Everyone Deserves a Great Manager – Victoria Roos Olsson, Todd Davis and Scott Miller
The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team
Scott Miller admits his management style was all wrong when he was three months into his new job at the Covey Leadership Center, now FranklinCovey. When he started, at age 27, he monitored when his team members arrived at work and when they left. He forbade them to waste even a minute of the work day on personal matters. Miller insisted that one employee review her colleagues’ voicemails during her honeymoon and report anything suspicious back to him. During this period, the author says he was “tyrannical” and “a nightmare.”
New managers should learn six pivotal management practices and seasoned managers should review them.
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- Strategy One: Develop a leader’s mentality.
- Strategy Two: Routinely meet with each individual member of your team.
- Strategy Three: Organize your team for productivity; position it to achieve top results.
- Strategy Four: Make sure everyone on your team is receptive to and values feedback.
- Strategy Five: No matter what happens, your job is to guide each of your team members through events that affect them.
- Strategy Six: As a leader, you have limited time and energy; use them wisely.
Developing a Leader’s Mentality
In the olden days, first-level leaders had multiple managers above them who had steadily climbed the leadership ladder, accumulating experience along the way. However, companies now have fewer experienced managers to teach new managers how to do their jobs. One practical strategy to become an excellent manager is to develop a leader’s mentality. Leaders must be aware of how and why they think as they do and make sure their suppositions are accurate and realistic. Using FranklinCovey’s “See-Do-Get Cycle” as a mental framework can help navigate change and develop the behaviors that accompany the transition to becoming a better leader.
Routinely Meeting with Team Members
Another strategy to become an excellent manager is to routinely meet with each individual member of your team. Engaging your team members through one-on-one meetings can inspire each individual, help them commit to your organization and become more dedicated, cooperative employees. To make the most of one-on-one meetings, use them to coach your employees, prepare in advance and set aside at least 30 minutes for each meeting. Use effective coaching questions during these meetings, and after a few sessions, ask for feedback to see if the person considers the meetings worthwhile and how they can be improved.
Organizing the Team for Productivity
A third strategy to become an excellent manager is to organize your team for productivity, positioning it to achieve top results. Many managers micromanage by constantly telling their team members exactly what to do and how to do it. This stifles initiative and creativity, and undercuts productivity. Instead, learn to delegate and trust your people to handle their assignments professionally. Don’t set goals for your team. Work with individual team members to plan their own goals and work activities. Meet with your boss to discuss your pivotal professional goals and how you and your team can achieve them. Assemble your team members to discuss these goals and how they fit in with the organization’s objectives.
A fourth strategy to become an excellent manager is to make sure everyone on your team is receptive to and values feedback. Giving and receiving objective feedback is crucial for personal and professional growth. As a manager, it is important to provide quality feedback to your team members and solicit feedback from them about your work as a manager and about the company. Feedback should be constructive, actionable, specific and sometimes tough. But also avoid harshness. Regard feedback as coaching, and use it to boost and help your team members. Never put them down. Emphasize “reinforcing feedback” that recognizes and affirms positive behavior. Incorporate this practice into your daily management routine by telling your team members that in the future, the team will put a premium on giving and receiving feedback.
Guiding Team Members Through Change
A fifth strategy to become an excellent manager is to guide each of your team members through events that affect them. Change is constant and ubiquitous. It may include promoting or laying off employees, bringing in new leaders, merging with another company, or coping with new software and work requirements. Prepare your team members for change and guide them through its hazards and opportunities, including corporate change initiatives. No matter what change brings, help your team remain productive. To do this, use the Change Model, which helps managers understand the stages and managerial ramifications of change as they move through its four “zones”.
Managing Time and Energy Wisely
A sixth strategy to become an excellent manager is to use your limited time and energy wisely. Gallup reports that almost two-thirds of workers worry about “professional burnout.” To boost your energy level and your team members, tap into “five energy drivers”. The amount of energy you have during your waking hours depends on factors like sleep, relaxation, and mental mini-breaks. Make sure to get at least seven hours of good sleep nightly, practice yoga and meditation to help calm you for sleep, and engage in activities that reduces stress and promotes relaxation such as deep breathing and mental mini-breaks. Additionally, keep learning new things to keep your mind active and build energy.