Successful Management – Right People, Right Place (Not You!)

January 2, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

As managers, every one of us has strengths and weaknesses we need to overcome in the work we do.

Delivering the results we need depends on our ability to make the most of our strengths and acknowledge those tasks that are on the very edge of our scope of capability.

One of the most important skills of a manager is having the courage and focus to recognize where we ourselves find some of our work more challenging than other tasks. Being the ‘boss’ can sometimes have the downside where it’s hard to admit any weakness at all.

By being open and honest enough to assess those areas of your work where you feel naturally more comfortable – and then acknowledging that there are some activities that you really don’t like, or are less competent at, you will start to align yourself with others on your team who find this tough to accept and admit.

Struggling through work you hate or really find outside your personal talent list, will take longer and be a cloud on your horizon. Not to mention you will do it badly.

Once you are clear in the parts of your job as a manager you aren’t too keen on, nor probably have a natural flair for, it’s time to find people – perhaps already on your team – who love that sort of work and delegate to them.

You see they will be delighted with the work that they love to do and accept it gladly. Their confidence will grow and abilities to do more expand.

You will have time to do more of what you are already good at and expand that yourself too.

It’s a win-win – with no losers!

But what if you don’t have anyone? Here’s an example from a manager who learnt the benefits of ‘Right people, Right place’:-

“I’m not one for mundane detail. Audits bore me. Processes drive me crackers. I glaze over!

So, I got someone who loves them. Sandra came to me through a friend of a friend. I needed an audit manager who liked detail and seeing things through.

She was the perfect candidate and sailed through the recruitment process.

I gave her the ground rules and the outcomes I needed and let her get on with it. In an organization that had over 100 written down processes, she was in her element and I wasn’t.

At first, I needed Sandra to touch base with me often so that I could trust her capabilities. In the end I just let her have the task, explained what I needed and let her get on with it.

I always thanked her for a job well done; I always acknowledged her skill for being something I lacked.

Boy, was I grateful for Sandra.”

Where you have taken the first step to understand better the people you would best value around – like those who have the skills that you are a bit thin on – you can set your stall out to fill those spaces when they aren’t there already.

And when the time comes to recruit, you will be very clear in what you need.

Then when you need to, you can delegate completely all those areas of your work that others can do better than you.

Another burden that you can shed being much more creative about making more of the limited time you have.

(c) 2010 Martin Haworth. This is a short excerpt from one of 52 lessons in management development at Super Successful Manager!, an easy to use, step-by-step weekly development program for managers of EVERY skill level. You can get a sample lesson for free at

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