Post No.: 0849
Organisations are made up of people – you have your money, and you have your people. Human resources are usually one of the largest costs as well as assets hence the well-being and productivity of staff ought to be paramount. Good managers are therefore critical – they say you don’t leave an organisation more than leave a terrible manager! Good managers bring their teams together, motivate everyone, care about everyone’s individual development, help them understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of their jobs, and help teams adapt to new challenges. Since management is about people – it’s about psychology.
Have you ever thought it’d take longer to explain a task than to do it yourself, and that others simply aren’t competent enough to do it? There must be trust between leaders, managers and employees in order to promote a shared vision and high productivity. Without trust – insecurity and gossip spreads, decisions are second-guessed, and cliques and unhealthy conflicts can form.
Delegating tasks that stretch a team member slightly will help them to develop new knowledge and skills, and also allow you to concentrate on the more vital tasks that only you can do to the required standard as a manager. It’ll optimise the use of staff and widen the ownership of the company mission. Furthermore, trust others and you’ll be reciprocally trusted. It leaves you vulnerable, but managers must have courage, sound judgement and faith in others.
Account for your own abilities and time constraints, and consider delegating tasks you may consider too easy. Don’t delegate tasks involving confidentiality or sensitivity however.
Delegation is decided according to the urgency and importance of the work in question. Tasks with high urgency and high importance need to be done both quickly and thoroughly. Do these yourself now. Tasks with high urgency and low importance need to done quickly but only require a small amount of time to achieve an acceptable result. Consider delegating these to someone, perhaps new, as a development opportunity. Tasks with low urgency and high importance need to be done thoroughly because they’re crucial to achieving your job purpose. Consider delegating these to a ‘safe pair of hands’ but do schedule a completion time. And tasks with low urgency and low importance can be left for the moment because they’re peripheral to your core purpose. Delegate these but do schedule a future completion time and keep an eye on them.
To build trust – role model the values you want to see in others. Be authentic, transparent and honest in your communication. Show respect, fairness and actively listen. Build an inclusive culture that doesn’t focus on personal success, status or ego before the team’s success. Mutually support, be less judgemental and blame less. Keep your promises and commitments. Be competent in your job. And show appreciation. Woof!
Empower people to think for themselves rather than merely act as followers. Move the authority to where the information is (e.g. the till staff know best about how the customers feel). Give control and create leaders in others.
Often people move into management, develop a particular style, then stick to it. But good managers understand that there’s seldom ‘one size fits all’ because different people and contexts (including cultural) require different approaches. You’ll at least need to vary your management style to suit the competence and experience of your team. For instance, new workers will be more dependent on your direction, advice, guidance and explicit instruction hence you’ll need to be more involved with and expect less from them; whereas with experienced workers it’s the opposite. Therefore, as a worker gradually gains more experience, competence and confidence, your management style with them should also adapt – by delegating more and more to them (with regular monitoring and reviews to catch any mistakes before serious ones occur), and by shifting towards developing their career, expanding their role or honing working practices. Well all workers at every level should have their skills continually coached and developed.
Good managers spend time getting to know people more personally. They genuinely listen, to the quiet as well as the loud. Receive a message, show appreciation for it, summarise it, and ask questions about it. Care about your people – thank them when they’re doing well and show compassion when they’re struggling. Good managers also share information rather than hoard it. They’re often storytellers who weave narratives about the shared organisational vision.
With increased remote or hybrid working – the people and their work are more crucial than the hierarchy, and managers need to be more people-focused and flexible. Managers need to ensure the effective coordination of tasks and task-related communication through objective-setting and monitoring, and avoid the proximity bias towards those who are physically present in the office.
As the labour markets change, the recruitment process changes too. Political and wider economic factors include things like leaving/joining an economic union and migration policies. An ageing working population, due to insecure pensions, requires a different approach to management. Traditional roles and ways of working can change due to new technologies like remote working technologies. Today’s employees are more willing to move jobs (or are more pushed into finding better jobs) in search of new opportunities, thus employee retention is important. Many organisations pay extra to attract or train employees where there are skills shortages. By understanding the context in which your business operates, you can learn how strong the labour market is in your industry, which skills are readily available, and what you may need to offer to attract the right workers. If a sector is competitive, you’ll need to be proactive in finding the right people, including getting your brand name out there within the market.
