Being an effective manager does not just happen. It takes work — sometimes a lot of work, especially in the beginning.
One of the functions of being a manager is to make sure staff members get their work done on time, in sufficient quantity, and with a high level of quality. To develop quality workers, Rory Angold, a results-driven sales manager, suggests being skilled in the following areas: communicating, planning, motivating, guiding, and supporting.
Communicating: Say what you mean and mean what you say
Successful communication is crucial because all managerial activities involve communicating. Often managers make the mistake of getting so caught up in their workload that they fail to convey instructions fully, share organizational news, or specify deadlines. Be clear when giving assignments; use proper English, and be explicit about what is expected or required. Be a good listener; ask questions, and invite feedback. Be honest, straightforward, and provide as much information as possible.
Planning: Set the stage for success
To effectively communicate with staff members, a manager must first know how to plan. Planning entails deciding what will be done and how it will be accomplished; it also plays a pivotal role in determining the success of the manager and the worker. Gather all of the information available about an assignment and know each staff member's workload and the status of each task. Set measurable and detailed objectives as well as a timetable to meet those goals. Once the task is assigned, set a specific time to meet with the worker to see how the assignment is progressing.
Motivating: Find out what makes people tick
Most workers want to do a good job, but the reasons that prompt them to do so vary from person to person. It may be job satisfaction, better pay, or the praise that comes from doing a good job. Some employees react to increased levels of responsibility; others respond when tasked with coming up with a creative solution to an age-old problem. A good manager must learn what motivates each person and try to create an environment that reinforces that motivator.
Some factors, such as pay, may be out of a manager's control. However, an effective manager always acknowledges a job well done, does not reward a worker for underperformance, and encourages workers to recognize each other. A skillful manager also works with staff members to set improvement goals, thus setting the stage for additional positive worker recognition in the future.
Guiding: Help workers achieve success
An effective manager makes sure staff members know what to do and how to do it well. Successful guidance includes providing proper training for workers to do a quality job. Give constructive, private feedback when a task is not done to the required standards and public praise when it exceeds standards. One-on-one coaching takes time, but it shows the manager cares about his or her employees.
Supporting: Stand behind your workers
Providing support improves morale, reduces burnout, develops trust, keeps personnel focused, and creates an environment for workers to be successful. After assigning or delegating a task, trust employees to carry out the assignment. Empower them to act within the guidelines established, and stand behind them if they did their best, even if they make a mistake. Research shows that 40 percent of employees who feel empowered by their manager stay actively engaged in their work. Shelter workers from abuse from upper management or managers in other departments, and make sure the resources are available to enable the worker to carry out the assigned task.
Successful managers who develop proficiency in the arts of communicating, planning, motivating, guiding, and supporting will find they have an energized, enthusiastic workforce. Short term, mastering these skills pays dividends in terms of increased employee productivity, less employee turnover, and a cheerful work environment. Long term, being an effective manager leads to rewarding opportunities and career development.
About Rory Angold
Rory Angold has spent the past 20 years assuming leadership and executive positions within various companies. In his last position, Mr. Angold worked with Zurich North America, managing and more importantly developing field teams in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. His goal was to connect with automotive dealers and industry partners to help them increase their wealth while managing risks and protecting their assets. Rory Angold is now serving as Executive Vice President at United Car Care, a company that offers vehicle service contracts that provide reliable protection at an affordable cost.
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