There are many areas of working in one’s Management skills and competences, but In my opinion some of them are crucial to a successful department. Here is my approach on where to focus and improve: 1.- Target Definition, 2.- Roles & Responsabilities, 3.- Developing others, 4.- Team Building and 5.- Your vision.
An important area in a department is target definition. If you start a new department you need to set up targets. First thing one needs is to make sure is how the department works, clear key indicator inputs, processes and therefore outputs. Ask yourself how can these outputs be evaluated. Once evaluated you need a reasonable period of time to monitor these outputs through key process indicators. Afterwards comes the time for targets. Think about long-term, set targets according your roadmap for the next years.
Targets need to be monitored regularly, evaluated with your team and followup. You need to involve your team in the targets. Give them ownership and for the purpose you need to be able to define targets than can be lowered one level in your team and you are both evaluated by them to everybody extent. That helps also Team building, people trust better the targets when your boss ies evaluated by the same. We are all in the end in the same ship together.
In an already existing department it us important to re-evaluate every year your targets. Do they match with the processes? are they realistic?, KPIs can be easily evaluated and reported? Do you need more KPIs ? Less?. It is always good to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go, but do not get obsessed with targets, important is the ability of bringing them in a lower plane and the ability of creating action plans to achieve them. Sometimes one can enjoy more the activities than the result.
The second important things in managing a department is defining roles and responsibilities in your department. The “who makes what”. You need to give your team good job descriptions, make them understand the different working areas, the priorities at that time and (possible) futures activities. This goes along with the targets, they need to know how to achieve them, ways of working. It is important standardisation of activities, in big organisations different people doing the job should have similar approaches. ask yourself how can you do it that if you change the person to the other they do the same. This will help you in the polyvalence, that you can switch, change or support different projects with your different people. It is important to spend time in the team same globally than particularly, this goes along with maintaining a good working atmosphere and cooperation.
And keeping a good atmosphere in your company also means the third important area: developing others. This is not only about your career, your department, your… it is all about “our”. Everybody will remember your people successes also by your management, not only by your people. Successful people in your company promoted to better positions, and originally from your department are future people of your influence. So do not stop anyone to success, on the contrary detect talent and promote it. Take your time to detect talent in your department, the best way of doing it is by taking risks. Give new tasks, explore your people competences by taking them out of the comfort zone. You can never challenge your people if you do not challenge yourself. Only by challenging you and the team you will discover competences. Afterwards, make sure you can use these competences in your roadmap to success. Developing people in a second stage means give them leadership, leadership either in short projects or in expertisement. Using people expertisement in the company benefit is a plus. All these experts for years keeping knowledge for themselves because no one asked them anything…
The fourth area to explore in your department is also related to the former developing others: Team building. Try to make sure there is a team; that people know each other and they cooperate among them. Do not be the central part of everything, don’t expect all the people to ask you every day for a format l or technical questions during difficulties. Build networks of cooperation among your people always making sure that you keep the key to success in your department. Know where you are and who makes what. Do not explode on control but manage well the networks, be part of them. Make regular meetings, conferences, individual calls, etc.. But building a team also means make people be part of a department and proud of it; come back to the former point of developing others and mix it with give your department a reputation in the company.
Finally the fifth and complementary and most important one is to have a clear vision and roadmap of where you come from, where you are and specially you want to go. This one has no big explanations, only make sure to share your vision with your team in order to make them part of it.