I recently met a friend who complained that his good boss has just left the company. He shared with me how successful his boss was and he was anxious about the new boss that would come, whether the new boss would also be a good one. This made me ask him what were the key attributes that made the former boss successful.
My friend told me a few things but what stood out in this particular case was that his former boss liked to follow through issues to the very end. Then I remembered that I once read a book about good management which talked about following through as a key attribute of successful managers. Therefore, if you aspire to be a good manager, master the art of following through to the end.
There are two sides to following through. The obvious one is following through the actions and issues assigned to subordinates or other people that you deal with. This ensures that you make people that help you to do their job to completion and in time. If you follow through the issues and actions, you have a very good chance that appropriate priority will be given to those matters. There is also a very good chance that those with the responsibility of dealing with the matters will constantly work on them and so, likely deliver on time.
Another benefit of following through issues and actions assigned to others is that with time, the people know your working style. Later on, they start working proactively on any issues and actions that you assign to them because they know that you will come back to them and follow through to the very end. You set the pace for them. You develop a delivery culture in others.
The second side of following through relates to one’s own actions and issues. A successful professional is one who owns his or her actions to the very end. You do not wait to be asked before you can report. You become very proactive. You become very resourceful and creative because you are driven by the hunger for success. You want to achieve and deliver on time even if you face many challenges. Along the way, you find that following through is key to your success because even in the delivery of your actions or as you resolve your issues you will constantly depend on others and you will constantly seek the help and support of your seniors and of course, you will need to constantly update them on the status and progress of your actions.
How can you effectively follow through your and other people’s issues and actions? This is only possible if you are highly organised. This is why you will discover that many management and executive jobs demand candidates to be highly organised. In fact, while there are very few people that are highly organised, the art of getting organised is very simple. All you need is a pen and paper. If you are lucky, you can acquire a diary to make things simpler. You simply write your daily to-do list and mark off all actions that are completed.
Any new actions that come, you add to the list and those that get done, you delete from the list. You also need to include on your log, the actions that you want to follow through from others. This can be a separate list or you can combine depending on your preference. If you have access to and like to use computers, you can do the lists on the computer or mobile handset and keep updating along the day, every day.
There are definite things that successful managers do for them to win the respect of their subordinates and other people that they interact with. For my friend, he developed the trust in his boss because he was good at following through. You too can become a good manager if you master the art of following through.