Improving Management Skills
Getting the right things done!
Getting the right things done!
One undervalued way of improving management skills is to step back and make sure that the right things are getting done.
There can be a tendency to equate activity with productivity and busyness with effectiveness rather than getting the right things done. This can often be the difference between being a sharp manager and someone who’s edge has become blunt.
This is an article in our series on optimum performance. In it we’ve considered a range of management problems, including: working at peak performance; using our strengths; creating more discretionary time; finding energy sources and using that energy to be creative. All of these aspects of performance are brought together in this final area. They all need to be put to use to deliver the outcomes you want to achieve.
You can be working at your peak, using your strengths, but not necessarily delivering the goals you value; your effectiveness is made blunt by not being clear about what you want to achieve.
People perform at their best by using their strengths and being able to choose what and how they do things. When this happens they start to harness their energy to be creative. Crucially though, they need to do this with a focus on delivering a bigger purpose. When strengths flow, choice liberates energy and passion releases creativity, then all that is needed is direction – so that the right things are achieved.
Improving management skills is not just about improving what and how we do things. It’s also about improving the things we choose to do. As Peter Drucker famously said:
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
Sharpness suggests clarity in what you are doing. If this is so, then the first step is to review your goals and objectives. Are they clear? Do they reflect what you want to achieve? Are they motivational? We are more likely to be motivated by some goals than by others,and some goals are more likely to make us happier than others. So we suggest asking two questions of the goals you intend to set:
Firstly, are they goals that are likely to motivate you to want to achieve them? To do this they should be at least challenging (they stretch you) and specific (you are clear about what you have got to do). We discuss more on the kind of goals that are more likely to motivate us in our article: Goal Setting Definition: making goals purposeful.
Secondly, are they goals that are likely to improve your well-being? For this to be so, they should be goals that are intrinsic. That is, more geared towards personal growth, connection (with others and the broader community), contribution (worthwhile goals), and that you find interesting. We explore the kind of goals which are likely to make us happier in our article: Why is Goal Setting Important?
How many priorities do you have? If you say you have 10 priorities, can you really say that you have any priorities at all? Out of the 10, which 3 are really important?
Do you need to review your priorities and select the ones which reinforce each other? Which priority helps and supports the achievement of another? There is always a danger of losing focus and sharpness because we are trying to do too much.
Think about improving management skills by doing less and achieving more! Think about these questions from our article: What is Time Management:
Find out what actions, tasks and activities really help you achieve your goals. There is much of what we do in the routine of our jobs that has little to do with the goals and objectives we are trying to achieve. To remain sharp we need to focus on the small number of actions which really do contribute. Two ways of doing this are:
There can be few more valuable ways of improving management skills than learning how to get the right things done. When we’re clear about the activities that really contribute to the organisation’s performance, then effective motivation at work really does help us deliver optimum performance.
This is the sixth and final article in our series on improving work motivation. The first: In Search of Optimum Performance, introduces the series. If you haven’t read this article yet then it may be a good place to start. Management is essentially a balancing act and the first article introduces a model which may help you to achieve optimum performance.
Our Optimum Performance model is based on six common management problem areas:
Take a look at the Optimum Performance Graph, below. Think about these questions to see how you can improve your performance and workplace well-being:
For more on the Optimum Performance Series just follow the links in Further Reading.
If you’re looking for more resources on motivation at work, we’ve bundled together these six PDF e-guides to help you put motivation at the heart of performance. At half the normal price! Read the guides in this order and use the tools in each. These guides are great value, packed with practical advice, tips and tools on how to motivate yourself (and others) to perform. (6 pdf guides, 176 pages, 26 tools, 15 tips and 22 insights for half price!)
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