The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
So, you’ve been promoted to a managerial position for the first time, your name badge is squeaky-clean and everything is bright and new.
Well, that’s the image when you start a new position, isn’t it. Truth is, things don’t always appear as rosy as you’d like them to be. So here are my tips to make an impression as quickly and as early as possible in the new role:
1) Be absolutely clear on what your role is and what it isn’t. This is paramount, especially if you’ve been promoted from within the company. You might feel that you still want to be involved in the old role that you had, and you might be tempted because you are highly-proficient at it. Don’t just rely on your job description to tell you what to do. Get it clear from your boss exactly what the expectations are and how you will be measured.
2) Take responsibility for learning everything you can about being a manager. Don’t expect the company to send you on endless training courses and seminars to get you up to speed with 21st century management techniques. Seek out books, articles, websites, CDs and DVDs that will give you knowledge and ideas about the style of management you need to adopt today and in the future. Don’t rely on other managers to tell you how it is…learn yourself by proactively searching for it.
3) Set your priorities early on. Decide what you will pay attention to most, whether it’s the technical aspects of the role or how your new team need to be communicated with or how to run meetings. Be aware that people will look to you for an example of how things should be done, so ensure you set your priorities early on.
4) Find out what managerial style is most effective for your team. Some team members will be testing you out to see what they can achieve with you. Others may try to get more one-to-one time. Adjust your style accordingly so that you understand how each team member ticks.
5) Balance your managerial responsibilities with your leadership requirements. We manage tasks but we lead people. People don’t want to be managed, though they want to be inspired and motivated so they can achieve and grow. Create the environment so that people can look to you for inspiration and ideas.
6) Don’t be a ‘new broom’ before you’ve determined what is already successful. Some new managers throw everything out and start again, trying to make a personal impression on the company. Instead, learn from what has worked, get your team’s opinions on what needs changing and get them on your side before attempting any changes.
7) Set standards for feedback and feedforward. Tell people exactly how you are going to feed information back to them, so they understand what to expect. If you hide behind memo-heaven, or communicate with everyone only via email, you are in danger of alienating everyone. Be aware of the quality, amount and style of communication that everyone requires from you. Also, practice something called feedforward. This means identifying what results you want from people before it happens, so they understand what their responsibilities are and how it’s going to be measured. They then have the chance to measure their own success at the project before they present it to you. This gives them more opportunities to grow and become accountable for their own work.
Practice these 7 ways when you take your first baby steps as a new manager and you should see your learning curve straighten out in front of you as you make great impressions early on.
Take a moment and write down what you think I mean when I mention the word ‘Quality’.
Go on, get a pen and write down your definition of the word.
Now do the same for the words ‘Customer satisfaction’. Learn More
When I study great communicators from the past, I realise that they have several things in common. That’s good, because it means they follow patterns that can be modeled by others, and that makes it easier for us mere mortals to get it right!
One specific area that great communicators excel at is the ability to get to the root of problems quickly and efficiently, so they can spend time on seeking results and solutions rather than wallowing in the quagmire of disputes, opinions and disagreements. Learn More
How I wish I had a pound for every time a manager has asked me how to motivate people when they don’t have the budget!
It’s as if they think that money is the panacea to everything motivational, that money will create a high performance individual based on the worth they attain with the company.
It’s a shame, because money is really a short-term motivator at best. I often ask managers ‘If you gave your team a 10% pay rise tomorrow, would you see them work 10% smarter to achieve 10% better results?’ The normal answer is no.
So what options do you have if you don’t have the money but still want to drive the team’s motivation forward?
Here are 8 ways:
1) Remember the power of recognition. Find ways to advertise good performance and give them public recognition where you can. This may mean placing results on the intranet or notice boards, telling clients how well they have done, and certainly letting others in the departments share in the pride of good performance. A few pounds spent on an evening out shouldn’t break the bank, and will make the individual feel that they have been recognised for a job well done.
2) Make them feel that their ideas are worth investing in and that the decisions they have come up with will drive the company forward. If they feel they have some autonomy in how their job is structured or how the actual role is carried out, they will always feel that their opinion counts, raising their self-esteem and allowing them to take further risks in suggesting alternatives and new ideas.
3) Whenever you see the opportunity, coach them. Nothing drives an already-motivated team member more than feeling their skills are being utilised and they are growing towards a pre-determined goal. Coaching is the best way yet devised to encourage someone to journey on the road to self-discovery. If they feel they are being coached, that attention and consideration can work wonders for them.
