To improve your management skills, focus on the following core areas of your practice:
Share your Vision
Is your business a one-man show or do your colleagues input into the strategic development? As a manager you can lay down the law but employees who have signed up to your vision are more likely to focus on outcomes in their work. Empower your team to be part of a shared ethos; sometimes it’s about making them believe they have contributed even if the direction is the same as if you had driven it alone.
Know your team
As a manager you should know exactly what each team member’s role entails and how they well they perform their duties (regular appraisal with achievable targets is essential especially if this is linked to pay increases or bonuses). If obstacles occur which will prevent a colleague from being able to fulfil their role then you must know how you will overcome those obstacles so that he can discharge his duties effectively.
Knowing your staff also means understanding their skills and experiences and how you can use these to the benefit of the organisation. Employees become disenchanted if they feel their talents are being wasted; equally, they appreciate the opportunity to venture into new territory. As a manager you have to strike a fine balance between deploying people according to their abilities and enabling them to learn new skills for their professional development.
Trust your Team
Micromanaging your team constantly is a waste of your time and devalues their role. Managers who trust their employees help to facilitate a positive ethos in which everyone understands their role and feels entrusted to do the job to the best of their ability. Team members who recognise they are trusted are more likely to go the extra mile, to take on new responsibilities and to demonstrate a more innovative approach to their work.
Remember that if a problem occurs within your team, such as a target not being met or a project failing, it is not necessarily one person’s fault. The let’s-find-someone-to-blame culture of The Apprentice is not a good example of effective people management.
Remember they are People
Do you give enough consideration to the fact your team members have personal lives? Difficulties occur in everyone’s life from time-to-time which can have an impact on productivity. Your company may have targets to achieve or deadlines to meet but this has to be balanced with supporting your colleagues in difficult times. An unhappy employee is an unproductive one, so find solutions together such as flexible working, paid leave or support from occupational health.
Say ‘Thank You’
It’s as simple as that. Take the time to let your team know they are valued and you recognise and appreciate their hard work.