Becoming a Business Manager
Plan to become a business manager? Let’s talk about a few skills you will need.
Business managers are versatile in every definition of the word. According to research, business managers are Fortune 500 companies’ most in-demand jobs—over 24%. The fact that they are high in demand also means a small misstep can turn these professionals from revered to hated or feared.
That’s why business managers must tread carefully in whichever field they are in. So, how do you avoid that and improve yourself as a business manager? Let’s find out.
What is a Business Manager?
A “business manager” is an umbrella term to describe someone who supervises various aspects of a business. As the job title suggests, the person is responsible for managing the business in specific organizations.
Under a business manager, there might be a team or network of team members working together to achieve the company’s goals. They are usually trained or have studied business management or administration to run day-to-day activities such as:
- Handling a team of professionals under their wings;
- Managing everyday tasks and ensuring daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals are met;
- Managing projects and planning future strategies;
- Stay in touch with higher-up management, i.e. vice presidents, CEOs, etc.;
- And ensure the overall smooth running of business affairs.
A business manager's tasks also depend on the organization they work with. In the IT sector, a business manager may not be well-versed in IT. Yet, they will be expected to meet the demands of IT clientele and run the business itself. Similarly, a business manager in a production company may be someone responsible for the administrative aspects of the business, and not necessarily be well-versed in marketing activities or the actual production part.
Now, what this tells you is that a business manager does precisely what their title says--manages and handles administrative aspects so that the business runs smoothly and seamlessly.
Tips to Improve Yourself as a Business Manager
A business manager has many tasks under their domain every day. So, it can be straining for an individual to be successful in each area. However, some specifics may help you be a better business manager in any organization.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about the six important aspects to improve your business management abilities.
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Going Back to the Basics
A business manager usually comes from a business management or administration background. That’s not always the case because, as mentioned before, a business manager doesn’t need to be an expert in that particular field but recruiters often prefer an employee with a formal education. This is why, you need to get back to the basics and focus on your formal education:
- Enroll in an accredited business management school;
- Get training in people management and communication skills;
- Formal courses, internships, and workshops for business management.
Depending on your school or college, whether their courses teach you or not, these are the key aspects that remain a constant need in many situations in the course of your work. So, whenever you need to understand a key aspect, never be afraid to go back to the basics.
2. Manage Yourself First
A good business manager always manages business well, but they manage themselves better. Now, managing yourself doesn’t always have to be about business or company-related issues. Instead, it’s about how you manage your everyday life, including,
- Your punctuality;
- Sleep habits, what you eat, and drink;
- Mental wellness, i.e. weekend activities, working out every day, etc.
- How you manage your time;
- How to interact with people with different personalities.
If you can manage these, you can easily handle a group of people because you may tend to work eventually, but first, you need to organize yourself.
3. Don’t Micromanage
One of the worst things you can do as a business manager is micromanage. It puts a bad taste in your employees’ mouths and also ruins your image. As a business manager, you need to avoid micromanagement.
Micromanagement harbors fear and undermines confidence among team members whereas trusting them will gain you respect and they will likely follow you. That’s when your understanding of each employee, their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities come into play. But, whatever you do, don’t micromanage—even when training new employees or interns.
4. Be Open to Feedback and Suggestions
If you’ve worked in a professional setting before, then something you’d absolutely despise is someone who shuts themselves out from feedback or suggestions. Good companies thrive on suggestions and feedback given by their loyal employees.
That’s why it's a business manager’s responsibility to put those employee suggestions and feedback into consideration and make things easier for employees. So, what kind of feedback should you be open to? Here are a few ideas:
- Encourage new ideas for better productivity;
- Hold weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings to discuss discrepancies, grudges, etc.;
- Note down good suggestions and pass them on, and decline bad suggestions politely;
- And lastly, ask your employees how they are feeling.
This way, your respect will increase and you’ll become a valued name in your professional group.
5. Assess the Situation and Make Informed Decisions
Another bad mistake that many managers make nowadays is making uninformed decisions. This isn't the 1900s, where you have to do everything by the book. Instead, sometimes you have to be unorthodox. However, you should never be uninformed or unaware of the situations you are managing.
Let’s say, an employee complains about another employee. Instead of hearing one side of the story and deciding immediately, ask the other person to hear their side of the story as well as the people who have witnessed both of their behaviors. This is only one instance where your impartial thinking comes into play. You should also:
- Analyze every situation—workforce or work-related;
- Analyze the best outcomes;
- Consider the external stressors or influencers;
- Take suggestions and advice from seniors or fellow employees.
Then, in the best interest of the people under your management, make a decision that works well for everyone.
6. Assess Your Weakness and Improve Upon Them
Last but not least, a business manager’s journey is all about improving as you go. So, you’re not going to be a perfect manager right off the bat. That’s why you’re going to assess your own weakness and address them one after the other—one goal at a time.
Your weakness could be managing conflicts through confrontation; talking to people when you are an introvert; or doing anything that you may not be comfortable doing like firing someone. However, tackling challenges like these one at a time is going to be a huge part of your job description. So, improve yourself and work on your weaknesses.
These are the key aspects that you need to target as you go along in your business manager’s journey. While it’s important that you target your own issues, it’s also important to be a good listener and understand the issues of people working under you.
Moreover, you need to be really organized, understand the financial aspects of the business, as well as decide on how to move it forward with your role as the change maker. One of the most important aspects of a business manager is to mediate and resolve issues on the go so that there is no disruption in business processes. After all, a business can’t operate without its people!
Alex Morgan is a digital marketer and community hero for Business School Hub. He loves writing about advice on education, careers, and college live. His pet cockatoo Mario is an enthusiastic prompter when he is writing for his readers. Reach out to him via email.