Becoming a Manager — Major Shift in Career Life

Your start-up guide as a new manager

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According to Lumen, managers are responsible for the processes of getting activities completed efficiently with and through other people and setting and achieving the firm’s goals through the execution of four basic management functions: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Both sets of processes utilize human, financial, and material resources.

In this story, we will talk about how do we utilize our people and how do we lead our teams. But first, in order for us to lead our people, it is of utmost importance to lead oneself.

Paradigm Shift

Becoming a manager will make you cautious about how you look and act at the office and even in public to the point that your friends and colleagues will tell you, “Nagbago ka na, hindi ka na ma-reach” (You have changed, you’re already on a different level). It is okay on some point as long as you are prioritizing being a manager and knowing the consequences of your actions. Remind yourself that whatever information that came from you, through actions or words, be it a joke or a serious note, will engrave to the minds of your subordinates and the effect can be advantageous or disadvantageous on your part as a manager.

A paradigm shift is defined as “an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.”

Preparing Yourself

The first shift you have to do is your mindset. Always put in mind that you are now a manager, and you have a large responsibility within your team. For your mindset to keep up, you should be establishing routines, initially by following the most basic in starting a day:

  1. Setting a predictive wake-up time;
  2. Productivity benefits of bathing; and,
  3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Aside from establishing routines, you should be able to identify your own productivity techniques such as:

  1. Pomodoro Technique — setting a 25-minute timer of productivity time and a 5-minute rest, and after 4 cycles take a 15-minute break, repeat until the end of the day.
  2. Snowball Method — start small tasks on the list and build momentum to accomplish bigger tasks later.
  3. Eat-That-Frog — start the biggest, most important, and most dreaded task and accomplish small tasks later.
  4. Two-minute Rule — complete tasks immediately if it only takes less than two minutes to accomplish.
  5. Checklist Manifesto — the to-do list, which keeps you motivated as you monitor your milestone by accomplishing tasks one by one in your list.
  6. 1–3–5 Rule — categorized your task into 1 big item, 3 medium items, and 5 small items to be completed within the day.
  7. Time Boxing — school type scheduling of task; Example: Task 1–8:00 AM to 10:30 AM, Task 2–10:30 AM to 12:00NN; Task3–1:30PM to 4:00 PM.

With the current pandemic situation and possible adaptation of work-from-scheme and virtual management, as a manager you should try setting up the following at home:

  1. Soundproof room
  2. Must not be in an open traffic area
  3. Mentally create a boundary line around your desk
  4. Focus with your eyes and ears
  5. Delegate personal tasks (within your home)
  6. Manage interruptions and emergencies
  7. Put a buffer each day

Setting Ground Rules

For an efficient and effective flow of activities, a manager should set and establish processes within the team.

Below are some of the usual activities within the team and guidelines on how to establish their processes:

  1. Communication — What are the ground rules in terms of communications, is it allowable to contact you after office hours, if yes, under what circumstances? What will be the e-mail response time? What is the team’s expectation in terms of text messages and chat groups? How are employees evaluated, was this communicated within the team?
  2. Meeting — How often should you conduct a meeting in a week and how long should every meeting last? Should the meeting be conducted in the office or via the internet? What tools or apps should be used? What are the responsibilities of the attendees, who will take note of the minutes, who will be presenting, who will preside?
  3. Leave Filing— When should the manager be notified regarding planned leaves? In case of emergency leaves, what should they prepare or present?
  4. Deadlines and Deliverables — Have the goals of certain deliverables discussed within the team? Has the team identified the stakeholders involved? Have the team determined the final deadline? Have the team planned the steps and tasks and properly assigned them to each of the members? Have the tools been identified for consistency within the team?
  5. Successes and Failures— How do you celebrate successes? How do you criticize failures?

There are other factors that you may discuss within the team. Set ground rules for more efficient and effective processes.

Roles as a Manager

As a manager, you should be the 3A’s — Available, Accessible, and Approachable. This is for you to take the roles properly, such as:

  1. Commanding — Managers are literally commanders. They should be able to set goals, enforced discipline, and direct the path to their subordinates.
  2. Equipping — Managers should be able to manage the needs and wants of the team and the subordinates. They should provide support and enable possibilities for the team.
  3. Influencing — Managers should be able to keep their subordinates motivated, challenged, and convinced.

Performance and Engagement Delivery

Always remember that majority of your deliverables are dependent on your employees. As a manager, you should make sure that they are engaged by sending them to workshops, seminars, and training to boost their abilities to exponentially boost their performance. Even on a smaller scale of asking them to clean or organize their workstation after a job well done so that they may start their day tomorrow fresh.

Imagine, you and your team render 5 out of 7 days in a week at work. Managers should think of a way to make their employees motivated to go to or doing work by simply creating playtime moments. Your staffs, secretaries, and subordinates are not just your co-workers, but as a team, they are also your family. Make sure to compensate for the stress of the expectations you want from them. Treat them to lunch or create mini quiz shows about your work, and provide prizes to the winners.

Becoming a manager should not stop you from learning. New technologies and techniques are being developed over time. Managers should be able to adapt to changes by knowing it at hand. While you send your employees to training and seminars, you should also do your part to be informed. Having a knowledgeable and wise manager is something employees are looking up to.

On the other hand, knowing-it-all will be bad if employees become dependent on you. As a manager, you should be able to enforce accountability and ownership in the tasks assigned to them.

“WHY” — Let your subordinates understand the rationale for the tasks given to them. Everyone should be able to answer, “Why am I doing this?”. Red flags such as, “I think it is better to do this, but my manager told me to do this and I do not know why”, should be avoided at all times! Explain why their proposal is not applicable. What are the implications or consequences of the options in place? “Just follow my instructions.” or “I’ve been doing this for years so you must follow.” is the WORST response to these questions.

Maintain Happiness

This will be probably the most important and the most difficult role of a manager. As a manager, you should be able to maintain happiness. Everyone including you should be engaged to growth in terms of career and personal, be able to control something — a sense of ownership and power over something, be connected to the common objective and other people, and be able to know their purpose as part of the team.

Comments/Suggestions

Should you have any comments or suggestions about this story, feel free to leave a comment or message me. Thank you!

Filipino | Registered Electrical Engineer | Aspiring Data Scientist | Principal Engineer at National Transmission Corporation