How To Turn Management Theory Into Management Practice

Written by James O. Rodgers

Management Practice

Management is a discipline. There is a way to manage so as to achieve the results you want. Unfortunately, the best way to manage is not always the natural way. It requires both skill and instinct – a mixture of both science and art.

People Are Tricky

Management strives to get the best performances from your people. To do this, the first thing any manager needs to know is the definition of their role. In simple terms, management is the planning, coordination, and control of projects, processes, programs, and people.

The first three elements – projects, processes, and programs – are the easy parts. They all respond to input in designated and predictable ways. However, managing people is tricky: it requires knowledge of behavioral competences.

Study Vs. Practice

There is a natural tension between management scholars – who study the field – and management practitioners – the executives who put the ideas into practice. Scholars approach management like a science to analyze, hypothesize, and theorize. Practitioners, however, need to get tangible results from their people. Practitioners need to know what to do and how to do it – not just how to think.


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Great managers, then, need to know how to practice management. Luckily, there are many methods available to translate evidence-based theories into actions. Managers can also simply practice until they become effective – and then note what works, so that they can replicate their actions.

The purpose of management is to produce better business results. But improved outcomes cannot be left to chance – great managers carefully orchestrate them, using a wide range of behavioral tactics, theories from scholars and their own years of experience to get the best from diverse teams of people.