Assigning work to others and telling them what to do is not the same as effectively managing them. Rather, managing others requires a set of people skills that, when combined with a strong sense of integrity and professionalism, allows you to work through other people to accomplish important objectives.
As a manager you must encourage performance through motivation and feedback and also hold people accountable.
While this topic can be extremely comprehensive and notoriously difficult to master, we’ve narrowed success in this area down to six key domains of mastery – based on our years of successful client engagements – that if achieved, lead to a consistent and repeatable process for managing others successfully.
We also follow each of the six domains with a link for further reading on that domain that will expand and enhance your ability to manage others.
Domain #1: Demonstrate Strength of Character
There is simply no way around it: a manager must possess a sense of personal responsibility and accountability.Personal strength of character is one of the most important competencies and traits of successful management.
Developing your own personal code of conduct and adhering to it at all times is a very important skill to possess. Doing so will inspire and motivate others to do their personal best and is the first step in mastering management of others.
Remember: your peers and subordinates are always watching what you do and what you say. For example, demonstrating the following behaviors is recommended:
- Maintain integrity and be above reproach in all you do
- Always keep your word
- Do not gossip or say things about people that you would not say to them directly
- Praise in public, criticize in private
- Admit your mistakes and be accountable for your actions
For more on this topic please read: As A Leader, Political Savvy Is Not About Being Political
Domain #2: Develop and Share Your Expertise
The best managers continually expand their knowledge and grow their skillset so that they increase their contribution to the organization.
In turn, they share this knowledge and expertise with peers and subordinates to help them move the business forward. To these points we have found that to be an effective leader, you should do the following:
- Take the time to become thoroughly knowledgeable about your organization and the business it is in. Do this by attending briefings and presentations by others in the company and by reading information published by your organization.
Tip: If it’s a large organization, using Google Alerts makes this task easier then ever!
- Stay current with new technologies
- Share your knowledge and expertise with others in ways that will help everyone achieve their business objectives
For more on this topic please read:Understanding Your Leadership Identity
Domain #3: Build Your Team
Effective teams begin by selecting/hiring competent people.
|Traits of an Effective Leader|
|1. Behaves with personal integrity and professionalism2. Displays a positive, encouraging attitude and work ethic3. Provides proper guidance through structure and organization
4. Stays current and shares this new knowledge with others
5. Explains actions and decisions transparently
6. Listens to input of subordinates and encourages their involvement
7. Disciplines poor performance while rewarding excellent performance
8. Is consistent and fair with all subordinates and peers
9. Provides personal and outside coaching help to develop top talent
As a manager, take your responsibility for hiring motivated and competent people very seriously. Otherwise you will weaken the overall team.
If you have not done so, take a course, read a book, and use validated selection tools like those provided by rd&partners, to make your job easier. In short, make a commitment to follow these best practices no matter how busy you are:
- Foster a sense of community: Encourage people to help each other. Talk in terms of “we.” Doing things together like going for lunch can also contribute to a sense of team.
- Empower people: The old model of a command-and-control manager is “old school” and just doesn’t work. In today’s workplace, a more successful model is to share information, prepare people well, then turn responsibility over to them.
- Educate, train and equip people to be effective in their jobs: Even if you work in a large organization with a training department, it is your responsibility to ensure that your subordinates are properly equipped. Often if you depend on HR you’re a day late and a dollar short!
- Set a good example: By your own actions and attitude, set a positive and optimistic tone in your workgroup. Be willing to set an example to achieve objectives.
For more information on building an effective team please read: Are Your Individual Performers Prepared To Work As A Team?
Domain #4: Encourage Open Communication
Effective leaders clearly articulate their expectations for the group and for each member of the group.
They encourage people to ask for clarification when they are uncertain. In addition they work hard to:
- Keep people informed: Communicate openly and honestly about upcoming events, trends, or changes that will impact the workgroup or organization. Clearly if you do not know the answer to something, say so, then try to find the answer. Do not allow rumors or gossip to be the source of information for your workgroup.
- Foster an environment where people feel free to share ideas: This may be as simple as taking time to listen when your associates make suggestions or creating formal mechanisms such as suggestion programs or brainstorming sessions. Remember, a quick dismissal of an idea or excessive criticism may discourage future suggestions and creativity.
- Be available: Maintain an open-door policy, but do not expect people to seek you out. Make a point to interact with each of your people on a regular basis. This is what effective leaders do.
For more information on how to communicate effectively please listen to our special Leadership Leverage podcast: Woo: A Secret Ingredient To Effective Leadership
Domain #5: Plan and Organize (Daily)
Each day consider all that must be accomplished, the various deadlines or timeframes to be met, and the work steps required.
Prioritize the work by importance and deadline and by consideration of critical tasks that must be accomplished before other tasks can begin. In addition ensure you:
- Establish task and work-step schedules and deadlines. Using Project Management tools is an excellent way to track & steer your efforts and most importantly your results.
- Delegate work sensibly, considering the capabilities of each of the members of your group. Delegate for development, not just tasks.
See our article on delegation to learn How To Deal With The Discomfort Of Delegation
Domain #6: Challenge and Develop Others
Effective leaders set high expectations for their people.
If you expect mediocre performance that is what you will get! To ensure you do this well it is imperative that you:
- Know your people: Learn their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, and what they wish to achieve. To the extent that you can, take this information into account when assigning work or special projects.
- Recognize excellent performance: Make a point of saying someone has done good work when they have, and make some of this praise public. Consistently superior performance should be rewarded with acknowledgement, pay raises, promotions, etc.
- Give actionable feedback: When a subordinate’s job performance falls below expectations, give clear, unambiguous feedback and improvement guidance. Give feedback in private and with tact, but do not avoid this responsibility, and make sure you also do it early and regularly (if necessary) – don’t wait for annual performance reviews.
- Coach others to grow: As a manager, you have a responsibility to help your subordinates grow and develop.
Consider this a long-term investment in the future success of your group. In fact, providing executive coaching services to your top talent is a best-in-class practice. Go here to learn more about stakeholder centered coaching that specifically facilitates this process.
Obviously, effectively managing others is not an easy task.
You must develop skills in many areas in order to be successful.
The effective leaders we know, have coached and that are the most successful are those who understand that management is all about people.
Those individuals work hard at being good leaders and keep honing their skills over time and never remain stagnant.
Do not be discouraged if you cannot master all these skills simultaneously – these are skills that take a moment to learn intellectually, but a lifetime to master.