How to Be an Effective Manager
Managing employees takes time and energy to build a healthy working relationship with each person. With daily business and employee demands, it’s challenging to focus on what is a priority as both can be important at the same time. Business and employees are integrated into any successful company as one will not operate without the other. Since people are critical to the success in meeting your deliverables, how can you best manage your team?
First of all, you will not be a perfect manager. You are not perfect nor are your team members. Perfection isn’t the goal here, instead focus on building trust with each person for stronger performance. Trust is the foundation of a competent manager. Trust is established by stepping up and providing leadership and respect for each person.
Second, the challenge is managing employees is that you have the business goals that you want the employees to meet. Employees also have their goals and needs which you will have to acknowledge to be successful. The new generation is more focused on “what is in it for me.” There is no vision of long-term employment, instead employees are there to meet their needs while meeting the needs of the company. Knowing what each person requires to be at their best will help you achieve your deliverables.
You are the boss and employees expect you to be the leader, yet how do you balance business, employees and your needs.
What Are Your Intentions?
When managing employees, become aware of your intentions when engaging each member of your team. What do I mean by intentions? Do you feel that your work relationship with your employees is a partnership, or do you have a lurking thought “I’m the boss, and they should do what I tell them to do”? There will be times when employees have to listen and move forward, though if you are generally open to discussion and input from them, employees are quick to respond to your leadership.
Be mindful of what is your intention as you manage each person on your team. This awareness is helpful in handling the various personalities as some of them may push our button. Your team members already know what your intention is because your behavior says it. If you are unsure of how you should manage, you may be a “hands-off” manager hoping for the best. If you believe that employees should do as you say, then you could potentially create a fear base employee/manager relationship. Awareness around how you view your management role will help you recognize your strengths and allow you to make adjustments to your style that enhances their performance.
I’m a firm believer in regular 1:1 individual meeting with each team member. Regular can be weekly or monthly, though no less than a month. The purpose here is to align your goals with the needs of the employee. This consistent connection with each person is great to clarify expectations, know where they are at and their current needs, and provide the necessary coaching when they are off center in their performance
Clear, Consistent Communication
Employees can receive their information via the water cooler or by you. I highly recommend you feel comfortable being transparent about what’s happening in the company and ongoing projects. If they hear what’s going on about the company via the grapevine, it’s diluted and probably includes incorrect information.
Even when you think you have told them already, tell them again, though in a different format, to ensure that everyone is on board with what they need to know. Some employees give you immediate feedback on what you said, and many don’t. By engaging them in consistent communication, you give them time to respond which allows you to know how they have assimilated the information and what they plan to do with it.
Consistent communication helps inform the employees about “what’s in it for them,” and they are more likely to take ownership of the outcome. When an employee takes ownership in changing their behavior or working on a project, your life just became easier.
When you know your employees, you know how they receive information. Who becomes anxious when there is a change (even small ones) and who needs to ask tons of questions for clarity, or who processes it quickly and need to move forward. That’s who they are and being mindful of each person’s style helps you become more effective in coaching and managing them.
Clear and consistent communication builds trust with your employees. You don’t have to have all of the answers, rather be open to their questions and help them find solutions for their issues.
Effective managers know that it’s a daily commitment to mindful management. If you find managing employees challenging, then focus on one thing to do with them; for example, have 1:1 meetings on a weekly basis. If you have a large team and can’t do 1:1 with each person, train others under you to manage a group of people. You will still need to have 1:1 with the managers under you to ensure that their intentions and communication style is aligned with creating a strong working environment for all.