4) Share as much information as possible. Mushroom management (being kept in the dark and fed manure) is the death knell to motivation because people don’t feel part of the organisation and are left feeling they don’t matter. Let them know how the company is doing, what products are being planned, how the competition are having an impact…everything you can to make them feel involved.
5) Be there. Improve your listening skills so the team feel they can approach you without the risk of feeling they are intruding. Be available to them wherever and whenever possible and make it obvious.
6) Be absolutely open and clear about the future. Why is there no budget for bonuses or pay-rises? What does it mean to their long-term future? People will understand why they have to endure no monetary motivation if they are kept in the loop. It’s the not-knowing that cheeses most people off.
7) Be as personable as possible with every team member. You’re all in it together so be aware that if you choose a supportive, coaching style of management, they are more likely to reciprocate and have the sense of belonging that you are wanting.
8 ) Be enthusiastic about your role, even though you might not feel it on the inside. People will look to your example as to how they should feel about things. Motivation is a personal attribute, so show your enthusiasm for what opportunities the future may hold for you and the team
There will still be many managers who feel they can’t motivate without a wad of money to give away, but if you try out some of the ideas above, there may well be some team members who show that money isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. They may actually prove themselves to be even greater assets to you if you approach them from the perspective that growth, recognition, autonomy and responsibility drives people much more effectively than a few extra pounds in their pocket ever will.
We get asked a lot about how to deal with remote or virtual teams, especially of they are located in different time zones. One of our main clients has team members in The Philippines as well as Mexico. The time difference can cause major problems in planning conference calls and other such contacts, especially in international settings Learn More
Motivation is one of the enigmas that many managers never quite seem to grasp the importance of. O yes, they may say they are motivational in their style, but when you ask their team members to honestly judge their line manager’s motivational skills, often the response is not as good as the manager would like to hear.
We know that one of the key motivators for staff is the aspect of recognition for a job well done. Why is this? Well, all of us have a need to feel valued at some level, that what we are doing is making a difference in some way. That fuels our self-esteem and self-concept, things that monitor how we feel about ourselves. So, when we are recognised for what we do, it makes us feel good about, not only ourselves, but it changes our feelings about the individual(s) who brought that feeling about.
How do we make sure, then, that we recognise individuals at work without it appearing patronising or being taken for granted? Here are 6 steps:
1) Make the decision to do it: Strange as it may seem, recognising people at work for what they do can be systemised, so start in your immediate sphere of influence and find out specifically what makes people tick. Don’t expect to get it right first time every time, but watch for what works and what doesn’t.
2) Be clear about what you want to achieve: What specifically do you want to recognise and reward? When should it be done? Where should it be done? How should you do it? What kind of response do you want and can expect? The answers to these questions will start you on the journey.
3) Watch the reaction when you start recognising people: Do they take you seriously?Are you getting the response you expected? Some staff may wonder which alien has replaced their manager.But if you do it specifically, at the right times and genuinely, you may find people reacting favourably.
4) Follow the right process: By this I mean the recognition should be specific, linked to the performance you want repeating, is positive, sincere, personal and done proactively.
5) Determine how you can recognise people at work: Think how you can make people’s work interesting for them. Help them see how their role plays out in the big picture of things. Feed information and quality communication to staff. That way, they will feel involved and that they matter. Involve them in decision-making so that they own some of the decisions made. Show them how much independence and autonomy they can gain in their work.
6) Keep the momentum going: Ask if you are getting the results you expected. Is your timing correct? Are you being individual in your recognition, or have you missed something? One manager organised a golfing day for his team, as recognition for their year’s work and to do some team building. He hadn’t taken into consideration that he was the only person in the team who liked golf!
Take personal responsibility for recognising individuals at work and you will no doubt see the benefits in the results you achieve.
Regardless of how long you’re in management, there will come a time when you will have to face the prospect of offering some kind of discipline to a staff member. Although thought of as being punishment, discipline should be seen as a way of convincing someone there are higher standards to attain, and you are offering the individual the chance to improve.
While progressive discipline is generally the most effective method of dealing with discipline, it must be practiced within a larger framework. To increase the likelihood of positively influencing employee performance and protecting against legal action, keep Douglas McGregor’s “hot stove rule” in mind: Learn More