Management Techniques

A reader writes….

I’m new to my management role, and I’m a little scared!
Any suggestions, Anita?

Dear “Skittish Supervisor,”

First things first, don’t let your team KNOW you’re shaking in your boots! It’s okay to reveal some slight nerves — after all, you’re only human – and showing this side of you may even put your team at ease a little.  Then again, they want a leader, not a “Nervous Nelly.”  So buck up and remember, as a manager, creating a positive environment that fosters working relationships is probably one of your most important roles.  Your actions and leadership inspire, motivate, and influence the people that report to you.  It’s critical that your team feel valued and equally appreciated despite their varying roles or contributions to the “team.”

Here are some management techniques I’ve used in the past that were effective and encouraging:  

  • Communicate company goals – It’s key to have everyone on the same page with a big picture understanding of objectives.
  • Provide ongoing training – Stimulating your team and helping your direct reports enhance their skills is a good way to keep employees happy and motivated.  Cross training is also beneficial – it not only helps employees gain a better understanding and appreciation of one another, but it also helps when coverage is needed due to vacations, etc,
  • Encourage relationships – Work can be hectic.  Every so often, I used to invite my team out for an extended lunch… just to shoot the breeze and relax a little.  With a few good laughs and a hearty meal, we were all re-energized and ready to get back to business.
  • Define responsibilities – Nobody wants to be left in the dark.  Giving everyone a clear definition of their role takes away any mystery and increases productivity.
  • Empower – Don’t make all the decisions.  By empowering your team to make decisions, you are indirectly showing them that you trust their judgment and value their thinking.
  • Provide Feedback – Sure, you may not be able to get back to people immediately… but as soon as possible, please.  Even if you have not had a chance to provide an in-depth response, let your direct report(s) know that it’s in the works.  The waiting game is not pleasant and can even lead to resentment if you appear to be too busy, untouchable, or just plain non-responsive.
  • Reward and Recognize– Everyone likes to be acknowledged for their hard work. Share achievements and accomplishments with your entire team, provide incentives, and maintain a positive and encouraging environment as best as possible.  Keeping up morale can be a challenge, but as a manager – it’s essential.
  • Meet regularly – Whether it’s over the phone or in-person, you always need to keep the lines of communication open.  This allows you to gauge productivity, ask and answer questions, and address any personnel-related questions, etc.

You play an important role and were place in this position for a reason.  Now get out there and take charge!

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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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