Being recognised as a great manager is something that anyone in that position aspires to.
However, to get there requires more than just possessing the right qualifications or the necessary years of experience within the organisation or business sector.
Take the Party Leaders and Candidates in the 2015 Elections, for example. They are all making a last-ditch grab for votes on the final day of campaigning before the polls open tomorrow. And look at how politicians are making use of interview opportunities with popular celebrities like Russell Brand and Joey Essex – whether you like these guys or not – to target the undecided voters, particularly the young – and get them on side by showing candidates as ‘in touch’ and ‘real.’
In much the same way, a new manager needs to know how to manage people so that they can up their game in the workplace as often the biggest roadblock on the way to becoming a really great manager, is learning how to become a great ‘people’ manager.
Here are 5 Top Tips for managing people that any supervisor or team leader can use to up their game:-
1. Managing people is a skill
You may not be a great supervisor but without strong ‘people’ management skills you’ll never become a great manager. On their own, the things that probably got you promoted to a manager will not be enough to survive on in the future. It takes more than just your core technical skills.
A new higher position doesn’t’t give you automatic permission to order people around and watch their every move – would you have appreciated that in your previous role? On the other hand, as human beings we are often conditioned to seek the approval of others, so many new manager experience internal conflict in trying to maintain harmony. Their desire to be approved interferes with their ability to manage and make confident decisions.
Your people are relying on you to be their manager, which means that generally you cannot be their best friend, much like a politician or a Prime Minister. Providing clear direction, making tough decisions and being respected by your people are the hallmarks of an effective manager.
Managing people well is a skill that can be learned and much will come through time and experience. So if you are not so good at it yet, just keen at it, the rewards you reap on a professional level will more than repay your extra effort!
2. Lead the way
The role of a manager requires you to be a role model and set yourself apart, be firm yet fair, treat people as equals, make tough decisions, and take responsibility for all your people’s actions, not just your own.
Your people will always learn what behaviour is acceptable by observing your actions.
Role models in the workplace are often characterized by credibility and have built trust by doing what they say they will do or being upfront if they are not able to keep their promise for any reason.
Over the years, you have probably worked for several different managers so examine what they did that motivated you – and just as importantly, what didn’t!
3. Make your people’s success a priority
It is a very simple concept: if your people do well and success, then so will you.
If a manager becomes known for being a great talent spotter – and talent recruiter – then they become an even more valuable asset to their organisation. A great manager discovers what their people’s individual goals are and then does everything they can to achieve these.
Your role now involves managing a team of people with different styles of working, decision making and communicating. While your team’s individual styles may not be how you approach work, if the results are good then you will need to learn to accept these differences.
Get to know your team, making an effort to spend time with them both as individuals and a group and this will help inform professional and personal growth plans, as well as establish the ground rules of team communication.
4. Your style v the last manager
One of the most common mistakes new manager make is trying to change who they are to fit a pre-determined ‘manager’ mould.
One of the main reasons you got the job is because of who you are, however possessing a management style that differs from your predecessor will mean your people will need to align with a different set of expectations and preferences.
You can’t expect your team to somehow magically know how (or if) these have changed unless you tell them, so encourage an open conversation around similarities and differences between styles.
Look at the series of televised leadership debates for example. Every candidate is different and if we have a new Prime Minister for example, that person will have a very different style to his or her predecessor.
People feel most values when they feel listened to, and when they are consulted about their work or new ideas and when they are trusted with important information.
If you don’t communicate regularly with your people – both formally and informally – as a team and with individuals, the unofficial grapevine will almost always be far worse than the truth.
Some managers like to demonstrate that they are in charge by keeping themselves distant or shut off from their team, only releasing selective information on an ad hoc basis. This is a big mistake!
You need to know what is happening ‘on the ground’ so that you can make good, timely decisions and build positive and open relationships with your people.
Remember that effective communication is two-way. This means asking and listening, just like a political candidate and not simply by telling and informing.
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