Managing people can be a challenge. We all have our own management styles. I developed the management tips below by copying some great leaders, through management training, and 15 years of managing people.
What a Great Manager Should Be Doing
1) Hire Good People
Empower your people to use the strengths you hired them for and make changes when they want to grow.
2) Plan Ahead
Be proactive, not reactive, not putting out fires and running fire drills. If your department is constantly in a state of emergency, your people can't plan ahead because they have to drop everything to respond to the emergency. No process improvements will ever be made this way, so no real progress is achieved.
3) Open Door Policy
Let your employees come to you when they need or want to with whatever issues they have surrounding work. It is important for everyone, including the boss, to be able to raise their hand and say, I’m not good at that, can you please help or teach me? There shouldn't be penalties for honest disclosures of needed skill improvements. Part of being a good manager is developing your people.
4) Try to Not Solve Problems for Others
Help your people to come up with the appropriate solutions to problems themselves. Change is most effective when the person who will be implementing comes up with the solution. Also a more interesting process for the manager to learn to trust others and see their strengths.
5) Don't Dictate How Others Should Complete a Task
Instead describe clearly the desired end result and the issues that must be addressed and answer any questions and then let the individual decide how best to accomplish. It is okay to receive periodic updates on status and use that as an opportunity to help as needed. You cannot hold people accountable / responsible for results if you supervise their methods.
6) Servant Mentality
The Manager is there to help their subordinates do their job and be successful. That's what earns them the right to be the boss. Great managers know this. Poor managers think everyone is at their beck and call and they are the big enchilada.
7) Let Your People "Own" Things
Don't make anyone into your admin or anyone else's admin. If you do manage an admin, they need projects they can "own" and "be the boss of" without you putting your fingerprints all over it and taking credit.
8) Work / Life Balance
Workload should be manageable so that we can all have a life outside of work. I have worked my health into the ground to increase revenue with too few resources and it isn’t productive for anyone in the long run. I believe in working fairly long hours during the week, but never on the weekend. We work to support our lives, our lives shouldn't be only about our work. It isn’t sustainable to work weekends long-term.
9) Be Committed to a Pleasant Work Environment
We spend the majority of our time at work. It should be a pleasant place to be for everyone’s mental health and for optimal productivity as well.
10) Let Your Team Know You Are Driven to Increase Revenue
The hallmark of a great manager is actual results. Post this sign: "No excuses, Get it done." We aren't in business to keep people happy, we are in business for profitability. We treat our employees well because it does, in fact, bring us good results and they will go the extra mile to get it done. When we empower them, they are invested.
11) You Need Your Own Projects, So Do Your Employees
Make sure all team members, even Managers, have projects to be revenue contributors and have creative roles so they enjoy their work.
12) A Good Way to Give Your People Goals is from the Top-Down
In example, the VP Marketing or CMO has a lead-generation goal, then each of his or her people have pieces of that goal that they will deliver. Their budgets should be tied to a forecast of how they will achieve that goal in the coming months, quarters, and fiscal year. Periodic checks to see how forecast is matching up with actual results will allow you to shift methodologies to actually hit your numbers.
Tips for Cross-Matrix Managing
Cross-matrix managing can be a little trickier because you don’t have the person’s salary, bonus, or stock options to reward them with. The tips below are some good advice on getting people to work effectively whether they report to you or not.
1) Never Take Credit for Other People's Work
Always publically acknowledge people's work as much as possible. In fact, make a big deal out of it when they do something for you and give them credit in front of other people. They will always make your work a priority when they have many requests of their time.
2) Discuss New Assignments in Person
Get people's buy-in for new projects and let them ask questions. Explain the big picture. Don't just tell them you are dropping something else on their plate; Explain why it is important for the company and for their own personal success.
