Management covers a range of activities, managing budgets, managing information, managing buildings and equipment. But you are not a proper manager unless you manage people. People are challenging, they can be difficult, they are not always cooperative, some people behave badly at work and some are not competent at their job. People get sick at inconvenient times, have lives outside of work, children, elderly relatives, unhappy marriages all of which you must take account of as a people manager.
Even so some managers are more administrators others more leaders. The difference is whether you’re trying to run a smooth operation or shake things up. In the current harsh financial climate all managers are expected to manage change. The changes may be to reduce costs, increase efficiency or to run the service with fewer managers. All of which will involve getting people to do things differently.
Whilst you’re busy cutting management posts you are also acquiring a broader span of responsibilities. The result is that your professional background is less relevant and your managerial skills are more valued than your professional knowledge.
Now you’re a manager that manages change but in this climate of pay freezes, increased pension contributions and redundancies can you inspire staff or is it enough that you get them to do what needs to be done?
Didn’t I read that another difference between managers and leaders was that leaders ask questions? Yet in many organisations asking questions can be seen as dissent, even disloyalty. So you call yourself a manager but you know that this means something different these days.
Blair McPherson author of Equipping managers for an uncertain future published by Russell House .You can follow Blair on twitter @blairmcpherson1