As with any role of responsibility or authority, management in business relies on the methodology employed by the man or woman in charge. It lives and dies on how a manager acts, and while some go too far, others don’t go far enough.
There’s a fine line between treating an employee as a person and treating them like a means to an end. One will get a manager respect, and the other might seem them in front of a tribunal or dismissed by the big boss. Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re managing employees remotely, managing a set of managers or have just been hired or promoted to manage a team – you’ve got to manage the people underneath you in an effective manner. There are many ways you can go about this and sometimes the most natural way is the easiest. If you try too hard at management, you’ll find yourself floundering, and that won’t inspire any confidence in your methods at all and could lead to you reacting harshly to certain events or even provocations. Moving up to a leadership position can be hard and there will be times that you might think you’re lying to yourself about your abilities – but don’t worry!
The first issue with management is how your abilities change and transform, especially so if you are promoted into a position of leadership. Your day to day role will transform, and everything will be a bit different. The biggest obstacle here is finding out how your skills and experience that have been picked up prior to your new role, are going to help you get along now. One of the biggest issues is that you are attached to the areas you are strong in and thus more comfortable in, but a leadership role will change the expectations of you and your strengths. For this reason, it is key to identify not only your skills and strengths but areas in which you can improve to become the best manager you can be.
It is so crucial to be yourself in management. Don’t try to copy or emulate someone else. You were hired because you were you, not the previous boss. Instead, look to emulate aspects of behavior that you have recognized to have worked for you and disregard managerial behaviors that have upset you in the past. This is the foundation for a solid structure in management. Of course, don’t change things up to often and don’t surprise your staff with changes in behavior. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them and identify ways that you can help them achieve their goals. Don’t pull the rug from under their feet. Set your bar and stick to it.
Managers have access to more information than the team that works for them. You’ll have stats, employee performance data and likely financial information available to hand. As a leader, this information serves a critical purpose – to ensure your team is informed and on the ball when it comes to the company at large. Transparency is vitally important to managers and if this is clearly held back and that behavior is noticed by employees, it can lead to a breakdown in relationships and a lack of trust. Managers that communicate succeed and managers that can use transparency and information to help their team’s efficiency will see a lot more success than managers who are uncommunicative in regards to the information held by them.
Your team is there for a reason and it’s of importance that you communicate with them. A big mistake to make is to avoid creating relationships with your team and work colleagues. It isn’t a sign of superiority to lock your office and close yourself off from the world. It’s a sign that you might be insecure in your role. Focusing on production and efficiency might lead to bad team morale if you’re incapable of speaking to your employees. If you are always concerned with the big picture, you might miss a lot of what is going on right in front of you. Focusing on productivity is a good idea, but only when you know that your team trusts you and wants to work for you. You start that off by building positive relationships with them. Build trust, build relationships, communicate and avoid micromanaging and if you are entering a new environment, don’t try to disrupt it.
Building team morale and relationships is incredibly easy – you simply need to be friendly. Establish an open-door policy with your employees to ensure that they can come to you with all manner of issues and don’t be scared to invite people to talk to you.If you can get to know your employees and find out how the feel not just at work and in the career, but how they are coping in their personal lives, you’ll easily build rapport that can’t be bought. Organizing team events and dinners is a good way to boost the entire group and consistent one-to-one meetings to check in with the team members will also help. Managers like to make a big sound when a job is done badly, but they don’t recognize a job done well. Giving credit where credit is due can help create a success driven culture in your team so take the time to build out recognition in the team. Be creative here – every single person in your team offers something, so reward their talents. While building a team relationship is key, ensure that not only your team, but your workplace offers a safe and secure environment for people from all walks of life. Sexism, racism, ableism and any other discriminatory actions have no place in the workplace, especially so in the team that you manage. If this behavior arises, it needs to be stamped out with force and discipline as any tribunal that arises from workplace discrimination will note you down as either incompetent or someone that was involved in this behavior if you fail to react to complaints. A good team rapport is needed, but the office isn’t a bar and everyone deserves an equal amount of respect in the workplace.
As mentioned earlier, consistency is key in the workplace and that goes for your role as a manager. This is especially the case for any disciplinary methods or dismissal procedures that you must take. Set a bar (in line with the law and company policy and stick to it) showing a lack of consistency can get you into some serious trouble while being consistent can be a positive thing in the event of a court case. Employment law is rightly offering employees more reasons than ever before to take umbrage with the actions of their employer, so stick to the rules. It’s important to consult with HR before actions take place and it is even more important to utilize an HR team that is grounded in legal aspects like Ellis Whittam for instance. Disciplinary methods and dismissal procedures require you to follow the law, so in the case that either of these are used, ensure that you have documentation, law, policy and reason behind your actions.
Managing a team of any size is hard work and no-one said it was going to be easy, but you can certainly make it a lot harder for yourself by not following procedures and policy, or by being someone you aren’t. Leadership comes from within, so employ good natural methods to succeed in business management at all times.