The Qualifiers of Management

This month, we start a series on “Managerial Fog:” what it is, how to recognize it and how to move past it.  First, consider this: how do people know if a management position is a good fit for them? Are there certain indicators or signs that an individual would be a qualified manager? Sylvia answers this question in a YouTube clip.

For this blog, we decided to talk to a manager who can tell us, from experience, the characteristics of a good manager. We are delighted to present you with someone who not only fits the bill, but who practices a value that’s fundamental to management – humility. Here’s our interview with Dan Christ of The Patriot-News.

In your opinion, what makes you a good manager?

I believe I possess the ability to listen effectively to what everybody is saying and the ability to put my own thoughts aside when someone has a far better idea on how to get something done.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in a management role?

An important lesson has been that when my people succeed and they get the credit, I succeed.  Also, everyone needs a manager to be different things.  Sometimes they need solutions, but sometimes they need a manager to just be quiet and listen.

If your employees were asked to give feedback on your managerial style, what do you think they would say?

I’m firm and fair.  I give them the tools they need to accomplish the tasks and will do whatever I need to do to help them succeed.  I ask a lot of questions, but that is how I learn what they need.

If you could tell future managers what NOT to do, what would you tell them?

They are not as smart as they think they are.  By the very nature of being in their role, they don’t have the experience that a front line employee has and they need to rely on that employee.

We saw a post you shared on LinkedIn. It read: “’Leaders are not hired to monitor situations, play it safe and keep quiet when things get complicated.’- Can I get an Amen?” With that in mind – what can you tell me about the relationship of leadership and management?

You can be a manager and not be a leader, but that makes a pretty poor manager.  Ideally you would bring leadership skills and abilities to a management position or acquire them quickly.  Unfortunately, many managers don’t possess these skills.

Management is telling an employee to perform a task and then holding him or her accountable for the outcome regardless of their feedback or suggestions.

Leadership is explaining to an employee the business need for completing a task, listening to their questions or suggestions, factoring in any pertinent elements, and then shining the spotlight on the employee when the task is completed.

The former gets the job done. The latter completes the job at hand, and gets the employee to buy in through his or her willingness to both tackle subsequent assignments as well as suggest potential areas for improvement.

Anything else you want to add?

Management and leadership are a journey.  Management and leadership are skills and talents that not everyone possesses.  Don’t be afraid to say that you’re not qualified for a management position just because you’re next in line for a promotion.

Dan HeadshotDan Christ has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the newspaper circulation field with The Patriot-News, and served for four years as a Lower Allen Township Commissioner. An Eagle Scout, Dan also worked with several non-profit organizations. After graduating from Leadership Harrisburg Area’s Community Leadership Series in 2005, he lead Shalom House as its board chairman for two years, and now chairs the Directors at the Lisburn Community Fire Company.

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