Written by Julia Morris, Business & Management Tutor, ACL Essex
Management skills are not always something we are born with, but everyone has the ability to learn them. A lot of people find themselves in a management or supervisory position without having had any prior management experience or training. An in-depth knowledge of the organisation and its processes is simply not going to be enough when faced with a team of staff needing strong leadership. So many new managers find themselves in the position where they spend most of their day fire fighting staff issues whilst striving to meet strict deadlines set by senior management.
If you want to develop into an inspirational leader, you need to have realistic expectations of what it is to be a good people manager. Here are some of the pitfalls:
1) Staff demotivation
Simply put, motivated staff are happy staff and happy staff are highly productive. The key to becoming a successful leader lies in how you can create this atmosphere of motivation within your team.
It is wrong to assume that money always motivates staff. It is important of course, few of us go to work for fun, but money is not the only motivator. It could be that the individual is motivated by certain tasks that they enjoy, or that they feel their actions have made a difference to someone. It might be that they are motivated by using their creativity or that they enjoy being part of a fun and successful team. They may even simply be motivated by feeling appreciated.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to find out what motivates your staff and do what you can to address each one. A happy employee is a productive employee and who will want to work hard for the team and organisation that appreciates the effort they put in.
It is fair to say that most managers suffer from stress and that can filter into not only their teams but also those in their personal lives. Stress can manifest itself in many ways and the sooner you recognise your own symptoms, the sooner you can do something to ease the pressure.
What triggers your stress? Maybe an upcoming management meeting that will be full of people wanting answers from you, or is there an approaching deadline that heralds a make or break big money deal? Stress is a natural reaction to a pressurised scenario, so it is to be expected when you are in a management role, however, if it starts to affect your life or your decisions, then it is time to take action.
Try to work out what triggers your feelings of stress and see if it is something that you can either pre-empt or even avoid. Prepare for a meeting where you know some hard questions will be asked of you so that you have all your facts ready or try to renegotiate a deadline if you feel it is causing too much pressure to get it done in time.
Techniques such as meditation and mindfulness are popular with high level managers across the world. Take a few minutes out to research the techniques and factor them into your daily activities. Also, look out for signs of stress in your team and see if they may benefit from a similar regime.
3) Underproductive Team
As with staff motivation, this is usually down to the fact that staff are simply not engaged enough to give the high levels of productivity that is expected of them. Maybe the team need an incentive to ensure they meet their targets? Or could it be that they don’t understand the ‘big picture’ and the role that they play in order to achieve the organisations objectives? Perhaps there are not enough employees in the team to meet the needs of the business?
As a manager, it is our responsibility to make sure our team is working to the levels required by the organisation. If productivity is low, it is time to investigate why that is and make a start in rectifying the problem. Regular staff meetings are key to finding out exactly what is going on within the team and the tasks that they are doing. It is also a good forum to tell them about the organisation’s goals and how their work fits into the overall strategy. Put the productivity issue to them and listen to what they have to say. Give them a chance to resolve the problem for themselves and show support for their suggestions.
A good manager is only as good as the people working for them. We are no longer in an environment where the manager gives orders and the workers obey. Employees need to have satisfaction and enjoy their work, feeling like they are not only appreciated but also enhancing their skills for their future career development. Nurture your staff and they will work hard for you without even being asked!
Check out our new range of free online Business and Management workshops. Our professional tutors will be there to support you with your learning goals in an online learning environment with all the resources you need.
- Tips & Tricks for New and Aspiring Managers
- Motivating Yourself
- Intro to Principles of Team Leading
- Intro to Lean Organisation Management Techniques
- Understanding and Embracing Change
- Problem Solving Techniques