The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
A lion is basking in the sun when a fox comes along, looking upset.
“What’s wrong?” asks the friendly lion. “My watch is broken”, replies the upset fox.
“Give it to me; I’ll fix it for you”, says the lion.
“How can you fix it?” replies the incredulous fox. “Your paws and claws are too big for such a delicate job”.
“You’ll see”, replies the friendly lion, as he takes the watch into his cave.
A few minutes later, the lion emerges with a fixed watch and hands it back to the fox. The impressed fox walks off and the lion continues lazing in the sun.
Then a bear passes, looking down in the dumps. “What’s up?” enquires the lion.
The bear says his phone has broken and he’s going to have to get a new one.
“Give it to me; I’ll fix it”, says the friendly lion.
The bear is puzzled. “How can you do that? Your paws will crush my small phone!”
“You’ll see” replies the lion, and takes the phone into his cave. He returns a few minutes later with a fixed phone and hands it to the surprised bear. The bear says thanks and walks away. The lion sits contentedly in the sun.
A little bird has been observing all this. He flies into the lion’s cave and observes.
There, sitting and looking very pleased with themselves, are five intelligent-looking rabbits, with precision instruments and complicated tools. A contented lion is relaxing in the corner.
If you want to know why a manager is successful, look at his subordinates.
If you want to know why someone is promoted, look at his subordinates.
How to be a manager you can be proud of. When you read that title, did you think, ‘Yeah, easier said than done!’
Well, when you know exactly what your employees are looking for, there’s no reason why it can’t be within your grasp. Here are some ideas:
1. Let your team actively participate in team goals and objectives. Look for every opportunity to include your employees in being active participants in goal-setting. Most delegates on our courses tell us it’s normally just one-way…downwards. Keep your team members involved and there’s a good chance they will be more committed to those goals.
2. Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done. Ask each person for suggestions for other ways of getting the task or project accomplished. Listen and be willing to really hear their comments. Team members often state that they have no input and are told exactly how to perform their jobs, leaving no creativity.
3. Provide positive reinforcement. Always listen and acknowledge your employees. They often report that their decisions and actions are second-guessed and that most, if not all, feedback given is negative.
4. Clearly delegate responsibility and give your employees authority along with the responsibility. Do you give inconsistent messages? Do you ask the employee to handle a problem or project and then give them negative feedback. Employees often say that they are given tasks and then told they did it wrong.
5. Be clear in your communication. When you express goals or explain projects, be sure each individual on the team really understands what you are asking. Often, the goals are unclear and they are not sure what they are being asked to do.
6. Show you have trust in your employees. Allow them to make mistakes as a form of learning. Show that it is really OK to make mistakes. Let them know you really support their decisions. Otherwise, they fear that someone is always looking over their shoulder to make sure they do things right.
7. Listen Actively. Do you do most of the talking? Employees sometimes say that conversations are one way, comprised mostly of their ideas being criticised. They don’t feel they are heard.
8. Be interested in the career development of each team member. Meet with your staff and discover their goals and their wants. Team members often report that their goals are not viewed as important in the organisation.
If you are able to convince your team members you have their best interests at heart, you have a great chance of being that manager you (and your team) can be proud of!
On a recent management course we were running, the discussion revolved around the key skills managers need to make an impact in today’s working environment. One delegate suggested consistency in approach. But another delegate thought it would stifle creativity if a manager tried to be consistent.
I thought about this and have come up with a few benefits of management consistency:
1) Consistency reduces confusion and uncertainty within the team. If your team wonder how you are going to respond to various ideas and issues, you create an atmosphere of doubt and people will think twice about airing thoughts that might be more creative because of concern about your reaction
2) Being consistent brings the perception of who you are and who others think you are closer together. This means people are able to trust you and understand your reactions if there’s a difference of opinion
3) Consistency helps you to ‘walk your talk’. It improves and highlights your personal brand and helps people recognise who you are and the standards you aim for
4) Consistency enables your team to support you in your decision-making. Knowing how you will respond will allow team members to have confidence in approaching you and supporting the way you deal with problems
5) Consistency can still encourage creativity. It just means that in situations that require you to make decisions, people know where they stand with you and can predict your behavioural styles
So, there’s no doubt that people can build their trust in you when you are consistent in your approach and a level of understanding not found where inconsistency is rife.