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Make the most out of managing staff

08/10/2009

You're The Boss Now!

Let me help you make the most out of managing staff

If you've been working hard, striving to get up the career ladder you may find yourself landed with more than long hours and a pay rise - you may end up with junior colleagues to manage. Moving from employee to manager can be a fraught process. You might find some colleagues feel envious and those that become your juniors don't know what to make of you yet as their new boss.

There are many styles of management from the authoritarian type who dictates exactly what's what (think Alan Sugar), to the creative type (think Sir Richard Branson) and the nurturing type (think the late Anita Roddick). Whatever you believe your management style might be, you'd be best advised to employ the following Ten Commandments when working with your staff.

 

1/ Know Your Own Strengths And Weaknesses
It's terribly important to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be a better manager if you learn to bring your strengths to the fore and understand and act on your weaknesses. Depending on the circumstances you may want to highlight to staff where you’re making efforts with your own skills.

 

2/ Show Consistency

Your consistency affects the feelings and behaviour of staff. This includes consistency across all areas. From your emotional state - if you come to work in a bad mood one-day and a happy mood the next, it causes stress. Also in the way you treat people - if you show favouritism to one person over others, people will resent you.

 

3/ Define Your Goals

In every area of human activity there are goals that guide our behaviour and channel our energies. From a romantic goal like being determined to ask someone out, to a sporting goal and being determined your team wins the cup. On the whole people thrive when they know there's an end-point to what they're doing. A goal gives a purpose to one's work. Whether as a team, or with individual staff, make sure you clearly define the goals to be met. Also give clear evaluation as-and-when the goals are achieved and redefined.

 

4/ Positivity Always Beats Negativity

Yes, people need their socks pulled up and need to know when they've done something incorrectly or haven't pulled their weight. However done positively you can exact real change in their behaviour. Begin any conversation about something that’s gone wrong with a positive note. Highlight an example of their work that's gone well. Then ask them for a comparison to the piece of work that's gone wrong. Making constructive, positive comparisons gets real results.

 

5/ Be Genuine

Your employees will see through you if you’re a fraud. If you pretend everything's hunky-dory when they know the company has problems it creates anxiety. They want you to be genuine and tell it like is BUT do so with tact and consideration. If you've bad news to break then bear this in mind. Equally if you want to give praise to an employee make sure it's genuine - people see through false compliments.

 

6/ Continual Assessment

People like to know where they stand. They want to explore whether their skills have come along and whether there are any sticking points developing in their career. It's no good being so busy you can’t touch base on a regular basis - depending on your business every fortnight, month or quarter, have one-to-ones with each of your staff. You may only allocate 10 minutes but keep focused on their work and how it's developing.

 

7/ Role Model

Your staff will take their cue for how to act and behave from your behaviour. If you tend to backstab and gossip you’ll generate an entire office that does so too. Never underestimate your power as a role model for others to follow.

 

8/ Innovation And Creativity

Even if you work in the most staid and conservative environment, say, accountancy, the human mind thrives with innovation and creativity. Always encourage suggestions to working practices no matter how "blue-sky thinking" they are. Have occasional brainstorming events to generate ideas and if possible encourage "job swaps" for-the-day so staff members understand each other's roles.

 

9/ Assert Yourself

With your staff feeling creative, their goals defined, and they’re getting good feedback, things should be ticking over smoothly. Right? Wrong! Despite all your good strategies human nature being what it is, there’ll always be conflicts or problems. It's your job to assert yourself over any hot spots and guide staff in the right direction. Be clear about what needs to be done, then have no fear over asserting yourself. Inside you may long to be “popular” and fear that asserting yourself jeopardises that but staff will respect you for taking the lead.

 

10/ Company Versus Private Time

A thorny issue is how to reward a team that’s done well. Many companies take the view that a dinner out or Saturday “fun day” courtesy of the company is a good "thank you". However many employees feel they give most of their waking life to the company and would rather have any such reward during office time, e.g., a mid-week outing. Always respect your employees' private time - even when they’re being treated to a reward - and they'll give more on company time.

 

Published in The Express Newspaper

 

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