Great managers are made, not born. Deliberately working to get the skills needed to be a manager, and then continually working to grow your skills, is a sign of a true leader. While these 3 tips relate mostly to new or first-time management, seasoned managers may also get some good reminders.
“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet” – Henry Mintzberg
Being disorganized will lead to frustration within your team. Disorganization leads to confusion, and that in turn creates a loss of productivity. When employees aren’t clear on what is expected of them, or where to find what they need to do their job well, they will waste time, do nothing, or do it incorrectly. A good leader MUST be organized, which includes:
Using technology. These days, there is an app or software for almost any tedious daily task. Automate anything you are doing repetitively. Create forms, use reports, simplify scheduling, make a process – for anything that feels like it is stealing time due to redundancy, seek out a solution. Most of the time you can find a technological time-saving solution.
Getting rid of peripheral distractions. Schedule time with your phone, email, and social media off. Close your office door for a short, designated amount of time and focus on exactly what needs to be handled that day. If you have an open-door policy, make sure to put up a note that says you need an hour (or however long the amount of time) to focus and should not be interrupted for anything but an emergency.
Writing it down. This is not just so you have a list you can later refer to, but writing something down will also help you to retain the information. It is good to make to-do lists, it shows you are giving things “purpose” and validity. But have a system in place to purge these lists. Don’t let something you haven’t done go from list to list, it obviously isn’t a priority to you. Write down your daily goals and prioritize getting them done before other work. Check out Franklin Covey’s First Things First.
Encourage your team to be a TEAM. If everyone is working only as an individual, it’s like herding cats. Your team needs to work together.
Opinions. Everyone needs to feel free to share their opinions without ridicule. Individual meetings can give employees the comfort to be fully honest, while group meetings can be a place for accountability – a mix of both may be a great solution.
Keeping your team on task. Don’t micromanage – allow your team to be creative within boundaries. Boundaries help employees know the expectations and keep them on track. Give them the freedom to do things differently as long as they are effective when a direct process isn’t required.
Communicate goals. Know what you want accomplished and make sure this is clear to your team. Even if you think you’ve said something, make sure it is communicated in multiple ways and even demonstrated or repeated back.
If you are successful in getting your team to collaborate, they will be more confident and productive.
A motivated and engaged team is a more productive one. Look at the different needs people have, ask them what motivates them and have fun!
Don’t bribe. Rewards do work, but if the rewards stop, so does the hard work. Make sure any reward is earned and that it is motivating the correct behavior.
Create a passionate team. If you can show the members of your team how what they do makes a difference and why their work matters, it will make them care more about what they do. This will create a more motivated, passionate, and engaged team.
Spot progress. Make sure your team knows you notice and take note of all the progress they are making. It also creates an environment where mistakes are OK because the only feedback you are giving isn’t negative.
With these 3 tips, and the new ways you will implement and evolve them, you will become a better manager every day. Better managers make better business, and that’s what we all want.