3) Document New Assignments with Email or Project Planning Software
Email or use project planning software to outline what resources agreed to do, with the date they agreed to have it done. Track status updates in meetings using project planning software. In a less formal arrangement, email can work in the same way. That way, if it doesn't get done, you can forward the existing email to them again at the target date as a friendly reminder of what needs to be done, and when they agreed to do it. Stop by to find out what the obstacles are to them getting it done and remove those obstacles by perhaps asking their boss to prioritize the project or take something else off their plate.
4) Define the Meeting Agenda
When you ask for a meeting with anyone, inside or outside of the company, give them a clear agenda of why you want to meet, so they know what you want and can be prepared. Keep meetings as brief as possible. They may not want to meet if they know what you want, but if not, they will let you know who the appropriate person to meet with would be. Never pull the old bait and switch for a meeting, such as, "let's meet to catch up" and switch to: "Now I'm pitching you my company's new product". Be up front with people, your reputation is at stake. It's a waste of everyone's time to ask for a meeting without an honest agenda.
5) People Need to Be Progressing to Be Happy
Help your employees to sharpen their skills once in a while. Give them something new to do. They will thank you and be more productive.
There you have it, management tips that will make you the best boss they ever had!
Behaviors Bosses Should Avoid:
1) Don't Think of Anyone Reporting to You As a Possible Romantic Interest
Your employees have to be nice to you. They have to return your calls. They have to meet you when you ask them to. It doesn't mean anything when they do. That is why there are sexual harassment laws. It causes problems when someone feels rejected or jealous; It causes unfair advantages. There are so many problems with this scenario, don't even go there.
2) Don't Go Ape Bananas When Your Employee Talks to Your Boss
It isn't a conspiracy to take your job when your employee works with or talks to your boss. It is common ground they are discussing. They have a right to get to know one another like everyone else in the office. If you are so insecure that you go crazy when your employee talks to your boss, you need to think about sharpening your skills so you can stop being so insecure.
You should never think of your employee as competition, their success should be your success. Just like it is unnatural for a parent to compete with their own kid. You are developing them, how can it work if you are competing with them?
3) Don't Micromanage Your Employees
I know this is getting redundant, but it can't be said enough. Nobody wants to be in a Dilbert cartoon with their boss standing over them yelling, "Point, Click! Point, Click!" If you need a project so you can be creative and contribute to bottom-line revenue, get your own. You should probably have quite a few, like everyone else in the company.
4) Don't Forget to Reward People Who Make Solid Contributions to the Bottom Line
Reward the people who make solid contributions to profitability, not just the people who flatter your ego. It's human nature to reward people that are pleasing to you, but as a Manager, it's your job to make the company successful. Rewarding your friends instead of solid contributors is bound to create mutiny, and it should, because you are messing with Everyone's income potential.
5) No Yelling
Putting pressure on people by yelling at them is unproductive and dysfunctional. It is better to remove the obstacles to success than yell at someone for not doing something right. Perhaps they are over worked, or you assigned the project to someone with the wrong skillset. Perhaps their ideas are different than yours, but there is something to be taken from their ideas as well. Yelling just means you are out of control, it doesn't make you right and it will make people leave when they can if it happens too often.
6) Don't Cross Professional Boundaries
It is never appropriate to use the position of authority to manipulate people in personal ways. We have all had issues to deal with in life. Great bosses choose to get help outside the workplace and deal with theirs in a professional manner.
Hope my list of management rules has helped you to formulate your own.
My goal is always to make the company successful so we can all share in the profits, to develop myself and others, and be the best boss my employees have ever had. It is equally important to me that we all enjoy our time at work since it is such a big part of life.
Laurie is Founding Director of Bay Area Inbound, an SF Bay Area Marketing Consulting Firm that specializes in creating demand generation and lead generation campaigns for tech companies. For a free online marketing evaluation and recommendations, please contact Laurie@BayAreaInbound.com or fill the form by clicking the call-to-action box below. Follow us at www.bayareainbound.com/blog or call 510-543-7593.