Being SMART with your management is a sure fire route to success, says John Genge
There are many definitions of management. Mine is very simple: The job of a manager is to create the environment in which each member of the team achieve their own, their team and their corporate goals.
It really is as simple as that, but of course one needs to ensure that those goals are SMART. I mean:
So the first necessity of successful management is to clearly identify and set your corporate goals and then to dovetail your and your team’s goals to ensure congruence. Easy in theory, a little more difficult in practice.
find out how people tick
People “behave” that is, interact with others and their environment in a number of ways. What determines that behaviour is quite easy to analyse if you look at three distinct variables that influence people’s behaviour.
The first one of those is the environment itself. If the environment is hostile, people behave by removing themselves from that environment. If a room is on fire, you get out quickly. If you’re chased by a lion, you run away. You as a manager create an environment. Your moods, your language, the way you talk to your colleagues and team will all make a massive difference to their environment. If you come in miserable and moody each day, that will rub off on them. If you look pleased to be there, talk to them and ask after them, you will be surprised what a difference it makes. Do not underestimate your position as the ‘environment’ for your team and be conscious of the way that you behave in front of them. It makes a big difference.
The second variable is character. Character traits are things that can change, be learned and un-learned and everybody is capable of learning and un-learning them. They include honesty, integrity, conscientiousness, loyalty and of course their opposites. They are generally developed through exposure to environments so the way people are brought up really does make a difference as does the influence of role models and peer groups. So, to get the most positive character traits, walk the talk, be open, communicate with people and don’t let there be a shroud of secrecy. Avoid duplicity, scotch rumours and get conflicts out
in the open as soon as they arise. Moreover, admit freely when you are wrong. Tell your team if you don’t know something, but agree to find out and get back to them.
And lastly there’s temperament. Temperament traits are much more permanent and harder to change. They include dominance, cooperativeness, sociability, objectiveness, impatience, attention to detail and compliance. We all have differing levels of all of the above and there is no right or wrong, good or bad but clearly, the possession of some of these traits, but not others, will be advantageous for some jobs.
It is therefore a useful tool to use personality profiling which is very good at measuring and analysing these traits. You won’t necessarily change the person, but you will know what you’re dealing with and be better able to manage them. Great appraisal tools such as Mc Quaig, DISCUS and many more are there to be used, but they are only helpful when used properly.
There is absolutely loads written on this subject and I urge you to study further but, in a nutshell, common mistakes are made because some managers struggle to understand how motivation works. After all, it is not commonly taught anywhere. Be mindful:
Money is a very short term motivator. It can also be a big de-motivator particularly if you mess with peoples’ payplans.
Threat of sacking, demotion or other discipline will rarely motivate. It leads inevitably to energy wasted watching your back or playing safe.
Lack of feedback is one of the worst forms of demotivation.
Motivators are something completely different. To fully understand why motivators work I recommend you read a summary of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but the most pertinent points relevant to management are:
People’s need to belong ie to be part of a group and be valued within that group
People’s need for self esteem and recognition
People’s need to fulfil ambitions and achieve their potential
Study these closely and you will quickly realise what you need to do to motivate your team and indeed, yourself. In particular:
Regular team meetings ensure that there is a strong team identity which everyone can associate with. They need only to be a few minutes, but they need to happen frequently.
Give feedback and if it is negative, show support and explain how improvement can be made, but try also to find an excuse for praise. As I often say, catch them doing it right.
A simple thank you or well done costs nothing and will put a spring in someone’s step all day long.
Set people a challenge that is achievable for them but tough. It will make them raise their game.
Communicate. Don’t keep plans secret, get everyone’s input and commitment. Tell them why as well as what.
There is so much on this subject and I often spend a whole day on training just
this aspect of management alone. It is so vitally important that I urge you to make some time to do a little reading. Please check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and take some time to read Steven Covey’s 7 Habits. It really will enlighten you and improve your management skills.