9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager

Hi there!

  • Are you a ready for management?
  • Ready for that promotion?
  • Maybe new to management?
  • Maybe even new to the business world as a whole?
  • Or just with a few gaps in what you should know before you aim at that promotion?

Then you’ll need a simple, basic guide to show you how to fill the gaps quickly and start on your road to success! And that’s what 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager in the New Manager’s series is all about. 9 things you should know ... if you ever want to become a manager_COVER_Lalien Cilliers

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd, and you’re going to learn a lot of strategies in the course of this book. Some of them you might instinctively follow already – and that’s great! But some could be new – and might even feel a bit strange at first.

So, what are those nine things you should know if you ever wanted to make it as a manager?

  1. Know what you want
  2. Know what matters
  3. Know how to look and act
  4. Know your job
  5. Know your numbers
  6. Know how to pitch
  7. Know your company
  8. Know the competition
  9. Know the market

Scroll down to read an extract from this eBook, or click here to go straight to Amazon to get yourself a copy.


SAMPLE EXTRACT from the eBook

Chapter 9: Know the competition

Two big questions

What are competitors?

Direct competitors

Indirect competitors

Replacement competitors

Potential competitors

Disruption


Chapter 9: Know the competition

It would be simply great if we could just create a product, put it in a shop, and have a sale.

Unfortunately, things are not quite that simple.

In fact, they are getting tougher all the time. Business models are changing all the time – and companies who don’t keep up with the competition won’t survive.

If you want to stand out as potential management material, then being an expert of your company’s competition is it.

Two big questions

If I ask you today who your main competitors are, and what they offer that you don’t (and vice versa) – would you be able to answer me? What if your boss were to ask you?

Or, worse still, what if a customer asks you, “What makes your product better than the product on special at Company X’s website?”

*crickets*

Yes. So maybe a bit of homework won’t be too misplaced, hey?

What are competitors?

But, hey, what are competitors? It’s really nothing new. We all know competitors.

  • At school your competitor might have been the school superstar who always got all the awards and positions you so badly wanted.
  • In love relationships your competitor is the sexy (or funny, or charming) other that might woo your partner and leave you all alone.

In business it’s pretty much the same.

  • It’s that other company who’s always coming up with amazing new products or sought-after services.
  • It’s the company that can charm away your precious customers and leave you all alone.

Because you have to see the cheetah in the grassland before it grabs your mate, it’s important to understand that competitors come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s look at a few kinds of competitors.

Direct competitors

Direct competitors are companies within the same sector competing for the same clients. Although they could offer some unique products or services, overall what they offer to customers are pretty much the same.

For example: in your neighborhood there might be more than one cake shop. What would make you go to the one, rather than the other? There are a number of factors, and usually price and quality are important factors.

But what if both cake shops supply great quality cakes at reasonable prices? You’ll find that branding and relationship become hugely significant.

As a manager you need to be aware that the human factors should never be underestimated – especially when two competitors offer similar products to the same group of customers.

So, learn more about branding in general, and your company’s brand specifically.

And build those relationships with customers, suppliers and possible partners, as soon as you can, and as well as you can.

Use any and all strategies and media, but keep in mind what humans like in a good relationship:

  • Someone they can depend
  • Someone they can trust.
  • Someone who makes their lives simple and rich.
  • Someone who cares about their opinions, likes, and dislikes.
  • Someone real.

Indirect competitors

Indirect competitors are rival companies in the same market space as you. You might share many of the same products, or not.

But they offer indirect competition because customers are moving to them, instead of staying with you – and this happens because they offer something that you don’t have to offer.

For example: Let’s refer to our cake shop again. But this time, let’s suppose that it’s the only cake shop in your neighborhood. So, things are going well with the cake shop – because it’s the only place where customers can get their lovely, fresh cakes.

But one day a bread shop opens up just down the street.

The cake shop owners are not particularly worried – bread and cake are different things, so they won’t lose customers, will they?

Oh. But the bread shop supplies a variety of bread, buns … and milk. And they even have a small selection of freshly baked cakes in the corner of the shop.

Suddenly your customers start trickling away – they go to the bread shop to get bread and milk, but sometimes buy a cake there as well – “because it’s convenient”. Eventually they go buy their cakes there, “because then I can just as well pick up a loaf of bread for the family while I’m there”.

What should a company do when it has an indirect competitor?

There are many strategies, but most importantly is being seen by the customer. The customer should know that your company adds value to their lives.

So, you can create specials or promotions for your present products or services – or you can have a good long think and actually adjust your business plan to provide direct competition (such as the cake shop stocking some unique breads and fresh milk as well).

Replacement competitors

Now this is where things get tricky. A replacement competitor competes with you for the customer’s money, but they’re not in the same industry as your company.

They provide something that a customer could use rather than your products.

…. [CLICK HERE TO BUY THE AMAZON EBOOK AND TO LEARN MORE!]

