The benefit of long experience is the opportunity to make management mistakes and experience poor management practices. It’s always easy to pledge to “not that mistake again,” or vow “not to manage others the negative way you’ve been managed.” Instead, this article is about the basic principles demonstrated by those who inspire employee engagement; are happy at work; and well-liked by high potential employees.
- Communicate: Get your group together periodically and provide them with helpful information about their work, the company and upcoming events. Well informed staff are more engaged. Staff meetings are for two-way communication – from your staff to you and from you to them. Don’t dominate the meeting or the agenda.
- Listen: Make sure your staff have a regular, private opportunity to speak with you. Listen carefully to what’s important to them. This allows them to discuss matters with you that they don’t want to discuss in front of others. Create a respectful, calm atmosphere – don’t take phone calls or interrupt them.
- Motivate: Get to know what is important to each team member – what they’re passionate about and where they want their career to go. Consider these motivators when asking them to strive to meet goals. Promote successful staff from within.
- Strategize: When you’re asking staff to do something difficult or something they object to, connect the request to the achievement of company end results. While respecting the company’s position, compromise is warranted when it’s important or fundamental.
- Be fair: Settle staff disputes fairly and immediately. Don’t favor one person over another (try hard to put your personal preferences asside); stick to facts; and consider both company and employee needs consistently. You can’t be best friends with those you supervise but you can win their respect through consistent fairness.
- Praise: Always extend credit to those who have contributed to positive results and make sure others know what they contributed. Be specific in what you like about their positive results.
- Extend leeway: Offer staff increasing opportunities to take reasonable risks if they’re doing well. When there is a misstep, don’t be over-critical or over react. Help them to understand that you need to provide a little more guidance for a while until confidence is restored. They will be anxious to win your trust and demonstrate competence.
- Advocate: Make sure staff have what they need to be successful and are fairly treated by others – attend to potential bullies within their own ranks. Don’t allow disrespectful treatment to go unresolved.
- Confront: Do not ignore performance issues. Make sure you have all the facts before you speak with the individual and allow them the opportunity to respond or explain. Take the time to decide what course of action will be fair and consistent with other similar situations.
- Consequence: Allow reasonable and natural consequences to end up where they belong. When you protect a poor performer from the consequences of their actions, it confuses coworkers. Make the “punishment” fit the “crime.” If the performance problem is fundamental, involves ethics or dishonesty the performance counseling should rise to a level of written warning, suspension or probation. But, don’t nit-pick: think about letting small missteps go unless they accumulate or repeat.
- Admit: If you aren’t quick on your feet, don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not sure. I need some time to consider my answer,” when confronted by surprising or controversial assertions. And if upon reflection, you need to apologize, do that. It’s never to late to admit things you wish you’d done differently
- Promise carefully: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. As an “agent” of the company, some promises you make as a supervisor bind the company to make good on those promises.
(c) Copyright Benoit Consulting, LLC updated 2021 updated July 2022, all rights reserved.