Readers of CareersinAudit Agony Aunt pages will be familiar with my lyrical waxing on the much maligned value of transferable skills. Aka the misnamed 'soft skill set', personal and professional development over and above technical prowess is, indisputably, an audit Critical Success Factor. That is, a CSF, not just for advancement and promotion, but also as a crucial underpinning of effective technical delivery and of personal wellbeing and fulfilment.
A colleague of mine neatly encapsulates this in her paper 'Promoted because of your Technical skills'. Laura Cummings presents a five step plan to acquiring core skills for a new management role by developing your own unique strength based leadership style. 'Motivating and managing staff', described as the passage from 'group' to 'team', is just one of the crucial steps in the transformation from technical expert to expert manager. Check it out at the Teal Associates website.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, would it surprise you if I said that all the answers to managing people are already in our hallowed pages? Let's schlep through the CareersinAudit annals and take a whistle stop tour of the art and science of managing people.
EI or EQ, oft cited as a more reliable harbinger of success than common or garden IQ, is the ability to recognize emotions (your own and other's) and to use them appropriately to guide behaviour. The EI model spans four quadrants: self awareness (knowing how your behaviour impacts others); self management (self control and adaptability); social awareness (empathy and understanding the environment); and relationship management (influence, conflict management and collaboration).
EI is the bedrock of all soft skills and managing people is no exception. For a comprehensive guide to developing your Emotional Intelligence work through the CareersinAudit Resilience Programme.
One of the biggest mistakes made by old and new managers alike is simply making assumptions. Beware, not only of assuming that your team know what to do but also how to do it. We are all very different; individual team members will not necessarily interpret the world in the same way as you or their colleagues do. In Communication for Auditors we emphasised that the meaning of communication is the response it elicits, and that is, regardless of what YOU might have meant! While in The Auditor's Communication Strategy we take you through the process of communication and how to do it (even) better.
Earlier in the Audit Advantage series we looked at Effectiveness. What and how you delegate is not just for your own effectiveness, it's also about leveraging time and resources and, of course, developing your team members, clearly a core part of your role in managing people. We highlighted the difference between delegating – but not abdicating - responsibility. Find the right person for the job, and invest in that person: time, training, resources. Choose Charlie because Charlie shows aptitude: don’t just choose him because you can't face it or don’t understand it - that’s abdicating responsibility. And when the job goes over budget, don’t blame Charlie if (s)he's been spending all his time trying to figure out what baffled you.
The best teams are synergistic; that is, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To build, develop and maintain effective teams you need to think beyond just managing a group of individuals and see the team as a separate entity. Check out Building Effective Audit Teams to take your management skills to the next level and start to become ...
The Manager as Leader
The debate on the polarisation of management and leadership is still raging. You will be told that managing is process, planning, measuring and problem solving to achieve operational goals. Leading, on the other hand, is creating vision, motivating and inspiring followers to embrace change and often to meet transformational objectives.
Leading and managing are not the same but while they are distinct concepts in terms of definitions, skills and behaviours, they are necessarily linked, and complementary, with a natural overlap between the aptitudes called for. Twenty first century research teaches us that you can't be a great manager without some leadership abilities (and vice versa of course!). So, to be an effective Audit Manager you will need to manage tasks AND lead people and here's how: Effective Management and Leadership.
Is there an 'i' in team?
Well no, not literally, but a small amount of personal, critical reflection does go a long, long way! Our whistle stop tour has provided you with tonnes of advice, resources and information on managing people but don't forget that it is not all about what we do to them (the people we manage) but as much about who we are as managers. Or in the words of H. Jackson Brown 'never underestimate your power to change yourself. Never overestimate your power to change others."
Which topic would you like to read about next month? Look over the list of topics in the original Audit Advantage article here and let us know your choice for the next topic we should cover.