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place


Motivating your team

Remember that managing is about managing people, managing a team.

Now life would be wonderful if people were always motivated to give their best and if they never became down or depressed or distracted or lazy. But, as the proverb goes: if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Learning how to motivate a team is an essential skill for a manager. This is especially true when times are tough or things go wrong.

Don’t lie, don’t be 100% honest

One of the keys in motivating people is never to lie to them. Another key is not always being 100% honest.

How does this work?

Well, suppose things are going south on a project: you were just told by a client that a product now has to be finished a month earlier because they changed the launch date.

Should you lie to your team by saying, ‘This will be easy-peasy and we’ll finish this in a jiffy!’.

Obviously not.

They are not managers, but they are definitely not silly enough not to know that there are only 24 hours in a day.

Should you be as honest as you might feel in your heart and say, ‘Guys, our client is a total idiot and the deadline he has now set is nearly impossible to achieve!’

Obviously not.

As a manager you will have to find a way to make the impossible possible.

And one of the best ways to make this happen, is to make sure that the team is acting as a single unit,


dedicated towards achieving a single goal.

How do you do this?

How do you make the gap between the ‘realistic’ and the ‘impossible’ shrink into a workable project plan?

Here’s a hint. it’s all about ownership, giving 100%, and working smarter. But more about that later!

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place


 

Management Myth # 2: A great worker = a great manager

This is one of the greatest myths – that a great worker should get promoted and – voila! – would become a great manager.

Why is this not true? Because:

  1. You lose a great worker;
  2. You might not gain a great manager.

The math just doesn’t add up.

Because you have two very different skills sets.


A great worker

  • A great worker is committed, dedicated, organised and follows instructions to a T.
  • He loves his job and is proud of doing his best.
  • He is the ‘bum-on-seat’ superhero of the company.
  • Whatever needs to be done, he will do. And do well.
  • True, he does come up with his own ideas, his own plans. He thinks of ways to work more effectively, to make the product or service perform better.
  • He is highly organised and can put his finger on any aspect that his boss might call for at any given moment.

So – why NOT make him a manager?

(Especially since he sometimes asks for the promotion – might even deserve one without having to ask for one.)


Manager

Because a manager is, in essence, not a worker.

  • He delegates. He tells others what to do.
  • He might do a bit of bum-on-seat, but most of that would be related to planning work for others, structuring it, allocating resources – and then he opens the office door, and starts giving instructions to his workers.
  • Although he is as task-focused as the worker, he has to deliver his tasks to people, and much of his time is making sure that the communication is happening easily and correctly.
  • He deals with conflict.
  • He reallocates tasks or resources.

So, what the problem?

And if a good worker

  • is not able to delegate (but would rather do the work himself),
  • is not good with conflict (especially if he is a bit of a people-pleaser),
  • is not willing to take responsibility for success as well as failure that others might bring …

… then he would not be a good manager.


Expert

So what should you do with a good worker who doesn’t have good managerial skills or has no inclination for management?

Make sure that he has the option of being promoted so that he could become an expert in his field.

Not a manager.

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place


 

Management Myth # 1: Management is easy

There might be hundreds of ‘Management in 7 EaZee Steps’ books out there. That doesn’t make management easy. It makes management a good topic for a clever writer.

Management is a complex career choice.


Skills

It calls for a variety of skills that you will have to use at any given time.


Product or service

Obviously you will know the product or service your company sells, well.

That is a given. Unfortunately it is not the only one.


People

You will have to be able to work with people.

And not on a social level. Being a ‘people-person’ doesn’t make you a good manager. Because this isn’t chatting to your friends over a beer after work.

  • This is telling people who used to be your friends, to pull themselves together and stop stealing work-time by playing endless Facebook games.
  • This is networking and reaching out to connect with people you absolutely abhor because they are an important link in achieving your company’s goals.
  • This means setting aside your personal and political beliefs to be able to act in a way that isn’t biased or discriminatory.

Communicate

You have to be able to communicate.

  • Clearly.
  • Regularly.
  • In person.
  • On the phone.
  • On paper.
  • Online.

You have to be able to use different platforms and styles of communication.

  • If you are not sure how to write a report, you will have to learn pretty fast.
  • If you have never created a proposal or a presentation – now’s the time to learn how to do this!

You have to make sure that people who nod and agree with what you tell them to do, actually understood you clearly.

And initially you will be stuck in a perpetual state of ‘how could they not understand?’.

Get over it.

 


About the author

Lalien CilliersLalien Cilliers. Project Manager. Content Development Manager. eLearning Developer & ICT Trainer [MIITP]. Website creator and social media pager. Helping others learn tough stuff the easy way. Eternally curious. Author of: 9 things you should know … if you ever want to become a manager: The New Manager series and A Guy’s Guide: New Home: How to Find and Furnish Your Own Place