Getting the Best from those who report to you

  • By: Ruth Evans, Owner of The Evans HR GROUP

How well you manage the people who report to you determines your success as a manager and contributes to the overall success of the Company.

Successful managers hire the right people for the job, set high expectations, and know how to motivate employees effectively.  In addition, they are a) effective communicators, b) treat people with respect, c) know what, when, and who to delegate tasks to,  and d) are good role models.

Hiring – Before you begin recruiting, evaluate your actual needs, and answer these important questions:  What knowledge, skills and abilities do you need in the position, what education is relevant to the position, how much experience does the candidate need and why, what will the specific job responsibilities be, what expectations/outcomes are required for the position, and what behaviors must the candidate demonstrate to be successful?  All of these questions are important to answer before you just jump into the hiring process.  While it is often very tempting to hire fast, to avoid costly hiring mistakes it is important to take your time to make sure you find the candidate who meets your requirements and is a good fit for your organization.

Setting Expectations  – To make sure the new hire knows what is required to be successful, at the time of the job offer, and on the employee’s first day of employment define the clear, measurable goals of the position and the outcomes that must be achieved and by when.  Put these in writing and have the employee sign and date.  In fact, set measurable goals and high expectations for all of your employees.  Let them know that you will not accept mediocre work, then honestly evaluate their performance and hold them accountable for the results.  When you set high expectations, people are more likely to achieve excellence.

Communicate – Take time to meet with your staff as a group and one on one.  Find out how they are doing, any concerns they may have, what is working or isn’t working, and what challenges they are having.  When you are talking to them, pay attention to them; don’t look at your text messages and emails, don’t take phone calls or allow others to interrupt.  Ask clarifying questions.  Listen, be open to ideas and opinions from employees.  Take the time to answer questions.   Truly demonstrate your interest in them.  When employees know that you care about them, they are more likely to care about their work.

Treat Employees with Respect – Never attack the person, focus on the issues.  Don’t criticize or discipline in front of others.  Take time to listen and respond to employees’ recommendations and concerns.  Never yell, belittle, or threaten.  Create an environment where differences of opinion can be expressed.  And, demonstrate respect for the diversity that each person brings to the organization.

Delegate – One of the hardest things for managers to do is delegate.  Often times managers hold on to work to do themselves, then get in a bind at the last minute because they are swamped and running out of time.  Plan ahead, don’t wait until you are overloaded and start delegating work at the last minute with no time to explain what is expected.  Make sure that whoever you are delegating to has the skills necessary to complete the task, take time to explain what is expected, and provide the tools or training necessary for them to be successful.

Let Employees Do Their Job – Once you’ve assigned the tasks, explained the outcomes required, made sure the employees’ have the skills needed, and provided the tools to do the job– get out of the way.  Now, it is up to the employees to get the work done.  Monitor their progress, coach them as needed, but let them do the work.  Don’t tell them how—it doesn’t have to be done the way you would do it—it just has to be done right and produce the results that are required.

Provide Feedback – Feedback is ongoing, not something that just occurs at the annual performance evaluation.  The goal of feedback is to help improve performance or to encourage continued good performance.  Feedback needs to be timely — as close to the action/behavior as possible, and specific.  Recognize employees for good performance publicly; corrective feedback should be done privately.  Look for and recognize progress, not just big accomplishments.  Be generous in thanking employees for the work that they do.

Good Role Models – As a manager, you are always on stage.  You are never not the manager.  So, it is important that you model the behavior and performance that you expect from your employees.  When you are enthusiastic about your work, employees will catch your enthusiasm.  Make decisions and demonstrate behavior that is consistent with the policies, key values and principles your company has adopted.  Work hard, but have fun and be willing to laugh at yourself.

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