing DOWN, OUT or UP, there are 3 traits that an effective manager possesses.   Some attributes of the traits may come natural, while others will require coaching, mentoring and practice–and lots of it.

 Effective managers communicate clearly

Communication is a two way mechanism.  It means conveying your messages to other people clearly and unambiguously. Do not make people guess what you are trying to say.    It also means receiving information with as little distortion as possible.  Listening to what is being said to you without putting your own interpretation of what the sender is saying.    When you consider that about 75% of our time is engaged in some type of  communicative situation, it becomes even more critical as a manager to recognize and understand the verbal and non-verbal cues.

Effective managers define purpose

People will perform better and respond to what you desire of them when they understand and have bought into the objective at hand.   Too often managers mistakenly assume that everyone knows the ”why” of the matter.  While it is not always possible or appropriate to share details, the effective manager is skilled at defining the purpose for achieving a goal in a manner that facilitates the creation of realistic action plans.

Effective managers are culturally conscious

The cultural environment of the 21st century workforce is a filled with  diversity.  It becomes critical that an effective manager appreciates the different styles of operating, and accepts that there is more than one way of doing things.  By taking time to observe your environment, you will be able to learn those unwritten rules of the organization’s culture.  This will allow you to become familiar with which contributions are valued and which behaviors are rewarded.

It’s really easy to get stuck in a cycle of  criticizing about a poor and ineffective manager.  Let’s face it, some people are made managers who, quite frankly, are just not cut out to be directing the careers of others.  Rather than complain about a situation you can’t change, take a step back and evaluate how well you are directing your own career.

How well are you clearly communicating to your goals?

How well have you defined your career goals for your purpose and what you want to achieve?

How well do you understand how your career goals align with the culture in which you work?

You may not have a manager title on your resume , but you ARE the manager of your professional career.

What Are Your Thoughts?