The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
In a previous blog, we spoke of the barriers that exist when you are listening to another person. We know that listening is a key skill that great communicators have mastered, so it’s good to address the issues that occur in listening, and see what we can do about them. Learn More
Recruit in haste, repent in leisure! That’s certainly very true when you need new people in your team. When you are looking for a new person, it can be tempting to just place an ad or ask for resumes to be sent in from your favourite job websites. But there’s a better way to plan for new recruits, and a little time well-spent now will reap greater rewards later. Here are some ideas to kick-start your recruitment process: Learn More
Have you ever been interrupted? Hah, silly question!
How do you feel when it happens? Most people say they feel frustrated and disrespected by the other person. Psychologically, their self-worth goes down, as they feel the other person cares more about their own point of view than yours. And you know how you feel when you’re around a person who dominates the conversation, thinking that everyone is hanging on their every word, when the reality is often quite a lot different! Learn More
When should you lead and when should you manage?
This age-old question has been asked by many people on our programmes.
Our short answer is…it depends on the situation. Whether you show adequate leadership skills or display excellent management abilities will be determined by the results you are trying to achieve. Management and leadership are like different sides of the same coin, and it’s vital that you choose wisely, or you may be looking at the wrong side. Here’s some thoughts of how to differentiate between the two:
A manager thinks short term, tactically, a leader has a longer term, more strategic focus.
A manager plans how and when, a leader asks “what?” and “how?”
A manager looks at the bottom line, a leader looks to the horizon.
A manager knows the business, a leader knows the customer.
A manager focuses on improving existing products and processes, a leader focuses on the new product and the breakthrough process.
A manager supervises, a leader influences.
A manager builds success through quality, a leader builds success through employees.
A manager sets standards of performance, a leader sets new standards.
You can see that it’s mainly a case of what situation you are in before you choose to adopt a clear leadership style or whether you decide to manage the scenario. A rough guide would be that managers manage tasks and leaders lead people. If you have a report to complete by the end of the week, you manage the time, resources, equipment, planning, organisation and control of the project. You lead the people side of the project by motivating, communicating, giving feed-forward and feed-back, mentoring and coaching the staff who will be helping you achieve the results you are looking for.
Be careful not to mix up the two, though. Management is about planning, control and organisation. People don’t like to have their day planned or controlled for them. Set the results you want clearly and succinctly, then lead the people to achieve those results.
That way, you don’t confuse your people about expectations and objectives. Lead your people, manage your tasks, and everyone will know where they are.
How do you know if you are offering excellent customer service? Most companies tell us they use focus groups, surveys, response cards, mystery shopping, etc, and all these are valuable to create an awareness of exactly hat you’re doing right and wrong.
But unless you use another, cheaper, closer-to-home method, you might be missing a trick.
You’re under pressure, but your boss may be under even more!
How can you deal with a boss who may be stressed and taking it out on you?
Well, think first what it is that is actually causing the frustration.
Be aware of the pressures they are under.
Is it a client problem? Financial difficulties? Poor time management?
Whatever it is, work on helping them cope or reduce the impact.
You might try something like… “Tony, you said at last week’s meeting how the xxx account is taking up so much of your time at the moment. I’ve got some ideas I’d like to bounce off you where we can take on some of that responsibility and help you deal with the time issues. It will mean moving some priorities, but I think we can manage OK. Do we want to hear what my suggestions are?”
Here, we showed how we are aware of the boss’s frustrations, did some research to see how we could help and then came up with some solutions to the situation, rather than adding to the problems.
Hopefully, a reasonable boss would at least give it an airing. Present it in a way that they like to see things.
View it from their perspective…are they big chunk thinkers or detail-oriented? Are they visual? Can they work through the ideas with you at speed or do they need time to think it through?
By being on their wavelength, you have a better opportunity of communicating the message effectively, and maybe the stress they are going through can be helped by your approach.
OK, you’ve made all your plans and you’re convinced that your staff will be receptive to your new ideas.
So you decide to delegate some responsibility to your team, knowing that this level of empowerment will be grasped by all of them, as they are all striving for more responsibility and challenge.
Gordon Moore made a statement in 1965 that has become known as Moore’s Law. He stated that the number of transistors in a computer chip will double every two years. This law has past into mainstream business, and we now hear writers talking about how our knowledge of everything is doubling every 18-24 months.
This opens up an interesting debate regarding how it affects management development, especially in regard to how we keep ourselves up-to-date with information and technology, as most things we buy and use today are out of date the moment we start using them.
With this increase in speed, we need to ensure we keep abreast or we will certainly be left behind. Eleanor Baldwin stated that “85% of the new work force will be in the four Information Age areas; High Tech, Environmental Organisations, Health-Care Industries and markets that cater for the Elderly”. As managers continue to speculate about the new opportunities, challenges and uncertainties associated with change, then thriving, surviving or even staying relevant will become a major concern for many.
Maintaining your employability will be an ongoing challenge as you prepare for uncertain times. Reflect on these facts…
* Managers are likely to change their jobs several times in their careers
* Technology will create millions of jobs and eliminate even more
* Staff will be more global and flexible in their working practices
* Lifelong learning will be essential
* Training will be delivered ‘on-demand’
* Organisations will pay for the value of the person, not the job
* Projects will take over from jobs as the driving force behind productivity
So what can you do to guarantee your employability in the future…?
* Be up-to-date with technological advances. There is simply no option. You must know what’s going on or you will become obsolete
* Be mobile. If not physically, in your mind. You must adopt a mentality for mobility, as this will allow your expertise and experience to be more marketable
* Continue to develop your people skills. People with high emotional intelligence will always be in demand. You must be able to motivate and get the best out of people
* Embrace change willingly and enthusiastically. Your attitude to change and your willingness to drive it rather than be a victim of it will make you stand out in employers’ eyes
* Commit to lifelong learning. By standing still, you get left behind. This will help you to become more versatile and valuable to employers. Keep listening to positive CDs and MP3s. Download and immerse yourself in positive influences. You’ll learn so much from people who have been there and done that before you
* Become visible in your business. Network. Build relationships with people of influence inside and outside your industry
* Get yourself a coach.All top performers in business have a personal coach, and yours will keep your eye on the goal and keep you motivated to contribute successfully
* Become known as a valuable team player, with strong problem-solving and decision-making skills
* Become someone who creates your future rather than just waiting for it to happen.That’s the only way you can stay valuable to an employer
The cream always rises to the top, so keep yourself in touch with progress and you’ll be the one headhunted in the future rather than hunting for work.