Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great Employees Result from Great Management

Every manager has experienced firsthand the woes that come from dealing with bad employees. Maybe they’re unmotivated in their efforts, disruptive to your team, or highly combative when you speak to them. Sure, you’ve tried time and time again to correct their behaviors but ultimately have to say “goodbye” and let them go. No matter how many times this happens it always stings. 

So what’s a manager to do? You don’t want to have to micromanage your team members and you certainly don’t want to be “the bad guy” who has to constantly tell them they need to improve their attitude or work efforts. While assembling an exemplary staff of dedicated workers isn’t the simplest job in the world, it is one that is far easier to accomplish than most managers realize. The following are just a few practices managers can use to help them create and maintain the workplace dream team they’ve always wanted.

#1: Hire Only the Best (You Deserve It!)

Many companies tend to look at their first pool of potential hires as though they are the only people they might employ. Although most businesses post job openings with intentions of filling a position quickly, rarely does a hasty hire lead to a model employee. Instead of rushing through your hiring process and selecting the best candidate out of a handful of mediocre ones, take the time to conduct the sort of interviews and tests performed by staffing agencies.

Involve candidates in as many interviews as you deem necessary, and then have them evaluated by your colleagues or team leaders. If you feel that a candidate isn’t the best possible hire you could make, then say “thanks but no thanks” and move on to other possibilities. There are plenty of candidates to go around! Never be afraid to let a position remain open for application if you are unsatisfied with all the applicants. Your company deserves quality employees, not convenient ones.

#2: Regular Feedback + Support = Consistent Motivation

Do you remember when you did an amazing job in school as a kid and your mom put your report card on the refrigerator for everyone to see? Weren’t you swelling with pride? Didn’t you want to work hard to earn that attention again? Take a moment to think about that: The acknowledgement of a job well-done makes a person want to continue to do high quality work.

While a note on your break room fridge isn’t going to get someone to put in extra hours, occasional feedback and response to hard work will always encourage employees to apply themselves further. Even if what you have to say isn’t exactly “congratulations” or a pat on the back, you should always let your employees know how well they are doing. Even criticism (when given correctly and politely) is better to give than a cold shoulder.

#3: ALWAYS Be Available!

This brings us to you as a manager. You should always be visible to your team members and interacting with them regularly. Too many managers make the common mistake of sitting in their offices for eight hours a day with their doors closed. This conveys many things and they’re all negative: you’re too busy to be bothered; you’re different from everyone else and deserve preferential treatment; you’re not a part of the team unless a problem arises. Obviously, all these beliefs are going to be counterproductive to having an efficient and well-run team.

Instead of locking yourself away from your team and making employees feel shut off from you, try these approaches:

  • Leave your door open so you’re seen as being available.
  • Talk to your team members in person when problems come up. This makes you approachable when they have issues on their end.  
  • Learn about each of your employees. If you can strike up a short conversation over topics such as their fantasy football league they’ll feel more able to talk to you. 
  • Hold important meetings in rooms other than your own office. This keeps you active and visible throughout the building.

Finally, you should take the time to have regular one-on-ones with your team members. Aside from giving you an opportunity to check up on their assignments and important projects, these brief meetings allow you to give the feedback they need to do a better job and feel motivated.

Even though your team may be composed of many, many people, you must always realize that you are essential to keeping the group moving efficiently and enthusiastically.  A great team is the result of a group effort, but you are its foundation. Be picky with hires, be open with your feedback, and be an active part of your team. With these behaviors in place, you’ll find your dream team is being formed, one step week at a time.

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