Artful Management: 5 Ways to Make It Happen

The days of dictator managers are over. Controlling, bossy, punitive managers no longer work-or maybe they never really did. Great management is an art, and one that is both a responsibility and a privilege. Great management is a challenge for anyone trying to define it, shape it, and deliver it. The good news is that it can happen. Here’s how:

1. Artful management is conscious management.

Conscious in this case refers to being awake, being observant, being aware of what your staff needs from you in order to do their best work. A one size fits all approach doesn’t get you optimal results. Know the strengths, weaknesses, and insecurities of each person, and manage accordingly in a way that builds the individual AND the organization.

2. Artful management is sometimes bold.

Bold is not brassy, shocking, or cruel. It is having the courage to say what needs to be said using words and tone that get people’s attention while respecting them at the same time. It’s about taking action that you know is appropriate and right, even if it’s unpopular.

3. Artful management welcomes diverse ideas.

The ability to honor and actually invite different ideas from the folks who work for you is a real skill. It also takes a lot of time and effort, unlike putting forth your own ideas and forcing them on everyone else. Creating a culture where people know their ideas are genuinely welcome is a healthy culture that fosters innovation and growth.

4. Artful management demonstrates interest in and capability of creating strategic partnerships.

Your organization or company is not a lone ship in the sea. You cannot do what your mission states you will do without other individuals and entities. Find out who supports you, who values you, who can offer you something that strengthens your business or service. Learn how you can help others accomplish their goals faster, easier, smarter. Form an alliance. Work together rather than as islands.

5. Artful management rewards staff for a job well done.

It’s not enough to give people a paycheck. You need to praise them for doing a wonderful job, or for going beyond the call of duty. You can do it privately or publicly, whatever the individual is most comfortable with. Take time to find out what would mean the most to the person deserving of recognition. Try to honor their preferences. And offer the praise immediately. Waiting for somebody’s annual review in six months defeats the purpose and diminishes the impact.

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