Over the years, I have always tried to surround myself with people who have strengths in areas that I do not. As well, I have done everything possible to empower those people. It became clear to me that there were three very important aspects essential to moving forward and getting the most out of the people I worked with. Surely, I am not the first person to write about the three Ds of good management. I believe I heard the term a few decades ago as a joke, the third D being the punch line having to do with getting away for a round of golf. This is not what I have in mind here.
So, with all of that said, what are the three Ds of good management?
- For a variety of reasons, many people in management positions have a hard time making decisions. This inability is sometimes born from the fear of making bad choices. Fear is debilitating. If you are afraid to act, you should seek the council of your peers and talk about it with them. It’s best to speak with friends you trust who do not work for the same organization.
- Other times the hesitation is due to concerns of overload. If that is the case, then you are not leveraging your team to its fullest advantage. You are likely assuming too much of the workload yourself. You need to learn to “let go” and spread out the workload. In doing so, you do something very important. You show trust.
- Another common cause is over-analysis. Having supporting data to justify your decisions is important but this must be in balance with the ability to act in a timely manner. Many people who suffer from over-analysis don’t listen to their gut feelings. I have seen many ideas that make all the sense in the world on paper but fail miserably when put to the test. Don’t let the windows of opportunity pass by for want of perfect data and don’t let perfect data fool you either!
- Whatever the cause may be, without a decision, not much is going to happen. As I often say, you can’t steer a parked car. Make a decision then make corrections as needed. Remember that mistakes offer the potential for growth. With that in mind, decide and act.
- As a manager, you have a team of people around you with various talents. It is essential that you chose the right individual for the task. You can’t expect a long distance runner to do high jumps for you.
- In order to properly delegate, you must also “clearly define” the outcome you are looking for. Often, objectives are not achieved simply because they were not properly delineated at the outset. Don’t expect your staff to guess what you have in mind. Be clear about what you want.
- I am not a huge fan of dictating style. People need the freedom to work according to their particular skills using methodologies that work for them. An analogy I often use with new team members is as follows.
“I need you to get to the top of this mountain. Which side you climb up and what type of rope you use is up to you. Tell me what you need and it will be provided. I will be right behind you to help if you need me. I just ask that you climb with integrity.”
- Once you have made a decision and delegated the task to a team member, you must let them do their job. They will not work well with you hovering over their shoulders. They will not be productive if you ask for an update every fifteen minutes either. For sure, you do need to follow-up, but you should do this in a manner that is not stressful. Reporting is also important, but it should not be an onerous process for them.
- By disappearing, you are demonstrating your confidence in them and empowering them to get the job done. They should feel free to seek your advice or bounce ideas off you. Please, do not confuse the idea of disappearing with the joke I mentioned earlier on about vanishing to the golf course. You need to be available, just let it be on their terms.
With good planning, you and your team members will avoid many mistakes. Keep in mind however that this is not a perfect world nor are the people who inhabit it. Mistakes will happen but they are not what define us. What we learn from our mistakes and how we deal with them is what ultimately defines us.
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