by Dixie Belle
Effective Management Tips, New Managers, Managing Up
|Work smarter not harder! How many of you have heard this phrase? Working smarter not harder is a great thing if you have practical and effective ways to make the most of your time and the time of those under your supervision. The first thing all managers of any level should do is to objectively examine their managerial skills, take note of how you actually spend your time each day; how much time do you spend of a project; and can you do something differently to accomplish your goals in less time without sacrificing quality?
How your relationship with your staff members and other co-workers is; do you have a positive relationship with open communication? If not, you should identify the negative aspects of your working relationships; how that affects your performance and the performance of your team members. Make a list of key areas where you feel improvement is needed to overcome the negativity and create a positive and productive environment within your department. As in just about any relationship, communication is a key factor in your success as a manager. Successful managers have learned (and always strive to improve their communication and management skills) the art of effective communicating with people at all levels in and outside of the workplace. Here are some practical tips that you can implement immediately and be own your way to becoming a successful, effective and in-demand manager. Be careful though, your new positive attitude and outlook is likely to be noticed and may even be contagious. You may even become an inspiration to other managers to be a positive role model.
1. Learn the layout. Learn the organizational structure of your corporation as well as other corporates in your industry. Get familiar with the managerial culture of your organization, while you may have been with a particular company for many years, if you now find yourself in a management position your role and expectations of you are going to be different. It is your position as a manager to learn what is expected of you and stay on top of best practices in your particular field.
2. Stay grounded. Keep your feet on the ground; don’t get too lofty in your attitude. A promotion to management does not mean you are now the supreme know-it-all; don’t let your new-found power go to your head. Remember that you were “one of the little people” once and be considerate of how you treat others. Everyone at every level deserves respect; you will get much more in return from those around you if you have a considerate and respectful attitude. Remember your basic manners you were taught as a child, such as saying “Please” or “Thank you”, showing your appreciation when a job is well done can go a long way.
3. Communication. Get to know your team, make an effort to spend individual time with your staff, as well as a team as a whole; listen to their concerns, any ideas of suggestions they may have for improvement. Learn each member’s strengths and weaknesses; develop training plans for each member to strengthen weak areas and promote professional and personal growth. Developing good communication skills will make your job easier, as well as your team members. Make your expectations clear from the beginning, work together with your team to establish realistic and obtainable goals as individuals and as a team. Establish the ground rules of communication; assure your team that you have an open door policy. Set a regular time to meet as a team to review projects; team goals, encourage discussion among the team on how to improve upon any weaknesses.
Communication between you and your supervisor is important as well. If you are a new manager you probably have a new supervisor, or you may have joined a new company where you have to get to know everyone and how things work in this new environment. It is important that you take the initiative to get to know your supervisor, what their expectations are of you; what their “hot buttons” are; learn their style of management, and always ask questions if there is any uncertainty.
4. Be a good role model. Being a manager is a lot like being a parent, you are a role model for those you are responsible for. Remember that your staff members are watching your every move. When you establish your expectations for staff in attendance, performance and creativeness, you should remember that actions speak louder than words; you should be the example of what you expect from your staff. You can not expect staff members to arrive to work in a timely manner if you are consistently late yourself. If you expect the best from your staff, show them that you give your best at all times.
5. Learn how to delegate. Delegating is sometimes one of the most difficult skills to master (especially if you are a person who prefers to be “in control”), however delegating to others will be beneficial to you as a manger, your staff and department as a whole. Before you begin delegating, it is important to learn each of your team member’s strengths and weaknesses; you do not want to make the mistake of giving them a job that is too far above their head, therefore setting them up for failure. On the other hand you do not want to give someone with above-average administrative skills and entry level task that may be better suited for another team member. Make sure you are utilizing all members’ skills to get the most benefit for all. As a manager you will be expected to use your strategic and critical-thinking skills; delegating minimal tasks to others will enable you more time to analyze your department’s functions and focus on higher level projects.
6. Give credit and praise. Take the time to express to your staff that you notice when they are really giving 110% to their tasks. People learn and grow at different paces, so do not measure or compare your staff with each other. Communicate clearly that you always expect them to give 100% of their time and attention to the job at hand; realizing when they are giving it their all should be related to staff often. As a manager you are their inspiration or “wind beneath their wings” so to speak.
7. Avoid burnout. One thing new managers fall prey to is overworking themselves (and sometimes others) in order to learn as much as possible and make a good impression on their supervisors to show that they are capable of filling the manager role. Realize when you and your staff members are at your best each day, when you are most productive, if by mid-afternoon you know that you are becoming tired and therefore not able to give 100% of yourself, you should allow yourself (and staff) to take a short break. Do whatever you need to get focused again, maybe take a walk outside or take a brief “power-nap”. Being able to realize your weaknesses as well as strengths will enable you tackle the most challenging projects at best time so that you will be at your peak of productivity. Spend the last hour or so of the day getting ready to hit the ground running the next day.
8. Follow-up and follow-through. Being consistent in your follow-up or follow-through on projects and tasks with your team members helps keep everyone on track, allows time for questions or suggestions. Follow-up and follow-through works both up the ladder as well as down. As a manager you should make it your practice to keep a “to do” list, this will keep you on track and enable you to keep your supervisor informed on the status of projects assigned to you. This shows you are on top of your game, and that you will not let anything “slip through the cracks.”
9. Preparation. Preparation is key to success at any level, in any industry, in any trade for everyone. Keep a team chart, which is accessible to all team members; list all projects, who they are assigned to, what is the expected outcome; due dates and status section. This allows everyone to be on the same page and work more effectively as a team. Make it a habit at the start of each day to review your team’s activities, make sure all team members are track; then at the end of each day review the status of tasks assigned, make note of what was completed and what remains outstanding, what needs your attention. Finally, always look ahead for the next few days to make sure you know what is coming your way and what is expected of you and your team.
As a manger you should know what your resources are, where to look for answers, and give appropriate resources to all team members so that they are fully equipped with the tools needed to successfully complete projects in a timely manner.
10. Managing Up. This may be a new concept to some, especially new managers. However, a skilled manager knows how and when to manage up, another words manage their boss. It is important for managers at all levels to understand that they, as well as their supervisors, have things to accomplish in order to everyone’s job to be completed successfully. Keep your supervisor up-to-date on all projects, and any unexpected obstacles you face. Your supervisor is your primary resource to help in getting over or around anything that stands in the way of your ultimate goal.