The benefit of long experience is the opportunity to make management mistakes and learn how not to repeat them. Here are some of the basic principles guiding successful managers:
- 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 their position, do not compromise when it’s important or fundamental.
- Be fair: Settle staff disputes fairly. Don’t favor one person over another; stick to facts; and consider both company and employee needs consistently. You can’t be good friends with those you supervise. You can’t.
- 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 as they do well. When there is a misstep, don’t be over-critical or over react. Help them to understand that you need to increase supervision 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 can confuse people. 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. 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.
- Promise carefully: Never make promises you can’t keep and remember that some promises you make as a supervisor bind the company to make good on those promises.
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