Today’s business environment is more competitive, has more sophisticated customers and a rapidly changing economic environment; maintaining or increasing a company’s performance is a managers most critical concern and managers who empower employees to higher levels, will make themselves and their employees indispensable to the organization. There are some basic successful management qualities, uncovered by years of exhaustive management studies. These studies identify that successful managers are as different as they are similar. However, close observation determines that six particular qualities are generally found in all successful managers, these six qualities are:
· Being goal driven
· Employing good communication skills
· Continually empowering employees
· Acting with a caring attitude
· Embodying a caring attitude
· Manage with organization and structureThese qualities have become habits for indispensible managers.
Since habits are acquired behaviors, through training they can be adopted by anyone. While there is no magic success formula, a person’s desire coupled with an investment of time, energy and patience usually pays long term management dividends. While one can say that stating six management qualities is simplistic, the successful manager invests much time and energy into the study of human nature, in particular to that of subordinates, superiors, customers and vendors. It is human nature to categorize needs into different levels of priority, understanding your level, as well as those of your peers is vital.
Andrew Maslow, a renowned behaviorist, brought this to the attention of the world with his famous “Hierarchy of Needs”. Maslow’s theories are based on the idea that people naturally attempt to satisfy lower needs before seeking to gratify higher levels of needs.
· First: Food and shelter
· Second: safety and security
· Third: belonging, friendship and love
· Fourth: self-esteem, status and ego
· Fifth: self-actualization and self-fulfillment
Understanding where you are in this hierarchy is useful in motivating yourself, then your employees to higher levels of performance. Your first step is to be aware of your own needs, giving clarity to your personal agenda, and then to those of your subordinates. The level at which they’re currently performing provides an understanding of their personal agendas, just as your performance mirrors yours.
Morale and High-Level Performance are not as connected as we may think. According to Fredrick Herzberg, a social scientist of the 50’s and 60’s, the most visible of the commonly accepted motivators; salary, working conditions and company policies are referred to as “hygiene factors”, meaning they are important for morale but have little relevance for high-level performance. They answer the needs of the first two priority levels but do not motivate the employee to higher levels. Successful managers are also tuned into the most played radio station in business: WII-FM (What’s In It For Me). Performance measurement is a two-way street. Employees constantly measure their supervisors and their employer in the context of “What’s In It For Me?” Companies and managers who understand this and who tune in to answering WII-FM have more active listeners.
· Take the time to get to know your reporting staff, their values, personality type and what piques their interest and primary motives.
· Within the boundaries established by an employee’s Position or Task Guide, and in keeping with company policy, determine the best type of approach for each person.
· Standard policy does not mean we should ignore difference between people; a good manager always looks for an employee’s strengths and builds on those instead of exploiting weaknesses.
· The goal is to identify each employee’s personal goals and objectives and align them with those of the company; the result is greater organizational focus.
Success habits are something that can be learned by everyone. Indispensable managers know their own personal agenda, have an organizational system, develop successful habits that support their system and transfer all of this to their employees. Any behavior repeated regularly develops into a habit, and behavioral psychologists agree that this process takes only about 21 to 42 days.
As mentioned, there are six qualities basic to successful managers. Being Goal Driven means being results oriented; Aspirations, results and rewards are evident in all activities. Goal driven managers instinctively tune into Maslow’s hierarchical levels themselves and into everyone they set out to motivate; Goals are the prerequisite to achievement. An astute leader helps people set goals compatible to those of the organization and then provides the tools for achievement. Communication means that everyone is informed. Imagine trying to use a system you don’t understand. High-level communication is required and this takes time, energy and creativity. The most power medium is your spoken word privately, to an employee. Your spoken one-on-one communication, followed up with supportive action, can show tremendous results. Banners, newsletters, and email are excellent support tools, but will be treated with quiet contempt if the personal touch and follow up are lacking. In partnership with Maslow’s hierarchy, rewards both communicate and symbolize some level of accomplishment towards the final objective.
Empower people. Have you ever noticed how certain people always make you feel good? They don’t shower you with false compliments, they’re not intent on telling you what you want to hear, but they possess a special quality that’s transferred and lifts your spirits. Behavioral experts refer to this as positive energy transference. Every manager needs to master this habit of transferring positive energy to others; this is empowerment. It brings out the best in others because it brings out the best in you, and it’s a habit that can be acquired by “dream building”. Everyone has a dream, including employees, whose dreams may be locked deep within their personal agendas. Indispensable managers uncover these dreams and build a bridge to the corporate mission; to be a successful manager, help people believe in themselves and recognize their talents, and then success can naturally follow. To achieve empowerment, try finding the employees dream, convert the dream into goals connected to the companies’ goals and break goals into daily activities. Also try building team belief through weekly or monthly meetings, hold the employees accountable for their goals and objectives as well as expecting them to believe and achieve while supporting them through your communications strategies.
There is an old saying about caring: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Caring is an extension of communication and empowerment, and it involves action and words. There are a number of ways to develop caring habits. Pick one day a year for each employee and do something that shows them appreciation, do not talk business – learn about the person, their family, their dreams and goals. Always follow through with everything you say. Understand the needs and wants of spouses and ask yourself if you really care and make sure you do. And finally remember that the little things mean a lot. Being fully committed is required; none of the habits would be worth much if they weren’t coupled with total commitment. This is what provides dedication to one’s mission. The willingness to grow, to get personally involved, to invest time and money, and to be totally focused on performance is not taught in most business schools. These are life skills that the very best managers have developed and used in the conduct of their daily working relationships. Therefore, before any change occurs, total commitment, coupled with an action plan is a must.
S.M.A.R.T. management and effective task communication means identifying what is to be communicated, use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to assign responsibility for completing assigned tasks within expected guidelines.
S – Specific (Clarity) People are not mind readers, be direct and specific when communicating by clearly spelling out what you want and what is expected and get confirmation by asking to have your question or statement repeated back to you.
M- Measurable (Objectivity) always put a yardstick to a task because if you can’t measure it you can’t control it; people naturally give more attention to activities which are measured.
A – Attainable (Clarity, Objectivity and Integrity) make sure that the person at the receiving end of the instructions is capable, trained, and has the proper tools to do the job.
R – Reasonable (Objectivity and Integrity) establish reasonable goals and get consensus, setting unrealistic targets alienates subordinates and becomes a root cause for undesirable outcomes like sacrificing quality, failing to complete tasks, jeopardizing safety and demoralizing the team.
T – Timely (Clarity and Integrity) install timelines and check on progress. Timelines must stipulate a beginning, middle milestone and an end. Review often to catch deviations from a plan and be fixed easily and inexpensively.
There is a simple successful management equation; Prosperity = Objectivity + Integrity + ClarityManagement success habits are not discriminating. Any willing manager can develop these qualities into habits; and over time they will become original to anyone who uses them, as every manager develops his or her own style and gains Business Vision. Start with you and as you develop into this conceptual manager, refine your systems to work naturally with your people and in turn they will transform into an indispensable team. Work S.M.A.R.T. and use clarity, objectivity and integrity in the way you manage and prosperity for you, your staff and the company will follow.