The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
It is never too early to start honing your management skills.
Even if you are just starting out in your career, you should focus on establishing credibility and leadership skills to show your boss that you are a natural born leader.
When I ask that question of managers, I normally get a negative response; that is, they don’t think there is one trait that should be singled out above all others. Much better to be a rounded-out manager, rather than depend on a one-size-fits-all skill that can’t be applied in every situation. Learn More
There are many leadership ideas out there that seem, at times, to be over-complicated and a bit unwieldy. Often, management is quite a simply design with some detail
woven in among the fabric of complexity. But if we were to really examine the roles of the people within our business, I believe we can divide them into three components.
The senior management team (MD, Chief Exec, Senior Board members, etc) should be spending a large proportion of their time working on strategy and vision. These are the people who drive the organisation, ensuring the plans are in place for the business to go forward. They create the vision for others to follow. They build the strategy for the business to run forward. They develop the values that everyone in the company lives by. They ensure everyone has confidence in the future. And they commit to the mission that will make the business profitable.
The middle management team consist of the people who apply the strategy, vision and values.They link in with the senior team to drive the mission forward, working to ensure the ideas generated from the people who hold the purse-strings are applied effectively. They provide the leadership for the teams working for them to actually carry out the work.
The final layer are the producers, the people who ensure the work is carried out, motivated and driven by the leaders above them who set the guidelines and ensure continuity of business.
Effectively, each layer should be ensuring they make it easy for the layer below them to carry out their jobs. By providing the correct vision, top management provide the tools for middle managers to lead the producers effectively. If the producers (the people actually going out there and selling, giving customer service, answering the phones, building the customer relationships, etc) don’t feel adequately led, they will feel unclear about their roles and responsibilities, and maybe not tap into their full productive capabilities.
If the leaders don’t feel their senior team have set the right vision or direction for the business to follow, they will not have the full commitment and positivity to drive producers forward to achieve.
It’s like a well-oiled machine that gives great performance when maintained properly, and causes alarm and distress when ignored and neglected.
Ask whether the Vision, Leadership and Production within your business is in complete harmony. If so, you have a smooth-running engine. If not, maintenance is needed to ensure its continuity.
Head of Training
I’m delighted to let you know that we now have our own channel on youtube!
We’ve currently got 20 short training tips on the channel, with more being uploaded every week.
So when you need a quick dose of training in specific subjects, hop over to our MTD channel and download one of our programmes.
With subjects like The Seven Deadly Sins of Emails, Running Effective Meetings, Effective Listening Skills, How to use the 7S Model, and many more, it’s a goldmine of bite-sized information that can be viewed whenever you have a few spare moments.
Watch out for new titles every week!
The holidays can be a very stressful time for a lot of people. So much so, in fact, the symptoms of stress for some can easily spiral into moderate to severe depression. There’s something about the season, the shopping, and the pressure that makes dealing with the holidays a little less than pleasant.
Even our best and nicest clients tend to become more demanding during the holiday season, as they make their best attempts to cram as much last minute work as possible before the New Year. Your job as a manager is to remain aware of these changes and do what you can to make the holiday season as palatable as possible as your employees struggle to juggle their growing and changing work and personal obligations each day. Learn More
Developed by Robert Dilts, the concept known as Dilts Logical Levels was actually adapted by a series of neurological tests and concepts designed by an anthropologist known as Gregory Bateson.
Robert Dilts took that research and applied it to what is now considered to be a map of the logical levels of change a person goes through when analyzing a problem or process. These levels can be applied on many levels, including personal, professional, and even in social situations.
The six logical levels include:
The away an individual feels about himself on each of these levels has a huge impact on the action he takes on a daily basis.
For example, let’s assume you must attend a holiday function at the home of your boss sometime this week but you’d rather go home and spend time with your family. You aren’t necessarily thrilled about the event, but you must choose how to react.
If you’re smart you’ll consider your behaviour before you walk out the door. The way you act will determine how successful you are at work in the New Year. Will you walk in the door visibly disgruntled, or will you put a smile on your face and act happy to be at the party?
Each of these six levels impacts the end result of any situation. The capability/strategy you choose will be a result of your beliefs and values. Your beliefs and values will be a result of how you identify with yourself as a person. How you view yourself as a person is directly impacted by what you feel your purpose in life should be.
Take a few minutes this week to sit back and reflect upon these six levels and where you feel you fit into the grand scheme of things. Look at yourself on both a personal and professional level. I think you’ll be surprised at what you are able to learn about yourself!
