Time is like water in a river ─ it never turns back. Every second, minute, hour is lost forever. And so are missed opportunities. Business cannot afford to do so. Wasted time means the loss of profit, sometimes even bankruptcy of a company. Here is where a project manager is necessary. They are hired to prevent that gloomy scenario from happening. However, not all managers are equally skilled. A good one will seize the opportunity when it arises, while a bad one will let it out of their hands.
But first things first. Who is a manager? Let us think for a moment before we could proceed any further. In a nutshell, such a person is one of the most important people in a company, besides the boss or shareholders. It is someone responsible for project implementation and who has to be an expert in a field of project management if they are to be useful and the project to be finished efficiently. They know their team’s strengths and are able to use them accordingly.
But the above is a general description of a manager, of a ”stationary” one so to say. Worth taking into account is also the one who needs to coordinate remote employees. Jason Fried, for instance, in his article ”The Two Biggest Drags On Productivity: Meetings And Managers (Or, As We Call Them, M&Ms)” analyzes the role of such a manager by broaching the issue of meetings’ organization, which he considers the best test of a project manager’s skills. He writes:
[…] two staples of work life–meetings and managers–are actually the greatest causes of work not getting done at the office. In fact, the further away you are from both meetings and managers, the more work gets done. […] What exactly is wrong with meetings and managers (or M&Ms, as we call them)? Well, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with them. What’s wrong is how often they’re applied in office situations. [..] Meetings. Ah, meetings. Know anyone out there who wishes they had more meetings? We don’t either. […] Meetings should be great–[…], but only if treated as a rare delicacy.
Thus, it can be said that a good manager should know when their control over employees is overwhelming and decreases their productivity. It is normal to want to know whether team members work on the project, know about the progress of work, to give some feedback to those who need it or to discuss some critical matters to the project, but all that should be done in moderation.
Then, talking about doing things in moderation ─ what should such a person do in particular? What are the manager’s duties/responsibilities?
1. To properly organize the work of their team
The fundamental responsibility of a manager is to organize work as quickly as possible. It means that managers have to be familiar with the environment of the company, the skills of their subordinates, and the customer’s demands. They have to analyze the tasks and forward them to those team members who have best qualifications for the particular job.
2. To motivate employees
A great manager is also a coach, who knows how to reach their employees. They should be able to motivate their subordinates effectively and in that way influence the process of project implementation.
3. Be a model to their subordinates
A manager is higher in the hierarchy of a company than their subordinates and therefore should give an example of how things should be done. Such a person needs to be hard-working, reliable, earnest, their work ought to be distinguished by its high quality otherwise their subordinates will not be motivated to go all out.
A proper execution of team’s task is directly connected to the authority of a manager. They have to define their rules and the consequences of their violation clearly. A good manager must be understanding but strict at the same time.
5. Effective conflict resolution
A person in charge, who wants to be a good one at this, has to be able to resolve conflicts. This, in turn, requires a bit of empathy and a lot of determination as well as emotional intelligence. Why? Because conflicts should be – if possible – solved in a way, that both sides benefit from it. It may be hard to keep everyone satisfied, but it is not impossible.
6. Not to be afraid of technology
A manager is not all-mighty. They should know their limitations. If they have too many people to coordinate, they should be able to find a way to solve the problem of work organization. Living in the XIX century, it is necessary to use what the world has to offer to survive, metaphorically as well as literally─ technology. When it comes to business survival, software is an indispensable tool. Fortunately, the market is rich in useful solutions. An example of software facilitating the work of managers is TimeCamp, one of the best web-based project management solutions. It allows one to solve all nitty-gritty problems. First of all, it boosts cooperation between team members. Moreover, once known as a time tracker, the app supports one’s actions with its innovativeness, accurateness and intuitiveness, which makes it a viable competitor on the management market. Its aim is to help project managers have work done on time while remaining within reasonable budget limits. It makes possible maximizing the results, all because TimeCamp enables one to keep their team’s work under control and communicating with them efficiently. Moreover, it provides one with a user-friendly, attractive interface created through the project managers needs. Finally, the tool grants its users the possibility to manage unlimited projects and customers without any additional costs. In short, TC is a perfect tool for managers who want to be effective and with ease coordinate their teams.
The role of a manager in business is multifocal ─ a shock worker, a model, an advisor, a coordinator, a peacekeeper. And so are their responsibilities. A good manager helps increase the company’s profits, while a bad one – decreases them.