In order to bring you the most accurate and useful information possible, Employee Selection and Development, Inc. will be issuing PRACTICAL RESEARCH REPORTS quarterly. Its purpose is to give you practical and useful information on hiring, motivating, and managing employees. Should you have any questions or want further elaboration, please contact us by email or call 800-947-5678.
PRACTICAL RESEARCH REPORT #20
Management Competency-Managing Others
Assigning work to others and telling them what to do is not the same as effectively managing them. Managing others requires a set of people skills that, when combined with a strong sense of integrity and professionalism, allows you to work through other people to accomplish objectives. As a manager you must encourage performance through motivation and feedback and also hold people accountable.
As you might guess, it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive primer in just a few pages. Many books have been written on this topic. Here, we try to provide you a general overview of the most important issues:
Demonstrate Strength of Character
Personal strength of character is one of the most important competencies of management. A manager must possess a sense of personal responsibility and accountability. Develop your own personal code of conduct and adhere to it at all times. Doing so will inspire and motivate others to do their personal best. Your list should look something like this:
- Maintain integrity and be above reproachin all you do.
- Always keep your word.
- Do not gossip or say things about people that you would not say to them directly.
- Praise in public, criticize in private.
- Admit your mistakes and be accountable for your actions.
Develop and Share Your Expertise
The best managers continually expand their knowledge and grow their skill set so that they increase their contribution to the organization. In turn, they share this knowledge and expertise with peers and subordinates to help them move the business forward.
- Take the time to become thoroughly knowledgeable about your organization and the business it is in. Attend briefings and presentations by others in the company. Read information published by your organization such as an annual report.
- Stay current by reading your industry’s trade journals; maintain a network within and outside your organization to anticipate and be aware of new trends.
- Stay current with new technologies.
- If you have an area of technical expertise, read and take occasional courses to maintain those skills.
- Share your knowledge and expertise with others in ways that will help everyone achieve their business objectives.
Traits of a Good Manager
- Behaves with personal integrity and professionalism
- Displays a positive attitude and works hard
- Organizes work schedules and assignments
- Stays current with knowledge of the business and ways the group may be affected; keeps people informed
- Explains actions and decisions and lets people know about changes
- Listens to the input of subordinates and encourages their involvement
- Disciplines poor performance and rewards good performance
- Is consistent and fair with all subordinates
- Coaches and develops all subordinates
Build Your Team
- Hire competent people. As a manager, take your responsibility for hiring motivated and competent people very seriously. Otherwise you will weaken the overall team. If you have not done so, take a course, read a book, or have a discussion with a human resources professional about best practices for hiring. Make a commitment to following these best practices no matter how busy you are.
- Foster a sense of community. Encourage people to help each other. Talk in terms of “we.” Doing things together like going for lunch can also contribute to a sense of team.
- Empower people. The old model of a command-and-control manager is outdated. In today’s workplace, a more successful model is to share information, prepare people well, then turn responsibility over to them.
- Educate, train and equip people to be effective in their jobs. Even if you work in a large organization with a training department, it is your responsibility to ensure that your subordinates are properly equipped.
- Set a good example. By your own actions and attitude, set a positive and optimistic tone in your workgroup. Be willing to work hard to achieve objectives.
Encourage Open Communication
- Clearly articulate your expectations for the group and for each member of the group. Encourage people to ask for clarification when they are uncertain.
- Keep people informed. Communicate openly and honestly about upcoming events, trends, or changes that will impact your workgroup or organization. If you do not know the answer to something, say so, then try to find the answer. Do not allow rumors or gossip to be the source of information for your workgroup.
- Foster an environment where people feel free to share ideas. This may be as simple as taking time to listen when your subordinates make suggestions or creating formal mechanisms such as suggestion programs or brainstorming sessions. Remember, a quick dismissal of an idea or excessive criticism may discourage future suggestions and creativity.
- Be available. Maintain an open-door policy, but do not expect people to seek you out. Make a point to interact with each of your people on a regular basis.
Plan and Organize
- Plan the work of your group. Consider all that must be accomplished, the various deadlines or timeframes to be met, and the work steps required. Prioritize the work by importance and deadline and by consideration of critical tasks that must be accomplished before other tasks can begin.
- Establish task and work-step schedules and deadlines.
- Delegate work sensibly, considering the capabilities of each of the members of your group.
- Check progress against the plan frequently enough to recognize problems early.
Challenge and Develop Others
- Set high expectations for each of your people. If you expect mediocre performance, that is what you will get!
- Know your people. Learn their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, and what they wish to achieve. To the extent that you can, take this information into account when assigning work or special projects.
- Recognize good performance. Make a point of saying someone has done good work when they have, and make some of this praise public. Consistently superior performance should be rewarded with pay raises, promotions, etc.
- When a subordinate’s job performance falls below expectations, give clear, unambiguous feedback and improvement guidance. Do this in private and with tact, but do not avoid this responsibility. Do this early and regularly (if necessary). Do not wait for the annual performance review.
- Coach others to grow. As a manager, you have a responsibility to help your subordinates grow and develop. Consider this a long-term investment in the future success of your group.
Obviously, effectively managing others is not an easy task. You must develop skills in many areas in order to be successful. The best managers we know are those who understand that management is all about people. They work hard at being good managers and keep honing their skills. Do not be discouraged if you cannot master all these skills simultaneously. Persist in your efforts and you will get there!
When Disciplining subordinates, keep the following in mind:
- Give ample warning.
- Be fair and impartial. Hold everyone to the same standards and expectations.
- Be consistent. Do not ignore things one day, but punish for the same things the next.
- Focus on the facts. Avoid personal ambitions, gossip and emotions.
The discussion of the above management competency is part of our Assess for Managers Selection and Development program. This program currently has 38 defined management competencies that have been organized into five management levels. These competencies can also be custom tailored to your company’s management positions. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please call us at 800-947-5678.