Managers with great “people skills” are more successful at motivating employees and building business profits. Test yourself in these 10 vital areas.
Phil Perry, a longtime contributor to BEEF magazine on management topics, recently posed a different take on managing employees. Perry said that while managers typically feel experienced at assessing the performance of their employees, they likely spend less time judging their own performance.
So, in that vein, he offers the following opportunity for managers to assess their people skills by pondering these 10 points:
1. Do you challenge employees to set specific performance goals? Hazy goals produce hazy results. That’s why managers must work with employees to establish measurable objectives.
2. Do you coach employees to rebound from performance shortfalls? The most dependable employee can miss an ambitious performance goal. Was the bar set too high, or does the employee need to take a different approach to the challenge? That’s where the manager comes in, by being supportive, monitoring the employee’s work practices and suggesting new ways to reach performance goals.
3. Do you communicate your priorities and directions clearly? To be followed and respected you need to be understood, so make clear communications your goal. Express what you want from your employees in easily understood statements that can be translated into workplace expectations.
4. Do you encourage your employees to contribute new ideas? Managers can’t “do it all.” That’s why it’s important to be aware of, and use, your surrounding talent. It’s good for employees, too, because blocking the skills and ideas of employees can lead to the loss of the best talent.
5. Do you take a personal interest in your employees? Your employees have varied talents and needs. Taking a genuine interest in their lives will foster their loyalty and pay rich dividends.
6. Do you delegate well? Some managers are afraid of giving up power, but good delegation can leverage the talents of others to enhance a manager’s reputation. Delegating isn’t about giving away responsibilities, but putting together all the pieces of the management puzzle. As the manager, you're still the director.
7. Do you resolve conflicts in a productive way? Try to please everyone when it comes to conflict resolution, and, in the end, you'll end up pleasing no one. Good managers make sure everyone understands that a lot of thought went into their final decision.
8. Do you behave in a professional way at work? Employees need a captain, someone they feel has the emotional maturity to warrant being their leader. Conversely, people tend to feel insecure with a manager who is easily rattled. People learning to fly a plane go by the creed of aviate, navigate and communicate. That is, you aviate by flying the plane, then you navigate by figuring out your direction, and finally you communicate by telling others where you’re going. Keep that motto and order in mind to engender confidence in your staff.
9. Do you listen well? When employees see a manager is listening, they feel empowered and vested in the manager’s decisions. Managers must be willing to learn and that means listening closely. And managers can communicate that willingness to hear by responding to employee statements with productive questions.
10. Do you inspire your employees? While employees need to be skilled and knowledgeable, they also need to be enthused about their work. Enthusiastic employees accomplish more, perform better and are more creative. Good managers can inspire their people by communicating how they will be integral parts of your business plan for the coming year.
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