Tips For Being A Better Boss & Manager

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Better Boss|Tips For Being A Better Boss & ManagerBeing in charge is nice because you get to call the shots but can also be a very difficult position to be in. You have other people relying on you to improve the business and to make sure you’re all achieving your goals.

There’s a lot to think about and attend to, and it can be tempting to have your ego get in the way of doing what’s right. If you want to truly be a better boss and manager, then you have to commit to following through in a couple of areas in particular. Accept that you’ll make mistakes along the way, but what’s most important is that you learn from them and stay flexible with your approach.

Take Care of Yourself

You can be a better boss and manager by being consistent about taking good care of yourself. This includes controlling your mood by eating healthy foods and choosing to exercise regularly. Stay hydrated after breaking a sweat by stocking up on plenty of Halo Sport so you can replenish your body with all of your lost fluids. You’ll find you perform better at work when you have a lot of natural energy to carry you through the day and are committed to practicing self-care.

Have A Positive Attitude

It’s also important that as the boss and manager, you maintain a positive attitude around the office. Your employees are watching you and looking up to you and view you as a role model. Therefore, prove to them you’re the right person for the position by not letting your emotions get the best of you. Encourage others to keep up the good work and to continue on strong even when there are problems to tackle and obstacles to face.

Learn to Delegate out Tasks

You’re going to be doing yourself a favor when you learn how to delegate out tasks properly. You’ll be able to focus more on critical matters such as how to run a better business when you do so properly and regularly. You can be a better boss and manager by making sure your employees are staying busy and challenged on a daily basis.
Check in with them often and make sure they feel that the work they’re doing is putting their skills to good use and is rewarding. It’s your job as the boss to ensure everyone on your team is contributing to the bigger picture and aren’t sitting around with nothing to do.

Avoid Playing Favorites

While it’s okay to build relationships with your employees and subordinates, you do want to stay away from playing favorites. Recognize individuals based on their annual evaluations and daily performance versus whose personality you find the most appealing. You can be a better boss and manager and get more done when you avoid office politics and don’t cause or create drama around the workplace. Instead, focus on motivating the team as a whole and seeing who steps up and stands out all on their own.

Be an Employee Influencer

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Influencer|Be an Employee InfluencerI have read that 85 percent of us are unlikely to make big changes in our lives without some kind of outside influence. That means that only 15 percent of people unilaterally decide to make changes and then follow through and do it on their own. Translation: Most of us need someone we trust to influence us either by their words or their actions. Effective leadership is really about influence.

Influence, at its core, is the reward of investing in your employees and helping someone transform. The result of that influence is a gift that your people will give you when you pursue them well and care enough to engage with them to make needed changes. And caring enough is the secret sauce to making all of this work.

The truth is, the positive effect of influence can be seen in all our relationships, not just at work. Think of your personal relationships with your friends or family members. For example, I, as a parent, desperately want to influence my children in a positive way. But if I haven’t invested in them well enough as a dad, they won’t look to me as a role model or request my advice, and they will not be open to my influence. The same is true for your employees.

Recognize Opportunities to Influence

Being an employee influencer is one of the most rewarding aspects of leadership. If you have invested well enough in your employees, they will seek your influence. You have to learn to look for this, become aware of when they’re seeking it, and not miss the opportunity when it presents itself. That can be easy to do if you’re not paying close attention.

For example, through the course of a typical work day while I’m reviewing projects and tasks with my team, an employee may ask questions about how they would like me to have them manage a project or accomplish a task. When this happens, it would be easy for me as a leader to misunderstand the individual’s intentions and think they’re trying to abdicate responsibility or get me to solve their problems for them. In actuality, they are requesting my influence without asking for it directly. When this happen to you, take it as a sign that you have invested well in that employee. On the other hand, you may have an employee who never seeks your advice. This may be a sign that you haven’t invested in them enough. Pay attention to both and calibrate your time and attention accordingly for each.

Here’s another example: A member of my senior leadership team is being considered for a promotion to the executive leadership team. We—the executive leaders and I—have invested greatly in this person personally and professionally. We enjoy spending time with her, and we want to see her succeed. We’ve been persistent in letting her know, “We’re for you.”

