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Management For Dummies - Part One

Updated on April 2, 2013

All Managers Are Not Created Equal


A manager is anyone who supervises or is put in charge of other people or projects. The number of people or projects doesn't matter and has no affect on the requirements of being a manager. If the manager is in charge of other people than he or she has the obligation to help determine and understand the responsibilities of the people they manage. Managing other people isn't easy and requires a thoughtful, dedicated approach. People, unlike projects, are unpredictable and require clearly defined goals and objectives. Without these specifics people have a tendency to decide for themselves what's important and necessary which leads to misalignment, confusion and ultimately failure. Managers need to always remember that the better defined and understood the objective the better the outcome.

While managing projects doesn't directly require managing other people, other peoples' assistance and or involvement are generally required. In this case the manager must understand and plan the project completely prior to starting in order to understand who else in the organization will be required to complete or maintain the project. Managing projects in many cases is much harder than managing people, because most of the time the manager is the only project member and therefore has to shoulder the brunt of the responsibilities and workload. Managing projects requires skills that managing people doesn't. Because there are usually a number of "bosses" when someone manages a project, it is critical that the manager be able to clearly understand the needs of the customers he or she has to service. An example of project management that requires a person to serve several masters, might be Information Technology manager or the Human Resource manager in a small company. Both positions have a number of internal customers who have different needs and different expectations.

In either case, whether the manager is managing people or projects, planning and understanding are critical for success.


The first rule of management is to recognize that "you are who you hire". As a manager your main responsibility is to assemble the right talent for the task you need accomplished. A carpenter wouldn't use a saw to tighten a screw and a manager shouldn't hire an accountant to work on the sales floor and wait on customers. Knowing the exact type of person and experience you need and then finding that person and not settling for someone who's available and you think can be trained is the difference between success and failure. While some training is necessary when it comes to ensuring an understanding of the company's procedures, policies and expectations, trying to train specific experience that the person doesn't already posses, whether or not it can be eventually accomplished, is a tremendous waste of a manager's time and adds little to no value. The manager should always remember that his or her career is in the hands of the people they hire and the better the manager is at recruiting and hiring the right person the more successful the manager will be.

The best way to determine the right person for the job the manager needs filled is to do a profile assessment. Take the time to list, in order of importance, the exact experience and qualities the person needs to have to fill the position. For example, if you need someone with a financial background and experience, in your profile you'd list those requirements first. Then in addition to general financial experience, let's assume you want the person to have specific industry financial experience, like retail or wholesale, those criteria would be listed next. And finally, knowing the culture of the company and the exact job the person would be doing and the other people in the organization they would have to interact with, you would list the personality traits the person should have in order to ensure they can successfully integrate and be successful.
While profiling is key to hiring the right person for a position inside a company, it is also the key to finding the right partner for any type of outside assistance you need. From consultants to vendors, profiling is the key to getting the result you expect.


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