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It is often said that the only jobs for which no qualifications are needed are these; “parent, politician and manager”.
While at first that might sound ridiculous, after all, at least two of these roles involve enormous responsibility for other people, there are sound reasons for it.
What all these three roles really require is the ability to be flexible; to listen and respond, to take new events into consideration, to meet changes in circumstances without relying on fixed ideas.
If a child is brilliant, or autistic, or suffering from an illness, the way a parent raises that child might be different in some ways from the way they rear their other children. Similarly, a president of a wealthy country surrounded by peaceful neighbours may have very different agendas to a president of a poor country surrounded by potential enemies.
Within the role of a manager there are many balls to be juggled at the same time, so no manager’s job is exactly the same as another’s, even within the same sector, or even the same company. There are changing market forces to be faced, senior managers to be satisfied and a workforce with skills to be deployed intelligently and in ways that motivate and reward individuals. There are cross-cultural communications, cross-generational work standards and expectations to be understood and the need to properly manage the finances of the business, controlling expenditure and generating income.
Despite these differences many companies still promote people into management positions only because they showed great talent for their previous job. Great salespeople will be made marketing managers, great administrators will be made head of operations, great teachers will be made school principals. Most of these promotions will not have any management training attached, so that the newly promoted manager can suddenly find themselves responsible for writing a multi-million dollar budget, or handling negotiations on annual pay and conditions, or hiring and firing new staff, depending on the time of year they are appointed and the circumstances of the company.
Some situations will relate only to one company, but others are common to all new managers. There is no such book as a single guide to being a manager, but we have identified several topics which often cause stress in new managers and broken them down into single issues.
These guides are intended to give you a new perspective on the challenges you are facing, and help you to handle difficult situations with understanding.