3 Steps to help managers manage


“Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”

~Peter Drucker


Implicit in most jobs with the title manager is the responsibility of managing their people. However, for many, this is often seen as an extra chore that gets in the way of doing their functional job such as selling, accounting, marketing or manufacturing. 

Management guru, writer and educator, Peter Drucker wrote “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

We tend to promote those people who are good at their jobs to "manager". It is normally the functional aspects of their jobs they are good at and, after promotion, they have to start to learn how to manage effectively.

While businesses usually have systems in place to assist in the functional performance, help on managing the people is often not available.

An excellent model for getting this in perspective is John Adair's Three Circles model.

This model proposes the manager has three key areas of responsibility and they are all equally important.

1. Perform the task

2. Maintain the team

3. Support the individual  

Doing all these well is challenging. But that is how it should be. This is how one business can excel over another. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

There are a few key issues to be addressed for each of the areas of responsibility and these are listed below below so you can check you have them covered:

  1. Achieve the task

  • Has the task been defined in terms of objectives for the business and the team?

  • Does the team know how their contributions link to the needs of the business?

  • Does the team have the resources necessary – people, money, equipment, systems?

  • How clear are the timelines and plans?

2. Manage the team or the group

  • Have plans been agreed so the team knows what has to be done?

  • Are there measures in place for the team's contribution?

  • Are the team members clear on their roles within the team? Do they know what this means?

  • Is there the right mix of abilities and competencies in the team?

  • Have they received training in working together?

  • Does the team get feedback?

3. Manage the individuals

  • Has each individual's required contribution to the task, both technical/specialist and team role, been defined along with a measure?

  • Does the individual have the skills to do the job?

  • Does the individual require training?

  • Does the individual receive feedback?

  • Are there adequate rewards for achieving the task – financial and non-financial?

  • Are the individuals' needs being met in terms of their own aspirations and career goals?

If a manager is addressing all these issues, being open with team members and seeking their input—there is a good chance the performance of the team will be way ahead of those where only the functional responsibilities are being addressed. What is more, the sustainability of all these areas is increased. Relying on doing just one factor well is high risk.

This will positively influence performance, make recruitment to the team easier and staff retention greater. 

For more information on how to develop your managers into all round performers who make a difference to your business, please contact us to find out about our tried and tested Management Development Program.

Amy Phillips