You did it! You achieved an important milestone and are now a manager. With the title comes more responsibility especially to your people. In fact, a manager’s primary job is to develop the abilities of others so they perform and produce specific outcomes.
Too often managers get caught up in paperwork. They become hermits, stay in their offices, answer calls, write reports and make plans. They overlook their most important asset. Instead, managers should help each of their employees define what success looks like for them, and then let their people work. They should practice management by wandering — walking around, offering guidance and coaching where needed, and observing to identify areas that need improvement — or recognition. In addition, they should provide training and education for their teams and for individuals.
For every employee, mangers should complete and revisit these five principles that are imperative in helping their people develop action plans for improvement.
Step 1 – Career goals: It is important to understand how your people’s long-term goals fit into your business. Be honest. Work together. Listen. Develop an attainable working game plan.
Step 2 – Self-assessment: Encourage your people to conduct an honest self-evaluation. Have them make a list of their individual attributes including their strengths, weaknesses, attitude and threats. Ask employees to answer the question, “Why do you work here?”
Step 3 – Guide employees as they establish a plan based on SMART goals that address three cases of career development.
- Short-term should focus on the first year
- Mid-term spans two to five years
- Long-term extends five years or more
Step 4 – Feedback: Track performance so your people can see how effective they have been in attaining the goals. Without proper feedback channels it is impossible to adapt or adjust to the required behavior.
Step 5 – Adjust and reward: Adjust the plan to ensure it meets the desired outcome. Don’t wait for quarterly, bi-annual or annual reviews; work with employees weekly if not daily to assess and steer them in the right direction. As goals are attained, reward the employee for their efforts and to motive them to continue their improvement.
A manager’s job is to work with each person to determine what success means so they can contribute to the performance of the organization. For some people, it may mean reaching for a promotion; for others, it means expanding the current job. Managers with winning teams understand and appreciate the diversity of the people in their business. They know how to create “heroes in every role.” They recognize that since everyone has unique strengths, helping people develop and grow often may be the best way to improve their performance.
Even with a plan in place, the process of improving doesn’t happen automatically, and when managers are not committed to helping and developing their people, it may never happen at all. But, when managers build a finely tuned team through goal setting, training, educating and coaching, they will put the business on the road to success. Remember, if your people were capable of being managers, you’d be working for them.