Recently, I invited her to an executive meeting. She was asked a question and sort of stumbled over the answer. This stumble felt like failure to her. She felt like this one moment might impede her rise to executive leadership in our organization.

Later that day, she came to my office.

“I feel like I really blew it at the meeting,” she said. “Everyone else had such terrific responses to your questions, but I didn’t know what to say.” I asked her why she felt that way, and she told me that she hadn’t properly prepared for the meeting. Then she asked, “What do I need to do to be able to better answer questions in these meetings?” What I heard was “How do I improve?” That’s what every leader wants to hear from their people. It was gratifying and encouraging. It also confirmed what we all were thinking about her ability to move to bigger responsibilities within our organization.

She wasn’t asking me, “How do I fix it?” It was so much more than that. She was asking for my influence. She was saying, in so many words, “I’m seeking your counsel and advice. What do I need to do next in order to live out my version of success?”

I gave her my thoughts on the issue and she responded by saying that she was going to follow up. My guess is she’ll be better prepared for our next meeting and the questions that might arise there.

And this is how you’ll know your influence is working. It’s what happens after you do or say it. Influence is only successful when another person responds to your words or deeds and does something about the issue, whatever it may be.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Chris MeroffChris Meroff has spent more than 25 years supporting leaders in education at both the campus and district levels. Through his work in 17 states and across thousands of school districts, he’s seen firsthand the frustration administrators feel when their efforts don’t produce the alignment they desire. He’s made a career of testing new leadership ideas to see what works—and what doesn’t—in service-oriented leadership. His business, Alignment Leadership Consulting, exists to teach leaders how they can boldly pursue a workplace culture that prioritizes employee fulfillment. You can learn more at www.AlignLeadThrive.com.

How to Keep Your Team Agile and Aligned Under Pressure

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | How to Keep Your Team Agile and Aligned Under Pressure
 
As a leader, you are constantly trying to maximize the magical effort to effectiveness equation (a.k.a. efficiency). You can see this play out in your daily operations and ultimately in the P&L. However, there is an intangible asset that is very difficult to quantify — but without it you cannot ultimately succeed. This asset is, of course, alignment.

Alignment matters because it is an amalgamation of understanding, agreement, buy-in, engagement, empowerment, and accountability.

It amazes me how few leaders understand how to harness, measure, leverage, and ultimately achieve true alignment behind their strategies and objectives. Too many leaders assume that just because they have spoken, their teams are all on the same page with them — and everything will proceed from there. Achieving true alignment takes a significant allocation of effort. But there is a direct correlation between the extent of alignment and the results achieved.

Therefore, it is in your best interest as a leader to focus more on achieving, gauging, and calibrating alignment than almost any other executional activity. The good news is that achieving alignment is more science than art — meaning that there are tools that work nearly every time in getting people behind an idea, strategy, or mission. Below, allow me to present three of my favorites:

1. Define and Drive organizational culture. Culture is the glue that holds an organization together. It’s often the reason behind why people choose to stay with your company over jumping ship to a competitor. As a leader, it is your role to create, foster, and harness culture against organizational objectives. Conduct focus groups, one on one’s, and surveys to get a strong grip on the current state of your business culture. Then define a desired state for the values and behavior you expect to see on display daily, and embody them in everything you do.

Once you are well on your way towards your desired cultural state, you need to then define your business’s hedgehog concept. This is time very well spent because it takes your underlying culture and applies it to specific business problems. By deriving the intersection of three key questions: what are we wildly passionate about, what can we do better than anyone else, and what drives our economic engine, you set a direction for people that is easy to align with. Ask the three questions at all levels of the organization, calibrate the responses, and then package the inputs into an easily digestible reason for organizational being that relates to the majority of your enterprise. Then you can focus organizational attention on how you are doing, not on what you are doing — or even worse, why you are doing it.

2. Don’t just communicate, connect. When you give a presentation on your business strategy, key priorities, and other initiatives, how often do you check (either via polls, surveys, show of hands) what people understood from your communication, what they are taking away, and whether or not they agree? Many leaders are scared to ask these types of questions because they don’t like being second-guessed. Still, it’s better to be second-guessed than to be zero-followed! Taking the time to gauge the degree to which key messages are landing, as well as whether the audience is aligned, is probably the most important investment you can make as a leader.

