This is the first part in a three blog series by our management & leadership specialist David McIntosh focusing on management competence.
This question has been around forever but as the environment in which managers operate becomes increasingly more immediate and more complex the fact is only a small minority of managers’ are born with the skill set that an effective manager needs today. So the vast majority of today’s capable managers are made.
Organisations are changing, they are reducing the number of management layers in their structure, many are reducing the number of managers they employ and so team size is increasing accordingly the role of a manager at every level of an organisation is constantly changing.
So faced with the fact that managers need to be developed and the old role of a manager no longer applies this blog focuses on what skills managers need to develop to be effective in the modern world.
We see it in organisations all the time a team member is really good at their job and they get promoted into the role of the manager. At this point it would be helpful if their line manager sat them down and explained how their role has changed and how they need to let go of most of what made them successful as a team member and adopt new management competencies to be successful as a manager – let’s face it this rarely happens and this is why first line managers either sink or swim. The reason this doesn’t happen is that the manager of the first line manager doesn’t understand what management competencies are required and/or do not have the correct competencies themselves. This is why many organisations invest valuable budget and resources into developing effective managers at all levels.
The question is what competencies to invest in ?
Getting the right competencies requires the organisation to undertake some analysis and research for each management level within their organisation comparing the competencies their high performers utilise compared to their average and low performers. It is the competency set of their high performers that the organisation should be setting for managers at each level. Ideally the organisation should then take their internal benchmarks and compare it to external benchmarks to ensure they are not pitching their competency levels at too high or too low a level.
Many organisations balk at the investment of time and budget required to complete this research and analysis plus the required time delay before the competency framework is available to use. This is understandable when a fully researched and statistically valid management competency framework is available to use Free of Charge.
The MAP 2.0 Management Competency Framework in detail
The MAP 2.0 Management Competency Framework splits into two sections ‘Task’ related Competencies and ‘People’ related to competencies.
Let’s start with the ‘Task’ competencies by working clockwise starting with the ‘Managing Your Job’competency cluster. This cluster is built around a manager’s ability to set SMART goals then using those goals to grow their capability and manage their on-going performance. Managers must then be able to plan their projects and work, as well as identify the resources they need before scheduling what they need to do to meet their goals. Their success is then down to their ability to manage their time day-to-day and week-to-week to focus on what is important and to avoid wasting their valuable time.
‘Thinking Clearly’ is the second ‘Task’ competency cluster and this cluster looks at the manager’s ability to systematically gather, organise and evaluate information, questioning and challenging appropriately, to get to the root cause of problems and not the symptom of the problem. It then looks at the manager’s ability to understand and reflect on the logic behind statements and data, then challenging poorly reasoned options to resolve a problem or situation. Looking at possible solutions the manager then needs to decide on the options available based on the weighting and rankings for each one, clearly understanding the possible outcomes and risk factors before making a decision.
The ‘People’’ competencies start with the ‘Building Your Team’competency cluster. This cluster is built around a manager’s ability to build a high performing team starting with planning development and ensuring the relevant training, coaching and support is available so that team members can advance and undertake challenging task and responsibilities. Integral to this is managing the performance of team members and a manager must be competent in reviewing performance, inviting feedback from others, ensuring it’s a two-way process, before checking any corrective actions needed to keep their team member on track are taken. When performance does not meet the required standard, the manager needs to have adult-to-adult conversations with the person concerned to correct the performance before resetting the goals and standards required.
The final competency cluster is ‘Relating to Others’ and this is about the managers ability to engage and communicate with their team members. It starts with the ability to pro-actively listen to the intent and content of what others are saying, without assuming or judging, and checking that what they have heard is correct. From this, the ability to gain objective information by creating a neutral environment, to minimise biased responses, where probing questions can be asked to effectively gain more information is critical. As well as acquiring information a manager must be able to communicate effectively by planning communication in advance, taking into account verbal and non-verbal messaging to ensure recipients receive clear and concise messages.
If an organisation is to survive never mind prosper in the constantly evolving world in which we operate then they will only do it if they develop their managers. The key to this is to develop managers against a competency framework which is based on science and not assumption, a framework such as MAP 2.0. The twelve competencies under the four competency clusters in MAP 2.0 are a fully researched and statistically valid management competency framework available for organisations to use Free of Charge. Developing your managers to perform to the required level across the twelve competencies in the many and varied situations they find themselves in every day will drive personal and organisational success.
If you found this blog useful then look out for the next in the series ‘Measuring Management Competence which looks at the different methods organisations use to measure managerial competence against their management competency framework.