You may be a nursing sister, an accountant, a geologist, or maybe run a beauty salon. Great! You have built the platform for a successful career. But if you have people reporting to you, people whose workday you look after, you are also a manager. Anyone who is responsible for the work of other people is a manager. That could be the CEO or you. In fact, the CEO and you.
Your success as a manager depends on the success of the people who report to you – your team. If each member of your team is successful, your team as a whole will succeed and you as the team leader will be successful. Your career will flourish as your team flourishes.
So how hard is it to make your team successful, individually and collectively?
How hard is it to be a supermanager?
Let’s start at the beginning. Why do you work? Yes of course, you work for money. We all need to put bread on the table and send our kids to school. But is money the only thing? Or even the most important thing?
Study after study shows that people work for a few important things other than money. People enjoy work that is meaningful, where they feel they are doing something constructive, making a difference. Acknowledgement, autonomy, achievement and a sense of accomplishment are powerful satisfactions. Recognition builds confidence and self-esteem. Career advancement, personal growth and healthy relationships at work are all key ingredients to a fulfilling life at work.
Now think about the people in your team. Why do they work? Everyone is motivated differently, but each of them thrives on their own personal mix of the factors mentioned above.
If you want your team to fly, you need to do whatever is in your power to satisfy each person’s unique set of motivations.
Start by being crystal clear about each person’s role on the team. What is he or she accountable for? That’s ‘A’ for Accountable. It means the buck for that thing stops with that particular person. Make sure they know exactly what their A’s are. Help them appreciate how their work contributes to the team, and the organisation.
Work with each of your reports to agree clear expectations. Set them each two or three measurable objectives so they know when they are delivering, and whether they are doing a good job – or not.
Give them regular, fair and consistent feedback. Check in with them often – maybe every day and at least once a week. Let them know how they are doing. And remember, there are only two kinds of feedback – positive and constructive! Negative feedback only produces negative results.
Make your team feel like a team. Have regular, short, productive meetings to review progress against your targets. Stick to the agenda and time contract. Agree the next steps and who takes the ‘A’ for each one.
Use the combined strength and diversity of the team to take the challenging decisions and solve problems. Involving your colleagues in planning and decision making will build their real commitment to solutions and action plans.
Communicate openly and often. Small frequent updates are much more effective – and easier – than a big story every now and then. Celebrate successes, large and small. Acknowledgment of a job well done is the simplest, cheapest and, often, most appreciated reward you can give to a person.
Don’t let disagreements between team members – or with you – fester. Try to resolve conflicts in a straightforward way that doesn’t demoralise.
Do what you can to keep each person engaged. Work on the positive spiral of motivation, results and confidence. Coach and encourage. People perform at their best when they are confident.
Master these simple basics and your team members will go home at the end of the day with a genuine sense of satisfaction with a job well done.
Their satisfaction will fuel your success. You will become a real supermanager.
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