The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
As a manager you shouldn’t strive to do the mininimum amount of work possible to get by each and every day. Your ultimate goal should be to become the absolute best manager you can be – not just a good manager but an excellent manager.
So what can you do to set yourself apart from the rest? Evaluate your performance to determine whether or not you’re adhering to the fundamental concepts of excellence. They are as follows:
Take a step back and evaluate your own performance as a manager. There are things you can do to improve your performance. Are you ready to meet the challenge?
Every individual on your work team has a different personality. Each different personality type will have a different way of reacting to a situation. While it may be difficult to predict just how each individual you work with will behave on a regular basis you can learn about the four main behavioural categories. There are four categories, and four only, that each person’s behaviour will fall into at any given point in time. A person determines how he will act in only one of 4 ways, and rarely even knows the choice is occuring – it’s subconscious. The four categories are as follows:
Automatic behavious are habits people have created throughout their lifetimes. They’re comfortable with them and rarely stray from their usual attitudes and actions. Everyone, on the other hand, has a back-up plan – a repertoire of behaviours we turn to when our normal behaviours aren’t compatible with a given situation. For example, the class clown will automatically adapt his behaviour in a serious business meeting or while attending a funeral. The creative personality isn’t as creative as you might think. It’s a person’s ability to adapt the behaviours he has already established, combining them in a different way for a unique result or pattern of actions. Finally, everyone has the ability to learn new behaviours, whether in a formal setting or subconsciously from being around others. Now that you know a little bit about the four categories of behaviour, and how one chooses his actions, can you look at each of your employees and pinpont which category each currently falls into? Are there things you should do to modify their current behaviours? And should you even bother? Thanks again, Sean Sean McPheat Managing Director
During your time working with your team members and employees you are going to find that some are more motivated than others. During those times when certain team members seem less motivated you are going to have to find ways to get them back on track. Before you can do so, it will help you to understand that there are three main types of motivation.
The first type of motivation is the promise of some type of reward. The reward may or may not be tangible (recognition, an extra few hours off, or financial). Regardless, people are sometimes more motivated when they believe they are working towards a goal. A paycheck, in this example, simply isn’t enough.
The next type of motivation is the fear of loss – or a fear of being punished if the job isn’t done. You may find that you have to pull a team member aside for a meeting or review in which you lay down an ultimatum – start getting your work done or you may lose your job. This is, of course, an extreme example but in the end those who fear they’ll lose out on any level at all (no bonus, no extra holiday) tend to stay motivated.
Finally, those who have a sense of responsibility or obligation tend to stay motivated. They feel as though they have a sense of duty. Some people can find a sense of responsibility on their own while others may need help finding their purpose. The point is that once they have a sense of purpose they’ll begin to work for and with it.
Are you and the members of your team motivated? If not, what can you to do give them a little push in the right direction?
It takes time to develop a good team. As a manager you’ll find that once you have a team of great employees you’ll need to learn how to balance their skills. For example, some are better at building personal client relationships while others are better at doing the technical aspects of their jobs.
Once you develop a strong team you’re going to have to take a step back to look at the way your team members interact with your customers. From there, you’ll need to develop a strong customer service plan. A good customer service plan involves day to day interactions, retention, and future development but before you can dive into the details you need to work on something a bit more generalised – your main customer service promises.
My research has led me to four main promises every good customer service team should be able to keep. They are as follows:
How does your team rate when it comes to fulfilling these promises? Are you able to keep these promises or are there things you can or should change in order to build better relationships?
Appreciative Inquiry is a newer term not many of you may be familiar with. It is, in short, the act of learning about and appreciating the values that those around us have to offer.
You’ve heard the phrase “find the best in others.” That’s exactly what appreciateive inquiry is about. In business, and as a manager, it’s your responsibility to work with people until you uncover their positive traits – the traits you and your team can use and appreciate.
According to Carol Wilson, there are four main stages when it comes to appreciative inquiry. They are:
You start by discovering what you have – learning about what is working for your team right now and what could potentially change based on the traits and skills you have uncovered. You then take the time to think about (or dream up) the best possible outcome possible. After you have an idea, you have to design a plan that will bring those dreams to fruition. You then determine the destiny by figuring out exactly how your design can most naturally exist, combining both new and existing resources without upsetting the old systems.
You must evolve and emerge.
Appreciative inquiry isn’t about forcing change. It’s about learning about the traits, skills, and characteristics of your team members you didn’t realize existed and allowing them to evolve naturally into your processes – with a little encouragement, of course!
As a manager, you’re going to find yourself in a unique position. Your superiors will assign you a task and you’re going to turn around and delegate it to members of your team. When they’re done, you’re going to turn it in to your superiors and take all the credit.
The problem is that the more authority we have, the more we seem to value ourselves. In reality, though, we may talk more than the contributing members of our team – delegating and organizing – but when it comes to taking actual action we’re really not doing as much as we think.
So then we develop a secondary problem.
The more we think of ourselves, the less we think of the others we are working with.
That’s not good either.
You have an unabashed view of yourself. You think you’re the big cheese. And despite the fact that your team members are doing most of the work on a given project, you feel as though you are better than them and minimize the value of their work.
And their the ones doing it all to begin with.
The next time you delegate a task to your team, take a step back and think about how involve you really are in the project. When the project is finished and goes to the next level, make sure the right people know who participated and to what extent.
It’s fair, and it doesn’t make you any less of a manager. Giving proper credit will actually make you a better, ethical example!
Yesterday we started talking a bit about bias and today I want to touch just briefly one one of the four main types of bias – the conflict of interest. You may be wondering how conflict of interest can be categorized as a bias and I’m going to explain just that.
Simply put, if you are favoring people who you believe will be able to provide you some sort of perk or benefit later on down the line you have a conflict of interest. You are biased towards those people because of what you hope to get from them and instead pass over people who may be better qualified to do the work but less able to throw a perk your way.
How unfair is that?
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re the office manager in a physician’s office. A pharmaceutical representative comes into your office to try to give you information and samples about a new cholesterol medicine. When he visits he brings you free samples, a huge tray of bagels and fruit for the entire office to share, and a really nice padfolio to thank you for your time. He also tells you that for every new rX for this medication you write your office will receive a bonus or referral fee.
A pharmaceutical representative from another company comes in with a different cholesterol medicine. She brings you some free samples but doesn’t shower you with gifts. Instead she gives you a lot of great information about the drug and the research and studies behind it. The cost for consumers is a bit less than the other drug, too. The pharmaceutical company doesn’t have a referral program so you won’t get any kickbacks for selling what looks like a decent drug.
Which will you choose?
You might, right now, say that you’d pick the second but the truth is that if you were in that situation you might unconsciously choose the first. Why pass up the opportunity for a referral fee, even if the drug isn’t as great as the second, right?
Wrong. That’s comletely unethical.
But do you even realize you’re making decisions like these?
I urge you to take a close look at the decisions you’re making this year. Are they best for your team or are you looking for what’s best for you personally?