Once you know where your participants are on a given issue, the next step is to connect the dots for them. Do the hard work of helping them see what you see and understand why you are making these choices. Allow them to question, build on, and enhance your ideas. And finally, move forward, together.

3. Keep it very simple. It is relatively easy to stick to one road, drive the speed limit, buckle up for safety, and arrive at your destination both on time and with all passengers on board. Once you start introducing shortcuts, detours, scenic routes, and bypasses into the mix, you are almost destined to lose some people along the way. No one (besides Forrest Gump maybe) meanders their way to success. You pick a destination based on the best available information (expected weather, road conditions, permitted speed), calculate the mileage, gas expense, and time to arrival, and then start driving in as straight a line as possible until you reach your desired location, or in this case desired mission, goal, or objective.

Leaders who jump from highway to highway, seemingly without rationale, are leaders who lose the power of an organization primed and focused on achieving results. You have to know when to forge ahead, when to change course, and when to abandon ship — but at each inflection point, the more important concept to remember is that you need to reengage the enterprise when change is afoot, and never assume that people know the key why’s and what’s and how’s behind the new direction.


About the Author

Omar L. Harris is Associate Vice-President and Country Manager for Allergan PLC in Brazil. He is the author of Leader Board: The DNA of High-Performance Teams available for purchase in ebook or print on Amazon.com. Please follow him on instagramtwitterLinkedIn, and/or his website for more information and engagement.

The 3 Most Important Responsibilities of a Manager

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Responsibilities of Manager |The 3 Most Important Responsibilities of a ManagerWhen starting out in their careers, many employees will want to ascend their company’s hierarchy with the aim of taking on more managerial roles in the future. However, to become an effective leader, there are a number of elements that you need to consider in order to both lead your employees and run the business to its maximum potential.

Business Growth

As a manager, you will be expected to focus on the best ways to improve the business and make large profits during your tenure by finding new ways to increase your margins. One of the best ways that you can do this as a manager is to cut the running costs of the business. There are many ways to do this in the steed of the business owner, and these include suggesting that you switch energy suppliers to cut down on your energy bills. If this sounds like the best option for your workplace, Utility Bidder allows you to compare business energy prices from multiple companies to find the right provider for your workplace.

You can also encourage business growth by managing the marketing team and finding new ways to boost sales. This can include holding competitions and promotional deals if you have a retail store, or utilizing social media and SEO to improve your digital marketing technique.

You can also make the business more efficient by replacing old machinery and equipment and by looking into the best modern machinery and technological office supplies.

How to Lead Employees

The most important role that you will have is to manage the employees under your leadership in an efficient way. There are many ways that you can boost employee productivity in a positive manner, and this includes methods such as offering rewards schemes and incentives such as pay rises, which you can agree with the business owner, and offering regular praise to employees. You can also help to boost morale by organizing payrolls and employee holidays efficiently, as well as making sure that there are always enough staff members to run the business efficiently on any one day.

You should also offer employees regular training days to ensure that they are able to hone their skills during their tenure and be reminded of some of the key processes of your business. It is also important that you are able to lead your employees by dealing with any problems. You can do this by holding an annual review meeting for every employee where you can discuss these issues and set targets for the future, which they will be able to work towards.

However, you should always remember to delegate responsibility to employees to make them feel valued and ensure that there is only a limited amount of pressure placed upon yourself.

Communication With Clientele

As a manager, you will also be on the frontline between your workforce and your customers, and so it is important that you are able to have customer communication techniques in place to help you deal with any issues. For instance, it is vital that you ensure that customers return to the business, and you can do this by sorting problems by offering promotions and discounts, as well as feedback and good complaints methods, to those who have had issues with your business.

You should also communicate with clients by using social media and e-mail marketing to tell clients new information about the business and make sure that they are aware of any offers that may be available.

Five Tips for Small Team Management

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Small Teams|Five Tips for Small Team ManagementIt is tempting to think that more manpower equates to more productivity at work. After all, jobs tend to get done right away when many working pieces are involved, right? That is not always the case.

