Over the years, I have learned some important things to do and not to do. Managing people has been a learning experience. When I was a new manager, almost every situation I encountered was new. I stumbled through them sometimes, but I can safely say, I learned something from each situation. Some of my managers were good sources of my experiences. Some of them offered the “don’t do this” variety, but those are key lessons to take with me. So, what are the major things I have learned in all these years of managing people? What have I shared with other managers? I have written on almost all of them (see hyperlinks). Here are the things that I have in my toolbox of managing people:
- Your job is to remove roadblocks for your staff. This is one key that many managers forget. What do you really offer your staff that they can not get on their own? Roadblock remover! Sometimes the manager gets in the way. If that is true, get moving.
- Set expectations. Giving your staff the opportunity to help set expectations is very powerful. Giving them the end point, gives them vision into what needs to be done. Don’t tell them how to do it. See the first one…
- Empower them. I know this one is a lot of lip service. Truly empower them is giving them the authority, confidence and the space to get the job done. Sounds easy… Make it happen, you will be rewarded more from your staff with this one.
- Never give someone a task, you wouldn’t do. Let’s face it sometimes there are crappy tasks that need to be done.. Don’t be afraid to say that, “I know this is a crappy task. I am sorry, but I really need you to get it done.” Helps..
- Problems occur, address them ASAP. In a previous post, I wrote about conflict. Well, those problems don’t usually go away. Stand up and acknowledge there is a problem. Respectfully address it.
- Praise in public. Critique in private. If you must critique, make sure that it is about the professional part of the job. Stay away from the personal. Everything must tie to what is happening back on the job. Your behavior in this situation caused this to be missed, that to slipped or whatever happened in their job. Setting the stage is critical.
- Let them speak (or vent). Give them the opportunity to let of some steam if necessary. Listen, you could hear something that is going on, that you were unaware of. Too many times, I have heard a managers voice and not my own. Those don’t work well.
- Respect their time. I had a manager that was late to everything. His time management was terrible. For me, I felt that my time was not important. My time and their time is important!
- Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” I don’t know everything.. The worse thing you could do is make something up. A simple, “I don’t know, but let me find out” works best.
- No surprises. Don’t blindside your staff members. A performance appraisal should not be the first time someone hears there is a problem. You should be communicating all the time. Here is more deeper thoughts in this area.
- Never micromanage. Again, another past post of mine. For me, micromanaging is the worst behavior any manager can do. Give your people room to work!
- Finding the “right” people to work in your team. Your team is key to your success. Finding the right people to work together is critical. Sometimes the person with the most experience is not the best fit for the job
- Mistakes happen, just not the same mistake over and over. No one is perfect, so when a mistake happens, learn from it and don’t let it happen again. I always use the first one is on me… Have a positive outlook and control
- Blame is useless. I have had managers that are looking for the “who” to blame. I would rather find out what happened and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. See the above one.
- You set the example of your staff to follow. Your staff is a mirror of yourself. You don’t like what you see, then you change.
- You are nothing without them. It is a funny thing, when you go on vacation or are out sick, the work gets done… If you staff is all out on vacation or sick – nothing gets done.
There probably are more to add.. Everyday as a manager is a learning experience. Take this list, use what you want and add some of your own. Either way, your staff will appreciate it.