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Preparing for a Management Role: What You Need to Know

The position of manager is one of the many accomplishments current and future MBA students have on their future list of accomplishments. Whether you manage direct reports or serve as a manager leading cross functional team members there are management basics one needs to know to increase probability for success.  

1. Business quantitative skills are important. Managing in business requires a solid working knowledge of financial metrics. These metrics serve as performance indicators to how well you are doing. These same metrics also serve as a stimulus to change course if your current management strategy is not working.

2. Business qualitative skills are equally important. Being good at the people piece of management creates a positive work environment. The style you adopt to manage your team is important. For example deploying a laisse faire management style when working with an inexperienced team will most likely lead to below average results. On the opposite side, micro managing a seasoned and tenured group of individuals will create discourse within the team.  

3. The only constant is change and plan for it. Good managers realize the environment is far from static in nature. Business strategies change to include management structure. Functional structures transform to matrix structures. Businesses may change from a traditional structure to business units. A good manager adapts to flux within the structure of the organization and freely adopts new methods.  

4. Saying “I don’t know” is OK!  In today’s complex business environment it is impossible to have answers to all questions at your fingertips. A good manager does not improvise an answer to a business problem whether to her boss or a direct report. Rather the manager asks for the time to research and come back with an answer. Please note, lack of follow-up will result in a loss of respect and credibility.

5. Teaching others and learning from others are both necessary traits to master. A strong manager is open to serving as a teacher to anyone within the organization. Freely sharing thoughts and ideas as well as a willingness to help. In addition learning from others throughout the organization provides managers a different perspective on the business and provides further growth. 

6. Yes you are fallible. A good manager realizes she has and will make mistakes. How the manager learns from these mistakes is important. A strong manager uses these failures to teach others of “what not to do” going forward. 

7. Transparency garners respect. Using open communication with your direct reports when things may not be going well. Knowing that openness and honesty is the only approach to use. Being able to build credibility when the “call to action” is created! Remaining apolitical even if the culture dictates such behavior.

8. Learn to share successes. This can be standing in the shadows to allow members of your team to bask in the glory of a job well done and  insuring credit is given to the right people. Coaches may call the plays but it’s the players who win the games! 

9. Make it personal. A strong manager takes the time to evaluate their direct reports needs and wants. What better way to drive employee engagement than to give your direct reports a road map for the future.   Good managers show pride when their direct reports succeed!

10. Most importantly, have fun with it. If you want to become a manager because you believe that is what is expected of you, rethink your decision. If you are passionate about driving success through others and are willing to dedicate the time needed to make this happen, management will be a fulfilling role for you. 

In conclusion, honing your managerial skills comes with practice. Quite a bit of practice!

If you are interested in becoming a manager, Benedictine University offers an Online MBA program that will give you the skills needed to succeed in a management role. To learn more, call 866-295-3104 to speak with a Program Manager. 

About the Author

Pete Papantos is an operations director at a Fortune 500 company. He is responsible for the global execution of their strategic plan and driving operational excellence using lean methods.  In addition, Pete is a graduate instructor with emphasis in operations and strategic management — both in traditional and online settings.