Similar to top leadership skills, a list of three top management skills may depend more on the situation than anything else. So picking three top ones remains a risky task but yet one I was asked to perform recently.
Here’s an expanded version of how I responded:
- Accomplishing business goals
- If we’re not supporting the business with our IT solutions, we need to re-evaluate the work.
- I can’t emphasize this enough. If your IT projects and infrastructure aren’t supporting the business in some real way, reconsider them.
- This is tricky when evaluating needed upgrades (e.g., to stay current) but it usually becomes clearer when thinking about how the business goals falter when the upgrade doesn’t take place.
- Devising and implementing systems and structure
- By creating repeatable processes, we improve our efficiency and our ability to operate and we contribute savings toward the bottom line.
- Far from advocating strict Taylorism (turning technologists into machines who only follow repeatable processes), I rather tend more Gilbreth, making “processes more efficient by reducing the motions [steps] involved”.1 See my post on superficial diversity to get more of my thoughts on this subject.
- Conversely, I would also argue that knowing when to dismantle systems and structures (and then doing it!) is a top skill that managers all need to deploy on occasion.
- Implementing things correctly
- After leadership determines what the right thing is, managers see to it that the thing is done right.
- Leadership and management are not two distinct entities, but complementary skills, frequently in the same individual.
These are just three skills of dozens that a manager needs to employ from time to time and you undoubtably have others.
What are three toward the top of your list?