You can possess all the institutional and functional knowledge possible in your industry or creative discipline and still fail miserably in the politically and emotionally charged world of in-house. How you navigate disagreements among peers and staff, political turf wars, difficult clients and managers and stressful high profile projects will be the true measure of your in-house management mettle.
The good news is that if you’re close to or at a management level in your organization, it most likely wasn’t by accident but a direct result of your judgment-based skills. The bad news is that it can be difficult to develop and hone those skills – I personally believe that much of good judgment is innate and intuitive and is based on a person’s ability to empathize and sympathize with others, to analyze and simplify seemingly complex issues and put situations into a larger context. Effective communication is also, obviously, a key component of in-house managerial success.
Much of good judgment development is experiential. The more difficult situations you’re forced to manage the better you get at it. Of course this means you’re going to make mistakes but, and please excuse the cliché, if you learn from a mistake then it will have been a valuable and important experience.
Finding out how other managers have handled difficult situations or proactively applied good judgment in their work environment is the other powerful way to improve your abilities. Any books by Bob Sutton, the Heath and Brafman brothers or Dan Pink are an excellent place to start. “The Corner Office” and “Delivering Happiness” are also books you may find helpful. Many of these authors also maintain blogs that are worth checking out. TED talks and managerial focused podcasts are good sources of advice.
Finally, attending conferences, joining industry organizations and networking with your peers may be the most powerful way to gain good judgment insights and advice. Your peers who are working in environments similar to yours could be your best source of inspiration and information on this topic.
The value and benefits of good judgment may be hard to quantify and articulate but there should be no doubt as to how critical good judgment is to your and your team’s success.