In fact, studies now show that a smaller number of members in a team is linked to more engagement and accountability. At work, small teams tend to be more productive because leads can focus their time and attention to fewer members.

However, spearheading a small team is still no easy feat. Just like any organization, small teams also have their fair share of challenges. And it is in everyone’s best interest to keep even a small boat floating.

Here are five strategies on how you can bring in the best out of a small yet effective team:

Use time tracking tools

You can use a free time clock software to set deadlines and objectives to manage project time more effectively. Time management tools can assist you to keep track of your team’s work and any project advancement.

It provides you monitoring tools that can be used to record the time that is spent on assignments and projects, such as timesheets and project trackers. You no longer have to wonder where time is wasted and which projects are receiving a disproportionate amount of attention. This time, you now have objective evidence.

Communicate with the team effectively

Having effective communication skills is one of the key ingredients of a team with good governance. When you communicate well with your teammates, you minimize misunderstandings and encourage the exchange of ideas that can propel your team to success.

For first-time managers, this might be easier said than done. To start with, you must create a welcoming atmosphere where your team knows that their feedback and opinions are all valued. Encourage them to open up. In that way, no one can feel as though they do not have a chance to express.

Staff meetings are a good way to build an open communication line in your team. During assemblies, convey the messages that you want to impart with confidence. Your audience will not only hear what you are saying, they will also see and feel your enthusiasm.

Having a proactive behavior in every discussion will help your teammates retain the discussion better. And with better retention, you possibly get more valuable inputs from them.

After you have established good communication in your team, the process of setting expectations and goals in your tasks will most likely go by smoothly.

Encourage teamwork and collaboration

Teamwork or collaboration has a dramatic effect on organizational performance.

Just like establishing good communication, teamwork is not something that just appears out of thin air. It is hard work and dedication that create a culture of teamwork in the workplace. When there is collaboration, the tasks at hand become more fun and uncomplicated.

Effective collaboration does not mean delegating an equal amount of work among the team. It is about knowing and sorting out tasks properly according to the skills, interest, and availability of the members.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about teamwork:

  • Be informed about the team’s common goal and objective.
  • Learn when to ask for help, especially when you are in need of an inspiration or support.
  • Let your team know about the progress you are making.
  • Encourage the team to question things from all angles.
  • Appreciate the efforts of the team and celebrate achievements together.

Set realistic deadlines

It is easy to postpone work when you think you have all the time in the world to finish it. Without a sense of urgency, you can always switch to things that are more enjoyable than the work you are avoiding to get done.
To stop the team from postponing and avoiding work, set a realistic deadline that is near to the present. If you firmly believe that a task can be done in a week, direct the team to get it done in a week’s time. This will keep the team stay driven throughout the process.

Before you set deadlines, it is necessary that the team knows what is expected from them. Explain the objectives and goals in mind clearly so that you are on the same page with everyone in the team. Make sure that the team agrees to the deadlines that you set so that they would have a sense of accountability in everything they do.

Evaluate your team regularly

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to identify whether or not a team is successful. But how do you repeat those successes?

Giving room for feedback can help you measure the effectiveness of your style of leadership. It will also give you the privilege of knowing if this specific leadership is well accepted by everyone in your team.

For personal and career development, it is important to regularly know each of your member’s strengths and weaknesses. An age-old aphorism goes, “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.” The team can either be brought down by the actions of an individual or be brought up by a particularly strong contributor.

Take the time to determine if a person is raising up or bringing down a team. Once you have identified the individuals, see if you can coach the other members of the team to take some of the same attitudes and practices.
Lastly, establish a baseline and clarify your definition of success so you can better judge and provide feedback on how successful your team is. Conducting regular evaluations significantly determines how great a team will be moving forward.

Final thoughts

The fundamentals of succeeding in managing small teams lie in the knowledge that managing these teams is just as hard as managing mid-sized or even bigger teams. People often believe that managing a small team is easier, but that is hardly ever the case.

At the end of the day, the success of a team is only just a reflection of the combined efforts of each individual in a team.