It comes with all management jobs - but do you take on the operational management role

As a manager, you know this well

You have to play on several keys. One moment you have to get on stage and point out the direction of the long course. The second moment you have to dive deep into the solution of an urgent task. And sometimes you also have to motivate, prioritize, accommodate, instruct, coach, fix and keep it all together.

This range of management jobs can be nicely described as four management roles: Vision management, personnel management, professional management and operational management.

A clear understanding of the operations management role is an important step on the way to good management in teams and projects.

When should you wear which cap?

You exercise good operational management when you ensure that:

  • Goals and resources are continuously balanced
  • The prioritization matches the expectations
  • The plans are sustainable in both the short and long term
  • Lack of progress, missed deadlines, work pressure, etc. are dealt with
  • You follow up and become better at managing

Typically when using:

  • Goal
  • Overview
  • Fixed structures and processes

And let's dwell a little on the semantics.

Management is the core activity in operations management – distributing, prioritizing, planning, following up, etc.

Operations management is not just something that takes place in the operations office. Just as professional management does not only take place in the professional office, and personnel management does not only take place in the personnel department.

Operations management is a management discipline that is relevant in all teams at all levels in all organizations.

But operations management – and the other three roles – of course look different depending on where you are as a manager. The team leader's operational focus is different from the director's operational focus.

And the operational management task requires different measures in the executive secretariat, the process management team and, for example, the development department.

But everywhere there is a need for management and operational management.

Operations management is also relevant in projects

Projects must be managed, and there is a need for an overview and structures - even if the project manager in the matrix organization, for example, does not have personnel management.

Do you take on the operational management

One is that you can distinguish the management disciplines from each other.

Something else is whether you take on the roles. Do you take on the operational management – as described above – on yourself?

Here it is important to distinguish between purpose/responsibility on the one hand and tools/methods on the other.

In my view, it is not up for discussion that you as a manager have operational management responsibility.

On the other hand, you have a lot of leeway to choose your tools and methods. I meet managers who, with their personal flair and presence - perhaps added to the very simple overview - handle their operational management responsibilities well. And then I meet many managers who professionally use well-developed methods and tools.

The most important thing is that you, as a manager, take on the operational management job - and carefully choose a set-up of tools and structures that help in everyday life with clarity, efficiency and cohesion about the core task.

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