Rule #1 - It’s okay to admit you don’t have all the answers. Nobody does!
Most people have experienced both good and bad managers along their career path. When someone goes from being managed to managing others for the first time, they often reflect upon what has and hasn't worked in their own experience. Ultimately, everyone has their own style and methods of leadership, since managing people takes a lot of time and has its ups and downs. So what makes a successful manager? Whether you are a new manager or someone who is looking to get into management, following is a list of basic management skills to get you started.
- Ask Questions – ...and be prepared to hear the answers. Open-ended questions can provide great insight into the resources employees are seeking as well as uncovering creative ideas they have. Really listening to people builds trust, and if you don’t have trust within a team then you don’t have a team that can be successful in working together toward common goals. Don’t be quick to speak, and think carefully about your answers because they'll probably have a lasting impact.
- Lead by Example – A good philosophy for managers to strive for is to not ask employees to do something you can’t or won’t do yourself. It's important to put yourself in their shoes to understand what a reasonable request is and to help be sensitive to challenges and obstacles they may be facing. Empathy will also help you collaborate towards developing real solutions for overcoming those challenges.
- Help Set Goals and Provide Feedback – Long and short term goals give people something to work toward, and they create a sense of accomplishment when those goals are reached. It's important to provide feedback along the way, both positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. Don’t wait long periods of time to discuss issues that need to be addressed. Get them out on the table so a plan to resolve them can be created expeditiously. Goals also help employees develop talents that will take them to the next level. Celebrate individual as well as team successes when reaching goals. Helping employees grow enables the company to grow, and that growth benefits everyone.
- Allow Team Members to Develop Solutions – Encourage employees to bring solutions with the problems...not just the problems. Turn current employees into future leaders by empowering them to help make decisions, and encourage them to present options to difficulties, transforming those challenges into valuable opportunities. Accomplishing this can be as simple as asking what the employee thinks should be done in a particular situation.
- Learn What Motivates Your Team – People are motivated in different ways. The obvious thing that often comes to mind is monetary compensation. However, many people are also motivated by words of praise, recognition, time off, and even professional development. It’s okay to ask employees what motivates them about their jobs and gets them excited to come to work every day.
- Use the Tools available to You – Even the most accomplished managers have trouble from time to time keeping the details straight about every employee they lead. Many organizations provide a set of interactive tools as part of a comprehensive Human Capital Management system, which empowers managers to obtain insight into their employees activities, track progress, document performance reviews, and communicate efficiently in order to focus on building the professional relationships. Ask your Human Resources group what tools your company offers to make the heavy lifting duties of management less burdensome.
And the final piece of advice – do your homework. Personal growth is as important as – and interconnected with – growing the skills and abilities of your entire team. For a manager, that might mean researching what to ask and not ask during the interview process or taking a basic course on employment laws. It might mean attending seminars on planning, delegation, communication, problem solving, or decision-making. Whatever the specific actions may be, managers need to continue growing their skills in order to deliver successful, effective leadership.
If you're a new manager looking for additional guidance, attend our complimentary webinar:
New Manager Survival Guide & HR Essentials
Wednesday, October 24th at 11:00am
When registering for the session, please ensure that you enter ‘Bennett/Porter & Associates’ in the registration field that reads “Please provide the name of the company that referred you to this webinar.”