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Secret Mistake Many Managers Make

Have you ever told your team that you are always available for them?  And you genuinely believe it? Why could this be a mistake?

“My door is always open”, except that is when it is closed, I have visitors, I am out of the office again, taking an important call……

Hmm, is  this your dilemma?  Do you want to do the best for your team but find yourself pulled in lots of different directions.  Result?  You worry about not having the time to complete your own important targets, feel harassed, frustrated and like a hamster on a wheel going round and round.

Do you sometimes wish they would all go away?!

Now in some respects being constantly available isn’t necessarily the best thing: it could be a barrier to people using their own initiative.  After all it is much quicker and involves less effort for the boss just to tell them what to do.  Pity, as giving them directions all day stops your employees’ growth.  And being constantly available could land you in being referee to sort out pettiness when people can just work it out for themselves.

Getting the balance right

Do you find it difficult to get the balance right and be sufficiently available for your team?  Do you feel pressured by your own duties?  Perhaps you need to analyse and create reports, undertake policy matters or  direct client liaison and so on.  It is no wonder that you want to retreat into your office.  Has it become normal for you to stay there?  Have you become remote, losing that essential human connection with your team…

But here’s the rub: your team will perceive your availability quite differently from your intention.  Your actions shout loudly when they are different from what you tell your team.

“Well we never see him down here.  How can he possibly understand what’s going on?” complained some operators to me about their manager.

They felt that their worries and suggestions were being sidelined and that they were not important enough for the manager to walk around the plant even once a day.  Result: some disenchanted employees who never got to sound out their great ideas for plant improvement, squashing their natural enthusiasm.

Why not try Management By Walking Around (MBWA)? 

Well, my manager friend, this involves you randomly checking in with your team members about how things are going.  And you need to see them at their work station frequently, as well as at any scheduled meetings that you may have.  See them doing their work in a natural way.   MBWA is not a particularly new concept but it still does have merit.

Employees often view their “closeted” managers as aloof, even intimidating.  Consciously take the opportunity to connect with your team.  You will be amazed at how much you can learn from them and find out what is really going on.

OK, so you have a desk full of work that you need to attend to and deadlines to meet.  But it is very important to really get to know your team well.  Get a clear understanding of their strengths, abilities and, of course, get to know when people need explanations and help.

Sound time consuming?  Actually this method to reduces your workload and frustration whilst you gain a perspective on individual performance.

Don’t just walk through the office or plant on your way out to the car park.  You need to really engage with people and actively listen to what they have to say.  Avoid the method beloved of some military types “Any complaints?”

Be approachable, informal and be genuinely interested in each of your team members.

Your employees’ ideas are valuable

Use their grass root perspective to help you with ideas for improvements.  You can gain valuable insight into what actually happens, how plant and systems really work and how customers and suppliers behave.  Ensure that you follow up any concerns and listen to negative comments as these give you valuable insight to morale.

Remember too that a great idea doesn’t mind who thought of it.  Your team members can have some excellent ideas for new products, system modifications and are more likely to share them with you if they are able to talk to you informally during the day.  You probably won’t implement all of the suggestions that come your way, but you will encourage your team by talking things through.  In this way, you encourage their involvement. Ultimately this will improve motivation and performance.

Be careful to talk to everyone at some point  

MBWA is more than chatting to people with the same interests as you.  Talking about football or fashion, is easy but remember that the quiet person is also deserving of your attention.  Walking around gives you the chance to share company vision and values in a practical and natural way.

Equally, make sure that you aren’t in anyone’s face and definitely avoid micro-management!

When you use this technique, you have the added bonus of identifying people to train up to do some of your tasks.  Delegating in the right way enhances your team’s development, a step towards succession planning and not least takes away some of your work burden so that you can MBWA!  You will also gain the trust of your workforce and develop great team spirit where everyone can enjoy their job.

