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New Year’s resolutions for managers
Resolutions for managers
Christmas is almost upon us and soon I will have moved onto planning New Year’s Eve celebrations. Next its considering resolutions for the 2014, e.g. less chocolate, more exercise, more reading, less TV etc. But what about some resolutions for myself in my job. Less telling, more asking, more personal effectiveness in less time – these all sound great what can I do to focus on delivering them? Below are some ideas I have researched for resolutions to be a better manager in 2013. There is nothing new here, I’ve seen these before, but I thought that they might be useful to consider again as I draw up my list!
Ask more than tell
Consider how you liked to be “managed” by your manager. What works better, a direct “tell” approach or a more open “ask” conversation in which you discuss and consider what needs to be done. Now think about how you are with your team? As managers we need to ensure our staff are engaged and motivated to do their best to deliver their jobs. So when you can, spend the time discussing their deliverables with them and start to develop a deeper more constructive relationship with them.
Walk the talk
How many times have we all heard this? I’ve even heard it from managers in their offices who rarely if ever visit their team! This alignment between message and actions is so important. As well as hearing what we say and reading documents or emails about what’s going on, our staff also take notice of what we do. So if the company is on a major cost driving event, are you doing everything you can do to deliver this and to align with this focus? Companies frequently talk about staying close to the customer. What are you doing yourself about staying close to your business’s customers and to your front-line staff who are with customers day in day out? Consider your businesses goals, the tone and culture that you desire and make sure you are demonstrating behaviours and values that are aligned.
Lead by example
Another one that is used frequently. It does not just refer to senior leaders in the organisation, it applies to us all. So some small examples of what you can do – start to leave on time, arrange your diary so that you can keep your team and your 121 meetings intact, attend training and bring something you have learned back to the team, ask for feedback, if the organisation is trying out something new, be one of the first to try it (360 feedback, coaching, online training). If you think change is required, be the change, lead the change. When you team see you putting yourself out there, they will be inspired to do the same.
As I have discussed before in a previous blog, be balanced with your feedback. Consider the capacity of the individual you are feeding back to. Be ready to give both positive and constructive feedback with real data-based examples. Balance towards the positive, as research shows that we all hear and focus on the bad stuff. And do this as close to the event as possible. To encourage our teams to deliver great performance and to flourish (in the words of Maureen Gaffney) we need to focus on the good stuff too. We’ve all heard of the feedback sandwich; don’t follow it literally, it may come across as superficial, overly-processed. Just remember to be balanced (in the direction of positive if possible)!
Know yourself better
I attended a leadership programme a number of years ago where the main focus on the development was me, myself and I! How I was at work, how I looked after myself to do my work, how I worked, how I managed my team, what are my “buttons”, what makes me tick etc. Getting to know yourself is really important when it comes to managing other people, especially those that are different to you. Consider how you learn, communicate, deal with stressful situations? How can you harness your natural style to better manage your team? What other styles and techniques do you need to develop? How can you build in a “self-awareness” signal in work to you can maximise your potential and perform to your very best. A good place to start getting feedback if you have not done so previously!
This applies to your own progress as well as that of your team. When you are managing a team of people it’s critical to keep up to date in terms of their performance and achievements as well as with what is going on for them with their own development (and obviously being aware of what’s happening in their personal lives!). Work out how best to do this – tracking document, diary, smart-phone – and do it regularly. You can free up mind-space to focus on important things knowing you have a record of what’s happening both with you and your teams. I hope this gives you some food for thought when considering resolutions for working with your teams next year. Our roles as managers are getting more complex. We are looking after an organisations greatest resource, its people. It’s in our hands to ensure they are motivated, focused, valued and energised.