One way or another, business is all about Managing People.
True, leadership is another part of it, but one way or another, you’re going to have to be great with people in your business or organisation to be a success.
Lee Iacocca – former CEO Chrysler
Top Ten Things About Managing People
To get the best results you have to be very good at Managing People…and it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are the secrets of the very best managers:-
The best at Managing People…
They focus on getting their people to deliver the key activities and don’t attempt do too much themselves. The best managers delegate widely, using the ethic ‘Ask for forgiveness, not for permission‘ to free their people from blame or wrongdoing.
- Build the Best Teams
Leveraging the exceptional talents of all the people around them, managers develop and utilise capability fully – and glue it together.
- Focus on Delivery
Managers are there to deliver the day to day tactical results the business or organisation needs. Here, there is little space for strategy or vision as such, but those great at Managing People will keep a reference point there. The Manager’s defined goal is measurable results.
- Build Relationships
As it’s all about people, great managers build relationships easily and make it a priority, day-in-day out. They spend a lot of time with and listening to, their people.
- Accept Feedback
Actually, they don’t just accept it, they suck feedback in – they use their excellent listening skills to seek out feedback all the time – in every interaction.
- Develop Others
Grasping the opportunities, the best managers quickly link them to those who can make progress in their own development – and in line with ongoing Succession Planning, prepare for the future well in advance.
- Are Accountable
They are very clear that they are ‘where the buck stops’. No blame elsewhere, not upwards deflection of decisions; no ‘someone else’s fault’. They are where the action is and they accept it. It’s down to them.
- Set Standards
To ensure that everyone is clear, great managers have simple and clear standards throughout their area of operation – ideally created in collaboration with their people
- Are Determined
Focusing entirely on value-creation, they stick to plans, policies and change programmes like glue. They have a skill to know and deliver what is right, without veering from their Vision.
- Can Be Trusted
The best managers are ethically sound, fair and honest. They make promises only when they know they can deliver. Everyone is treated equally and their own behaviour models fairness and transparency.
Ten Ways to be Better at Managing People
- Talk to Your People
Spend time with your people, talk with them and listen to what they say. Really hearing them is a better description – be seen to be doing so.
- Build Rapport
Find out what’s important to your people as individuals – it might be their dog! But pay attention to that and ask them about it from time to time. Nothing builds relationships better.
- Is it Value-Creating?
When making decisions, run it by this little question you carry in your head (you do, don’t you?). Is the management decision I’m about to make, going to create value for this business or organisation?
- Have Fun!
This can’t be forced, but there are enough opportunities to laugh within businesses. Let it happen, share in it and be a joining in and fun person – it will be worth it!
- Coach and Support
Being there to catch people when they fall will make you a great manager. People like to be able to take risks with a safety net – so be their net – ask not ‘What went wrong,’ more ‘What did you learn for next time?’
- Join In
And when the going gets tough, be there to work alongside your people – don’t hide in your office when the chips are down. Make a judgement call and spend time getting your hands dirty.
- Be Consistent
People who work with you want you to succeed and to help you with that, they need to know what you want; how you will react. So try to stick with the way you are and people will be much more comfortable with you.
- Honour People
Recognising great effort and success in your people is not a complicated thing, but, surprisingly it often gets missed. People love to be told ‘Well Done!’ – so tell them…and there is nothing more motivating than someone saying a genuine ‘Thank you’.
- Stand Back
Be prepared to let them get on with it. Keep watch on the bigger picture. What are we really trying to do here? How does every decision we make, fit in with our overall objectives?
- Be Open
By asking for help when you need it and sharing your concerns and fears, as well as your hopes and dreams, for your organisation, you will tap into a rich vein of emotion which will pull your people together with you.
5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!
- Spend time having easy conversations with your people today. Ask them lots of open questions about anything – follow their lead. It’s OK – you don’t have to talk business all the time.
- Ask as many people as you can (it may take more than a day!), how you are doing. What can you do to make things work better? What is getting in their way? Follow-up, even if you can’t solve it – tell them why later – not right away as it tends to dismiss them.
- Be your customer or client for a day – experience their experience. Share the activity with your key people and use the information to realise how you are doing as a business. Is it good enough? Is it really good enough?
- Notice people’s contribution much more and say Thank you a lot more often, when a job is done well. Even say a genuine Thank you when it’s not something special – just for doing their job, which is often overlooked.
- Let things go a bit – if you tend to be on the fussy, pedantic side, STOP. For a day, then a week. See what falls off a cliff – it will probably be nothing at all. Your people will love you for it. Think what your fussiness feels like for them – ask them even!
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