Managing people is much more of an art than it is a science. There is no secret formula or set of rules to follow. Like any true art it takes personal style and a relentless commitment to developing that art.
1. Rid your mind of the word “manager” and replace it with “leader”. Leaders don’t require titles or promotions, they are people that inspire and motivate without regard to the setting or the team.
2. Keep a good sense of humor. It makes you approachable and it helps you maintain perspective. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.
3. Remember that your direct reports are people. They are not resources and they are not human capitol. They are people with families, feelings, and problems. It is not possible to separate work from home life. Be aware that people have personal lives and do the best you can to be sensitive to them. Treat everyone as your equal regardless of their title or position. Remember to smile a lot and always maintain a pleasant demeanor.
4. Have a clear plan of what needs to be done. “By failing to plan you plan to fail.” Set long and short term goals.
5. Be decisive. When asked for your opinion, you should have it well thought out and present it persuasively. You should not waffle or stall. For big decisions, set a deadline, and have the decision by that time. If someone offers an argument that convinces you to change a decision, acknowledge it and embrace the new idea completely.
6. Communicate your expectations. Put them in writing whenever possible. Solicit feedback from the people you are leading. Know what they expect from you. Address any discrepancies immediately and clearly.
7. Have a clear understanding in your own mind of things that you can change and the things that you cannot. Simply accept the things you cannot change and do not apply any energy to them what-so-ever. Then, focus all of your efforts on the things you can change. Action oriented people are always sought after and successful.
8. Remember that different things motivate different people and that people will do what they have incentive to do. It is your job to make sure that their incentives match your goals. For example, if you pay a bonus for people to produce a higher number of pieces, don’t be surprised if quality starts to suffer in favor of volume.
9. Maintain the confidence of everyone in the organization. Managers frequently have access to more information than other employees. It is imperative that you never betray the confidence of the company, your manager, your peers, or your employees. Be sure that people can confide in you.
10. Be Consistent. Your actions and reactions must be consistent. You don’t want to be the type of manager that everyone asks what kind of mood you are in before they approach you with an issue.
11. Being flexible is very important and it does not conflict with being consistent. You must remain flexible to change directions, change rules, and change resources to remain competitive.
12. Focus only on solutions and not on problems. People gravitate toward solutions oriented individuals.
13. Hire slowly and fire quickly. Take your time hiring good quality people. Have several people interview and do thorough background checking. But, when you have a disruptive personality or person who fails to perform you need to take all steps to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
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