Often times when we discuss management we immediately begin to think of profit-seeking organisations, but truth be told there are quite a number of situations in which effective management is necessary. These can be broken down into two main categories: the aforementioned profit-seeking group or the not-for-profit group.
Profit seeking organisations include large businesses, small businesses, and even start-up businesses. Each has a unique set of management needs, but if you’re looking for a role model you should start by taking a closer look at some of the larger organisations in your area. They’re obviously doing something right from a management perspective. If not, they wouldn’t exist today.
Small businesses have crucial management needs as well. While you might regard management skills as less important in a very small setting, they’re actually more important. A bad business decision made for a large corporation may result in a loss but a mistake made by a small business may be devastating, even resulting in closure.
Non-profits require management as well. Just because they aren’t out to make a million dollars doesn’t mean there aren’t rules and procedures to be followed and implemented. Most non-profits still have a staff of employees and proper management is essential. Examples of non-profits include your local government organisations (though I suppose many would argue this point), educational organisations (your public schools), and healthcare facilities. You will also find management needs in less traditional settings, such as your local college fraternity, within organised crime groups, or in your local church.
Keep in mind that proper management and leadership skills are a huge part of everyday life almost everywhere you go, even in your own home. Start looking at the overall scope of management and you’ll begin to see how you can apply certain management principles to your everyday life in order to achieve your goals!
Managing a customer service team can be an interesting task. Unless you’re recording phone calls or listening in on conversations there is really no way of knowing if your team members are doing the job they’re supposed to be.
Ask yourself this question: How do you know that your clients receiving the best customer care possible?
Not knowing puts you in a bad position. If your clients are unhappy you might not find out until they’ve taken their business elsewhere. So what can you do to change this?
Hire Secret Shoppers
As silly as this may sound the concept is legitimate. You can hire a marketing research company to conduct a survey of your customer service abilities. These people will pose as customers, both average and difficult, and put your customer service team to the test. They’ll then report back and let you know what their experiences were, whether they were over the phone or in person.
Survey Your Customers
This can be done in a number of ways. You can send a postcard, email, or letter asking your clients to respond. As a manager, you might even pick up the phone and make a call to your larger clients, letting them know that you just wanted to check in and make sure their needs are being met. Most clients will open up and speak honestly if they know they are speaking to someone in an authoritative position.
Technological solutions, such as call recording or running computer reports, will give you the ability to tack what your employees are doing regularly. To those who think that amounts to snooping – think again. Your client files are public record and, if your employees jobs are to keep your customers happy you have the right to make sure they’re doing their jobs.
Don’t be afraid to step up to the plate and evaluate your entire customer service team. They’re the forefront of your organisation and need to be acting as such. Taking action now will ensure your customers are always happy, and happy customers are usually very loyal!
Today’s management model is relatively simple compared to some of the others. The product S-curve describes the path a new product takes when it hits the market. In other words, it’s the sales life cycle of the product. Here’s how it works.
A new product hits the market. It took a lot of time and money to create, so the introductory price is pretty high. In most cases the product will be purchased by those in the high end of the middle and upper-class income levels.
After time the price of the product will drop, at which point it becomes more accessible to a larger market, like the average middle-income and even some low-income households. Not long after, everyone will have this new product and the sales will drop off again.
The entire process, if outlined, really looks like a flattened “S”.
A manager with foresight recognises that the market is on its way to satiation. At that point you should be prepared to either launch an “improved” version of the product or something completely new.
Market satiation, of course, is a lovely goal but isn’t always realistic. It depends on the product you are selling and how much people need (or believe they need) it. The question really becomes whether or not you are prepared to move forward once your product sales hit the latter part of the curve.
Do you have a plan?
Today we’re going to work a little bit on our communication skills. As managers we have a pretty good understanding of the value of our total compensation package, meaning not only wages but benefits as well.
Unfortunately, most of our employees look only at their wages, or what they’re able to take home and spend. Many don’t realise that their benefits packages cost quite a bit of money as well.
Imagine now that you have an employee who has just entered your office to give notice that he will be leaving for another job. He truly believes he will be making more money, but upon further questioning you realise he will be making only a small percentage more when it comes to wages and he will be losing out on a large portion of his benefits.
What would you to do explain the overall value of the compensation package he is receiving from your organisation? Do you think your explanation would be enough to change his mind? What steps will you take to communicate how much the organisation appreciates his work?
These are two issues I have always dreaded: compensation and resignations. Putting the two together should give you a chance to look closely at each so that you’re prepared to address any situation that arises.