To be an effective manager you must know the mechanics of management:
Know the business
Have requisite expertise in area of responsibility
Master the management processes
– Planning, Organizing, Staffing
– Project management
But that is not sufficient to be a truly effective manager. You must also have mastered the dynamics of management:
The capacity to influence others’ behaviors, and that
These things change situationally and over time.
There are a number of activities and associated skills that are essential to the practice of management: analyzing and organizing the work, describing it, recruiting people and staffing those jobs; monitoring, measuring and evaluating the work; understanding the language of business: financial management and accounting terminology, project planning and scheduling; defining quality results, measuring outcomes, reporting. These are the mechanics of management. To be an effective manager you have to learn these basic skills – through courses, in-house training, on-the-job instruction, observation, feedback; doing it. But if you only learned the mechanics of management you would know less than half of what you need to know.
The art of management is to know, understand and master the intangibles of management; the uncertainties, ambiguities and the unexpected of everyday activity in an organization. If the activities and events in an organization in a day or a week or month were actually programmable we would only need smart robots to do it. But because we are challenged daily with unexpected events we need to respond accordingly: process the new information, figure out what it means and what can be done about it. And for this we need people, adaptive workers, not programmable robots. But people bring their own intangibles to the workplace: their attitudes, feelings, values, moods and emotional episodes. They not only respond to external events, preferably affecting positive outcomes, but they also respond to each other and to other events in their lives. Managers must manage these events in the organization daily. These are the dynamics of management: managing constant change, uncertainty and ambiguity, expectations and conflict, of events and interpersonal interaction; and not only for today, but every day. For the business of dynamics is that, what works today may not work tomorrow. The challenge of management is the challenge of dealing with ambiguity uncertainty and intangibles.
The human mind finds this unsettling, unnatural. We want predictability, certainty, in our lives. So if you aren’t comfortable with ambiguity, if dynamics make you uneasy, even though you have mastered the mechanics of management you will not make an effective manager.