I love Dilbert: look at this!  http://bit.ly/2eWMbOu

©Christine de Caux 2016 All rights reserved

Why not sign up to receive news and posts from Fantastic Managers and be the first to hear about additional material, complimentary mini courses and full expert courses.

www.Fantastic-Managers.com

is the online home for CdeC Solutions, created by Christine de Caux, HR Consultant Coach

Mailing address: CdeC Solutions, The Apex, 2 Sheriffs Orchard, Coventry, CV1 3PP, United Kingdom

 

Essential Tips: from team player to new manager

Congratulations New Manager!

Here’s the scene: you have been promoted to be the new manager of your existing team.  Congratulations.  I raise my glass to you.

But what’s this?  You are starting to feel nervous about managing people: after all it is now a different relationship.  Even conversations at the coffee machine may be different.  Don’t kid yourself that your relationships will carry on as they did before.  And neither should they as you now have a particular responsibility for overall performance, ensuring everyone’s welfare and not least ensuring that

learning people skills for management
people skills for the new manager

everyone adheres to the rules.  You are now under the microscope by both your former colleagues and also by your senior manager.  Perhaps you will have to make unpopular decisions, potentially be “policeman” and progress chaser.  You may even be unlucky enough to have to make staff cuts among your former peers.

Your relationship has now changed forever and understanding how you can influence your team will rest on your management style.

If you find it very hard to adopt a style that doesn’t feel natural to you, knowing your options will help you to gain confidence. Be careful not to flip-flop between styles without understanding what you hope to achieve as inconsistency in approach can make you appear ingenuous and you could lose the respect of your team.

So what styles might you adopt?  Broadly you will choose from these:

  • Direct (authoritarian) – “do as I say”.  This style is very useful in times of emergency or when your team has little experience and when there is a need to follow exact procedures.
  • Recommend – “you might want to do this…”   A very hands-off style, it passes responsibility for decisions to the team.  This works well where your people possess a high technical ability.  Often used with professional groups, you will need to have a clear vision for the final product and be sufficiently motivated to see it through to the end.
  • Affect – “this will do someone some good”.  This will play towards someone’s emotional response and in a way is carrot and stick tactics.  Encourage your team by painting a picture of how they will bring positive results (happiness) for themselves and others.  Or it could be a vision of painful negative aspects if they don’t do it.  Sometimes known as moving towards or away from method, it is useful in a sales environment where the rewards are high for big sales. However, failure to perform results in low payment or termination from the organisation.
  • Advisory- “you need to do this because it will mean (some positive outcome)…”  This style is really an amalgamation of several styles.  The manager offers guidance to the team but allows them to make the final decisions on how to proceed.  Handled with care, this can offer a level of autonomy within specified standards and parameters.  However, handled badly, you could appear manipulative or shrugging off your own responsibilities.

Consider the type of situations you face

In actual practice you will probably use a varying combination of all these styles according to the situation and environment.  Be very careful of, though,that you are consistent in the style you use for similar situations.  If your team’s looking to you for guidance, clearly you will need to judge how prescriptive you will need to be.

  • Is this an occasion where you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in with everyone else? Be careful of micro-managing.
  • Will you offer extra resources and practical suggestions? If so, make sure you have a good understanding of requirements and necessary skills to perform the task.
  • Will you buoy up your team, telling them how much you rely on their ability?  Be careful that you treat each member of the team as an individual so that you are absolutely certain of their support and capability; discuss with them any perceived barriers and problems.  Be scrupulously fair and consistent.  Never abuse their trust or loyalty because once gone, you will never get it back.

Above all, remember to praise highly and thank each person properly for their efforts.  It is astonishing just how motivational the simple act of saying “thank you” is.  Never take the full credit for a job well done if in fact it was done by your team (You can however, take credit for building and developing a great team!)

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© Christine de Caux 2016   All rights reserved

Why not sign up to receive news and posts from Fantastic Managers and be the first to hear about additional material, complimentary mini courses and full expert courses.

www.Fantastic-Managers.com

is the online home for CdeC Solutions, created by Christine de Caux, HR Consultant Coach

Mailing address: CdeC Solutions, The Apex, 2 Sheriffs Orchard, Coventry, CV1 3PP, United Kingdom