vendredi 11 septembre 2009

Learning about managing people

This article was in our company newsletter and I want to remember these ideas for when (if) I ever become a manager.

Top 10 rules for managing people


It's all about the employees

You work for them, not the other way around. Your job is to ensure that your employees have everything they need to do their jobs, including training and resources. Always promote their successes to management and give them credit for their ideas and hard work. It's your job to provide advice and guidance to them and to make them look great. This always comes back to you in the end. If they look good, you will look good.

Provide them with regular feedback and rewards

You do not have to wait until performance evaluation time to let your team know how you think things are going. Regular feedback is important. Employees like to know where they stand. If you think they are doing poorly or that their work is awesome, tell them now. And, let your boss know what a great job they are doing, too.

Keep regular tabs on your employees

Check in on them on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Ask for regular updates on the status of jobs. Try not to assume that everything is running smoothly even if they tell you it is. Some employees will tell you that they are experiencing difficulties straight out; others will take a couple of weeks to tell you. Some employees are just afraid to tell you that things are not going well or that they are late with a project. Rely on your instincts. If you have a feeling that something is up, you are probably right.

Treat everyone the same, yet differently

Supervisors must treat everyone fairly, while respecting individuality. I have managed Gen-Ys, Gen-Xers, low-end boomers and high-end boomers. There is a ton of research out there that tells us how to manage these different generations. That's fine, but in my experience, people are more complex than that. Realize that employees are human beings with a mixture of different interests and strengths. Play to people's strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

Ours is a very successful group because we each play off of each other’s differences. It's the true meaning of diversity.

Never abuse authority

Many employees are afraid of what the boss thinks of them. This is usually a leftover reflex from a previous supervisor who did a poor job at managing his or her staff. It may take a while for you to establish a trusting relationship with each of your employees, but it will come. Remember that you are in a position of authority, and that you must not abuse that authority. Never threaten, raise your voice or use intimidating tactics. You are their boss, not their superior.

Always be honest

Never lie to an employee or talk badly about one employee to another employee. Invariably, you will occasionally slip up and put your foot in your mouth. You are not perfect. Apologize and move on. You are human, and your employees will recognize that and appreciate it.

Manage strengths and interests

No one person is good at everything. Not every employee is interested in every task or project. Capitalizing on each individual employee’s diverse work interests and talents engages them in the work and results in higher-quality end-products. While mundane administrative tasks are a necessary part of all our jobs, avoid making them the primary measure of a project’s success. Make sure employees are constantly learning, growing and being challenged.

Personally, I would rather have an employee who is a creative genius than a superstar at filling out forms.

You are being judged…constantly

Be aware that your employees are constantly observing you. Your words, body language and interactions with others are all being judged by your team. Even if your bad mood has nothing to do with work, your staff will think it does. Be conscious of this. If you remain calm, your employees will respond in kind. Running around like a maniac will only freak them out.

If you are going through a rough patch, then take some personal leave or vacation to ensure that you do not bring personal tensions or stresses into the workplace. We are lucky enough to work for an organization that provides great benefits and support programs (such as flextime and the Employee Assistance Program), so be sure to take advantage of these resources.

Trust and believe in your employees

Give them big projects to work on. Delegate important tasks to them. Introduce them to the movers and shakers in the organization. Challenge them. Let them come up with solutions and develop plans. That's how they learn, that's how they grow.

Be a coach

Push your staff to meet their full potential. As a boss, your job is to use your knowledge and experience to help employees reach their goals. Do whatever you can do to help that process. Offer to mentor them or suggest training and learning opportunities. Always be available. If an employee is in your office 50 times a day asking questions, then so be it. It's your job to be available to them.

Have fun

My team works hard—really hard. We are a very productive bunch, but, we also laugh a lot. It's important not to take small things too seriously or let ‘dramas’ take over a project. Know that there are times when a little fun can be motivating to your team. Lead by example and enjoy your work together.

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