The most important and difficult aspect of a manager’s job is to manage people. To be an effective leader you must lead, motivate, inspire and encourage your team. If you fail to manage your people well, it won’t be long before they (or possibly you) will be looking for new employment.
Your job as a manager is to get things done. However, it also means getting things done through others. The following tips can help you successfully manage people and inspire them to become a valuable asset to your organization.
1. Don’t give orders. Many people believe that the way to manage people is to tell them what to do. They are wrong. Instead of telling people what to do; you need to tell them what you want done. When you tell people what to do, you take away their opportunity to figure out the best way to do the task. When you tell them what you want done, you provide them with the opportunity to use their creative skills and encourage innovative thinking. Clearly tell the employee want you want done, than let them figure out how to do it. It is a better solution for both of you.
2. Share your vision. Make sure everyone on your team know and have access to the company’s overall mission, vision, and strategic plans. When people feel they are part of a team and their position in the company is valuable, they take more pride in their work and perform more efficiently.
3. Trust people. While many managers live by the rule that their team members must “earn” their trust; effective managers trust their people from the beginning. Let your employees know that you trust them to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices in the best interest of the company. You may be surprised at the results.
4. Provide information. Make certain that you provide your employees with all of the information they need to make informed decisions. Oftentimes managers provide little to no guidance and then scratch their heads wondering why the employee was unable to perform. Effective communication is just as important as properly functioning equipment, so be clear in your requests and expectations.
5. Communicate and listen. Encourage employees to communicate by asking questions and listening to the answers. Understand other people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Listen to their concerns without judging or making them feel small by proving them wrong. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them. When an employee seeks your assistance with a problem, ask “what do you think should be done to solve this problem?”, than act as a sounding board to help them come up with the solution.
6. Reward and recognize. The basic needs of employees must be met before they put forth that extra effort. When employees feel under-compensated and under-appreciated, they won’t perform at their peak. A pat on the back and the words “job well done” will go a long way when it comes to employee performance. A timely pay raise can work wonders as well.
7. Delegate responsibilities and opportunities. While it’s easy to delegate the drudge work, effective managers understand the importance of delegating some of the fun stuff, too. Allow employees to take on new projects and be involved in decision-making. The employee will grow and develop new skills and your plate will be less full.
8. Solve problems. When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the system that caused the people to fail; not what is wrong with the people. Instead of spending your time seeking out and punishing employees, look for ways to fix the system. Using this method, you’ll generally get to the root of the problem more quickly and avoid ruffling feathers that can lead to discontented and disgruntled employees.
9. Provide frequent feedback. Communication is the key in any relationship. Provide frequent feedback to let employees know how they are doing. Sometimes, feedback will be used to reward and recognize an employee’s performance. Other times, you’ll need to provide constructive feedback to help employees continue to develop their knowledge and skills.
10. Appreciate and respect each person. As a leader, your most important goal should be to demonstrate your appreciation for each person’s unique value. How you feel about people is demonstrated through your actions, words, facial expression, and body language. Your value for the employee as a human being should never falter and always be visible.
These are the ten most important principles for managing people in a way that reinforces employees to accomplish goals and contribute to the organization. Using these management actions will enable your employees to soar.