Things Change Around You Constantly, But Try To Do These Things Every Day.
By Steve Schumacher
When I was early in my career in the consulting business, I got the opportunity to work with a fabulous author by the name of Ken Blanchard. He wrote a series of books based on the original title – “The One Minute Manager.”
The books were, and still are, hugely successful all around the world. The niche that Blanchard discovered was writing a solid management book that was short and easy to read.
He chose a parable format because Blanchard loves to tell stories. If you happen to pick up the book and read it, you will find several easy-to-implement management skills that “The One Minute Manager” practiced with his people every day. Rather than go over those skills again, I will add a few that I have found to be good tools for all managers to think about every day.
Role modeling. It bears emphasizing that, as a manager, you are being watched closely every minute of every day. If that makes you uncomfortable, you either need to get out of management or accept that fact. Your employees will follow your lead when it comes to your behavior, regardless of whether your words match your behavior or not.
If you believe in the company mission, vision and values you must model them every day. If you believe in reasonable work hours for your employees, you must set the example for everyone. The best way to become attuned to this is to get someone you can trust to give you open honest feedback.
Management by walking around. Tom Peters coined this phrase in his classic book, “In Search of Excellence.” It means get out and walk around your operations; get to know your people personally. The more you know them personally, the greater the amount of trust people will have in you.
The foundation of all great managers is that their employees trust them. Mix up the times you do it, but do it regularly. No agenda other than talking to people.
Give specific, positive feedback. Another tried and true phrase is “Catch someone doing something right.” Every day, be on the lookout for someone that did something really good and let them know it personally.
Be careful though, if you do it too much for even minor things, the impact you have will be diluted. Try not to simply give a thumbs-up or tell someone how conscientious they are. It is much more impactful to be very specific about the behavior that was good, do it right away, and tell the person the impact their behavior has on your organization.
Collaborate. I have worked with many organizations that have a silo problem. A silo problem is when each department watches out for themselves and does not collaborate well cross-functionally. Certainly, everyone has their own resources to manage in their own departments, but the senior executives are watching who supports other teams across company lines.
Go out of your way to be a good team player with other departments, invite them to your meetings, and communicate regularly with issues that may arise and how you can work together to make them better.
Support your boss. Over the years, there have been many characterizations of bosses that are less than flattering. From my experience, most managers I have met are good people with the same issues and concerns as their employees.
Understand that your boss has all of your challenges plus many that you do not even know about. Whenever you can, through words and actions, show clear support for your boss. I am sure you do this when he/she is around but do it with others when your boss is not there.
Develop yourself. One of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is Sharpen Your Saw. This means to always be learning and developing your skill set. Do not become complacent and satisfied with where you are in your career. Always seek to improve and get better. The skills that got you to where you are today will not necessarily get you to where you want to be tomorrow.
As a manager of people, it is vital that you build certain habits that will develop you and your employees. Once your build those habits into your routine, everyone will benefit from it.
Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at [email protected].