Five Ways to Improve Your Management Style
“The most challenging part of being a boss is that nobody will tell you if your work is suffering.” – Bill Williams
Managing people can be extremely rewarding. It can also be extremely challenging. I have often said that managing people is not easy and it is not for everyone. Managing people takes time and effort. So, if you are not interested and prepared to put in the time necessary to be a good, effective manager, you should not be managing people.
That being said, if you are currently managing people and you find yourself struggling at times, here are five things that you can implement immediately that will help you be a more effective and efficient manager.
LISTEN MORE – First of all, no one expects you to have all the answers and they most certainly don’t expect you to do all the talking when you meet with them. Active listening will not only get you the information you need, but will earn you more respect. When you have meetings with your entire staff or with individual team members, follow these simple rules to improve your listening skills.
Work hard to listen – Our listening capacity is greater than our speaking capacity when measured in words per minute. That’s why our minds wander when listening to others. To overcome this, make good eye contact, concentrate on what the other person is saying, and ask questions to stay interested.
Hold your response – Don’t be so anxious to offer an opinion that you talk over the other person. Being less focused on what you want to say next will help you to concentrate more on what is being said. You will have your opportunity to respond.
Overcome distractions – Eliminate as many distractions as you can when having a conversation with someone. Find a quiet place to talk. Turn off your email notifications. Mute your smartphone. Shut the door to your office and avoid any other thing that will distract you from listening.
REVIEW GOALS OFTEN – I’m assuming that you have goals for your staff. If you don’t, skip past this section and go set goals for your team. If you have goals, read on. A common mistake managers make is that they set yearly goals for their direct reports, but don’t review them until the end of the year.
The purpose of a goal is to actually accomplish it as it affects not only the individual, but the group as well. Some managers utilize goals to find things their direct reports don’t complete so they can ding them on their yearly employee reviews. This makes absolutely no sense!
Part of your job as a manager is to help your team accomplish their goals. If you don’t review them, you can’t assess whether your direct reports are on track. If they are not on track, then you should be working with them to get back on track. Sometimes this means adjusting timelines or the goal itself. Don’t set your staff up for failure. Their goals affect the group’s goals and your goals, so you owe it to yourself to help them succeed.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COHESIVE TEAM – You are dealing with different types of people with different personalities, motivations, and competencies. We would all love to have staffs who are all on the same page, but that rarely happens. Many times you are given a team to manage and you need to play with the cards you’ve been dealt. Even if you could pick your own team, it would be difficult to find people whose personalities match, who are motivated the same way, and who possess the competencies that are needed by the team. So, here are some ways to identify and ensure you have a cohesive team.
Ensure clear expectations – Never assume every team member is on the same page regarding your expectations of them. Make sure they know what is expected of them. Make sure they know what their goals and the teams’ goals are. Additionally, ensure that your team members’ expectations of each other are clear.
Inclusion – Include your team in the decision making process. You will have goals for yourself and your team. When you include them in establishing their goals to support yours and in resolving the problems and issues associated with accomplishing those goals, you will not only unleash their power of creativity, but will be surprised at the things you can accomplish together.
AVOID TIME WASTERS/STEALERS – There is only so much time in the day. A good portion of that time needs to be devoted to managing your direct reports. In order to do that, you need to avoid those things that waste or steal your valuable time.
Email/Texting – We have become so reliant on email and texting that it becomes our “go to” way to communicate. Avoid texting and sending an email where a quick phone call or face-to-face communication is quicker. You’ll be surprised how much time you’ll save.
Avoid meandering meetings – Not everything requires a meeting. Review all your meetings and eliminate those that are not needed. For those that are, make sure you get the most out of that meeting. A clear agenda, follow-up action items, and keeping to the meeting time will all help you pick up valuable time.
AVOID INTERRUPTIONS – Five minutes of interruptions an hour equates to 13 hours per month! Here are a couple of out-of-the-box ideas for avoiding or mitigating interruptions.
Rearrange your office – Turn your desk away from the door. When you face the door, you look up as people walk by. When you look up, you make eye contact. When you make eye contact, you inadvertently invite them in. Facing away from the door will discourage people as they will think twice about disturbing you for unimportant things.
Remove extra chairs – Removing extra chairs from your office discourages people from stopping by and making small talk. The more comfortable they are the longer they will stay. You can always bring the chairs back when you need them.
There you go. These five things won’t solve all your problems, but they can be quickly implemented and tried. Like chicken soup when you have a cold, it can’t hurt!
About the Author — Ron Feher is the Chief Improvement Officer at WhiteRock Business Solutions. His mission is to help make businesses better by making their people better. WhiteRock’s service offerings include Executive Coaching, Manager Mentoring, Candidate/Job Matching, staff/team development, staff recruiting, and career coaching. Ron is a certified analyst with TTI Success Insights® and Career Direct. He utilizes their assessments to gather and use objective data to help make his clients more efficient and effective. WhiteRock can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net; or contact Ron (www.linkedin.com/in/ronaldafeher) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (949-466-0943). @RonFeher