How to be a manager that gets things done

By: Ronald Manalastas
22 February, 2010

A manager gets things done via his or her people: by managing and leading them well, through the use of technical, human, and conceptual skills. In essence, he needs to perform the dual role of being a manager and a leader to move things through people.

As a manager, it is important that he has technical skills. A technical skill is the ability to use tools, techniques, methods, and specialised knowledge to execute a particular course of action; or carry out a process, procedure, or program intended to meet goals, correct problems, or bring about changes.

Without technical skills, it is very difficult for any actionable manager to perform and get things done. Where a functional assignment requires some special knowledge or background (e.g. IT, Engineering, Manufacturing), possession of technical skills becomes much more important.

Having technical skills presupposes that the manager knows fully the key functions of management - planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling. As a no-nonsense manager, who is aware of what it takes to achieve by getting things done, he knows the functional role he has to perform; the organisation and resources he needs to administer; the systems, processes, and standards he should observe; and the strategic and operating goals he must focus on.

Apart from the required technical skills, being a manager demands the possession of conceptual skills. A conceptual skill involves the ability to view the whole organisation, analyse situations, solve problems, and make decisions in the quality that benefits the entire company. Being creative and intuitive forms part of the managerial conceptual skills, including the capacity to develop and adopt performance metrics, to monitor and correct variances, so that the organisation remains aligned with its objectives.

To get things done, however, it is not sufficient to possess the qualities of a manager. The manager must be an effective leader too, with great human skills that build rapport, respect, and trust across the organisation in a way that develops positive relationships, resolves human conflicts, and enhances sense of belonging, loyalty, and advocacy among employees.

As a leader, the manager exudes transparency, honesty, decisiveness, courage, persistence, and sense of accountability. He demonstrates that he can excite people toward shared vision, values, beliefs, and objectives in the purposeful conduct of the organisational mission.

He empowers and motivates people to high performance – letting them think, solve problems, make decisions, share, collaborate, and produce results in satisfaction of corporate objectives; and in many instances, beyond normal expectations. Being a leader works in conformity with what the late US President Ronald Reagan had once said: "Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and never interfere."

Effective leadership likewise brings to the fore the necessity of having the capacity to communicate in a clear and compelling manner, rally people to productive team undertakings, install continuous learning discipline, encourage innovative ideas, and influence organisational receptiveness to change.

Management and leadership are inseparable requisites of getting things done in a manner that catapults the organisation to outstanding success. As the author, John Kotter averred, "Leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action ... Both are necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment."

As a managerial guide, to get things done, bear in mind that what you need to do is to manage and lead people well – with sustainable technical, human, and conceptual skills – which, in reality, are a combination of your hard and soft skills as a professional manager.