I have been managing people in various capacities for three decades and I feel very fortunate to have worked with amazing people everywhere I have worked. As a younger manger, I experienced some stressful situations but thanks to wonderful mentors and great role models, I have been able to grow my management skills. Over the years, I have listened to hundreds of people who have shared their experiences about why they have left their jobs. The most common ones which I have heard are:
“I felt underappreciated and undervalued.”
“I felt that I was not being useful any more.”
“I do not like my manager.”
“My supervisor is not nice.”
I am still work in progress but here are a few things which I have learnt over the years and which I also practice as a manager.
- Take time to understand your own personality and what motivates and inspires you to succeed.
I am a big picture person. My personality type is that of a visionary. As a result, I know that wherever I work, I need to know what the big picture is, so that I can connect with it. If there is no vision, then I know that I will start to engage in a conversation about having a vision. Secondly, I love people. I love to see them succeed and grow. My personality is such that when someone joins my team, I immediately start to think of how I can support this person to be the best person he/she can be. Thirdly, I love inspiration and find ways to inspire others.
- Be sure to recruit the right person for the right job.
We are all unique and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Since I know that I am a visionary, when I recruit, I know that I need people who are analytical and who are also high producers. In this way, I work with others who can complement my skills and I can also complement their skills. A good team comprises of individuals who are multi-skilled. Over the last two years, I have used a very simple personality test to get a basic understanding of the individuals who are working with me. The results of their personality test gives me an opportunity to understand their natural strengths and weaknesses. I use these results to support them to gain new skills, experience and knowledge.
- Praise and reward staff when they contribute to the team or simply when they fulfill their tasks.
Words like, ‘I am proud of you.’; ‘Well done!’; ‘Great job,’ are great mood boosters. Human beings love to feel appreciated and valued. When others feel that you hold them in high esteem, they work with love and joy. Happy people create a healthy work environment.
4. Hold regular team meetings and let staff take turns to chair meetings and add their own special flair to the meeting. My current team always surprises me. Each of us take a turn at chairing our team meetings. I am always so delighted when they introduce new props or bring snacks or create a special theme or icebreaker.
5. Empower them with the skills, knowledge and insights to help them succeed at their jobs and even to be well equipped at other great opportunities. Let them take full responsibility for the tasks which they have been assigned to. Allow them to make mistakes. Provide learning opportunities. Don’t expect them to do it the way that you do it. Provide opportunities to talk about the end result but give them time to work out their own processes. Different personalities work things out differently.
6. Involve your entire team in the planning process.By nature, we like to know what is coming up. That is why we look forward to birthdays and celebrations! Most human beings like to have a sense of what to expect in the short to medium term
7. Inform them of changes as soon as you know that there are changes coming up. Generally, human beings don’t like change. If your team is going through a change, be sure to get everyone around the table to talk about it, listen to their views, provide rational explanations for the changes and engage in processes that helps everyone to take ownership of the change process. If team members are part of the change process, it is likely that they will support you and embrace the changes.
Here are some things that can demotivate staff and slow productivity:
- Don’t ever talk down to your staff.
- Don’t ever make another human being feel smaller than you, regardless of your position.
- Don’t ever shout and scream at your staff. If you do these things, the damage is irreparable.
- Don’t hold a bad intention for anyone on your team. Bad intentions can manifest some really awful things.
- Don’t criticize your staff at their backs or in front of them. This makes people very defensive and then they withdraw.
Live your future now… pay attention to how you treat your staff or your coworkers.