It’s fair to say that every manager gets frustrated at times, as do we all, but in talking to all of the managers that I meet and work with these days, there are three particular frustrations that come up time and time again.
Top of every manager’s list is how to get people to do what you want them to do, without having to micromanage them, constantly nagging and on their back. How do you get them to do what you say, and do it to the standard that you want?
My question to these managers is always the same – do they know exactly what you want, and exactly how to do what you want?
I hear it way too often, ‘Arghhh why can’t she just get it right, I showed her how to do it two weeks ago!’
So did you show her as in train her properly, in the one right way to do the task, explaining why it was important to do it that way, and giving her chance to ask questions and practise before you left her to it?
Or…did you show her quickly, almost in passing, before rushing off to do something else?
All too often it’s the latter. People don’t do what you want them to do, to the standard you expect, not because they’re being awkward or stupid, but because you didn’t train them well in the first place, and then you more than likely, didn’t give them feedback – which brings us to frustration number two.
How do you give feedback without it turning into confrontation?
How does that work? How can you give feedback without making someone cry or strop, or have any sort of emotional reaction? How can you give somebody feedback, so that you leave them thinking, “Right, I’m going to get that right next time” rather than, “arghh my manager is such a blank”?
So many managers avoid giving any feedback at all because they fear the reaction. They’re happy to give praise, but correct someone, not so much. Those that do give feedback can get it horribly wrong – using sarcasm which can be misunderstood, or humour which can lead to the feedback not being taken seriously, or criticising the team member’s personality rather than their behaviour, which will invariably lead to that emotional reaction you’re trying to avoid.
The strategy here is to keep the end in mind – you want to improve someone’s performance – and focus on that when you’re correcting something that hasn’t been done to the right standard. What did the team member not do to standard, what effect will that have (on you, the team, the customer) and what do you want them to do going forward. No personal criticism, no drama, just an objective and straightforward statement of the facts. The result – an improvement in their performance.
The third frustration, of course, is having way too much to do.
Most managers when they get promoted into a management role are pretty much expected to do the job that they always did in addition to managing people. So how do you deal with that? Because you definitely don’t want to be doing all of your work and all of your team’s work.
The trick here, lies in mastering your training and feedback skills – developing your team, and raising the standard of their performance to the point that they don’t need you looking over their shoulder in order to perform well.
Give people the training and the tools they need to take full ownership for their role, then trust them to get on with it, giving feedback when they do it well, and when they slip below your standards. Do this and you’ll build a culture of ownership and accountability that frees you to perform your role well and become an invaluable asset to the business.
Overcome these three frustrations, and you’ll discover that managing people – developing them into a high performing, highly engaged team, is not just hugely rewarding, but also fun!
About the author
Marianne Page is an award-winning leader and developer of high performing teams. She inspires successful small business owners to build the simple systems and high performing team that will free them from the day to day of their operation, giving them back the time to enjoy a fulfilling life, confident that their business is running as it should.
Marianne developed a number of high performing teams of her own during her 27-year career as a senior manager with McDonald’s, and developed over 14,000 managers and franchisees over an 8-year period as the company’s Training Manager.
For the past ten years, Marianne has worked closely with successful business owners who have over-complicated their life and their business, helping them to develop the systems and the structure that will make their operation consistent, and free them to work on their business rather than in it.
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