Masterful Management: It’s Within Your Reach

September 15, 2012 in , ,

Ensuring that employees are effectively managed — day in, day out — can be a daunting task for any business owner. A commitment to applying proven management techniques goes a long way toward alleviating anxiety.

To start, identify your management style and determine how that style will affect your employees. At the same time, you need to focus on setting expectations, understanding employee work styles, and providing the tools necessary to help your employees succeed.

It’s no secret that there are many different styles of management; you’ve likely experienced several over the course of your career. Here are three of the most common management styles:

Micro Manager
Must be “in-the-know” and has difficulty letting employees work independently. A micro manager is likely to ask to review all assignments and constantly check on the status of assignments.

Hands-off Manager
Believes employees should work independently without constant supervision. A hands-off manager does not frequently communicate with employees and often waits until a problem arises to touch base.

Supportive Manager
Encourages employees to work independently and is readily available for employees if needed. A supportive manager communicates with employees regularly and takes the time to greet workers at the beginning of the day, say hello in the hallway, and congratulate them for jobs well done. The supportive manager is good at making employees feel comfortable enough to ask work-related questions, make comments, and raise issues.

What Kind of Manager Are You?
Keep in mind that you may not fit into any one specific management style; instead, you may exhibit a blend of several styles. This reality is perfectly fine as long as you and your employees can communicate without confusing expectations.

First and foremost, effective employee management requires clear expectations for employees, expectations that are set by determining company, department, and/or team goals. Some business owners choose to actively involve employees in creating goals and expectations because employees often work harder and remain motivated to achieve the set goals they helped create.

Whether you decide to include your employees in goal setting or not, you may want to ask key questions in the process of establishing expectations:

  • What do you expect from yourself as a manager?
  • What do you expect from your team?
  • What do you expect from individuals on your team?

What Kind of Employees Work for You?
Employees are like managers in that they, too, have unique styles of work. Chances are you’ll encounter work styles of varying types. To effectively manage your employees, you must know how to work with them and accommodate their personal work styles to the extent feasible. A great way to do that is to start with a one-on-one discussion and direct questions to them about their preferred work style.

Here are some questions to ask during that conversation:

  • How would you describe your work style?
  • If you could choose, how would you like to be managed?
  • How much guidance/independence do you prefer?
  • Do you feel smothered and unsuccessful if your work is constantly reviewed?
  • Do you prefer constant attention/feedback?
  • How do you handle constructive criticism?
  • Do you prefer regular interaction with your manager or only when absolutely necessary?
  • How do you like to be recognized for work well done?
  • What motivates you? For example, money, promotions, perks, verbal recognition.

Don’t forget that business owners and managers must position employees for success as part of an effective management plan. As a business owner, you must make every effort to allow your employees to do what you hired them to do. You can go a long way toward achieving this by providing:

  • Written Job Descriptions
    Accurate and up-to-date job descriptions outline the essential functions of the job, providing employees with a clear understanding of performance expectations.
  • Training
    Training and development should be available to all employees. This may include on-the-job training, internal training, and external training/seminars. It is important to identify and enhance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of employees to improve their work performance and prepare them for advancement.
  • Adequate Office and Technological Supplies
    Provide the necessary office supplies and technology (for example, computer software) for employees to complete their jobs effectively and efficiently.
  • Performance Feedback
    Frequent feedback and yearly performance reviews help evaluate employee performance, improve employee morale, identify training and development needs, promote better communication, and reduce absenteeism and turnover.
  • Support
    Be supportive of your employees. Lend a listening ear and be willing to help out when needed.

Although managing employees may seem like an impossible chore on some days, you can increase your odds of effective management by identifying styles, getting to know your employees, and giving them the support they need to be successful. You’ll also welcome the increased performance from your employees that effective management brings!

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