A PESTLE analysis can be used at any time by anyone to assess a business’s external influences, in order to foresee future challenges, plan and make strategic decisions. These external influences can be broken down into political (e.g. government tax policies, trade deals or restrictions, tariffs, political instability), economic (e.g. inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, working hours and minimum wages, the cost of living, availability of credit, unemployment, globalisation), social (e.g. cultural norms, trends and expectations, population growth, age demographics, career attitudes, work-life balance), technological (e.g. AI, automation, innovation), legal (e.g. laws, regulations, quotas, local laws) and environmental (e.g. climate change, resource depletion, sustainability, ethical sourcing) factors.
Many recruiters look for candidates with the right attitudes, behaviours and values first and foremost, since technical skills can always be taught, especially if one’s attitude to learning and growing is strong. (CDRILS for the military may be a decent guide for you – courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment.) You don’t have to find the best people as much as bring out the best in people. Lay out clearly what the team should be aiming for and see what a candidate may contribute to advance this goal and how enthused they are about it. Talk about the team and its ambitions so that the candidate is clear about what they’re coming in to do and how they can add to the group to make it more successful. Introduce them personally to the team before offering them the job.
Building a team with a diversity of complementing skill sets, backgrounds and ideas may be important too, hence it’s not necessarily about always hiring the same type of people for a role. (There’s therefore sometimes a tension between searching for people who’ll fit into the present organisational culture yet will offer diverse viewpoints.)
A terrible recruitment experience will reflect badly on the company, so line managers and HR teams must, for instance, ensure that a job description is accurate and not misunderstood, that all interviewees are asked the exact same questions in the exact same way in order to be fair, and feedback should be offered to all unsuccessful candidates. Job adverts and descriptions must avoid discrimination. Avoid overselling or underselling the role, vague terminology (like ‘hard-working’, ‘lively’ or ‘good sense of humour’) or unnecessary/unexplained jargon. Do make clear and concise your description of the duties and responsibilities, the role’s purpose within the organisation, and who needs to work with this role; and ensure the qualifications and levels of experience you request are relevant and truly necessary for the role so that you don’t exclude suitable talent. You might have in mind the kind of person you think would be perfect for the role, but you must be aware of your biases, like their gender, age or personality type.
The job description could be the first thing a prospective employee sees about your business – so make a quality first impression with it. Make it an easy flow for a candidate to check whether the role is right for them. What’s essential or merely desirable? Use action-oriented ‘doing’ words (like supporting, overseeing, delivering, developing) but avoid detailing the ‘how’ and focus on the broader ‘what’ so that they can envision themselves in the role as they would do it, not as how someone else does it. An excellent job description will let a prospective employee know whether the role is right for them and whether they can truly see themselves working for the organisation and being successful with you. Remember that recruitment is two-way – why should someone join your team and work for you? What’s the biggest attraction? It cannot just be the pay. So think from their perspective. What assumptions might they have made about your company based on what they already know about it?
Once hired, employees should be given a great induction to welcome them in, help them settle in, integrate and perform effectively in their job. A bad induction will immediately lower morale and could result in them leaving, which means the recruitment process will need to be restarted. The 3 main phases are onboarding (to engage and motivate the new recruit before their first proper day at work), induction (to sort the paperwork, give an orientation of the facilities and IT, talk health and safety, talk data security practices, introduce them formally to their team and organisational ways of working), and socialisation (ongoing activities where they get to know and connect with their colleagues, other key staff and stakeholders better). You’ll want to get them up to speed as quickly as possible, yet they’ll need enough time and space to process all the new things they’re learning. The training will need to be paced well, not crammed.
Like with most things here – what the induction should entail and how long it should last will depend on the type of role, the background of the new employee, and the size and nature of the organisation; plus you’ll be learning something each time so that you can improve the processes for the future. One size won’t fit all and what’s needed should be tailored for each new starter. Include feedback opportunities for and from each recruit, and ultimately make it a two-way exercise that involves interaction, discovery and conversation. See induction as an ongoing process, not a one-off event.
Remote and hybrid inductions have been a new challenge, but a couple of tips are to turn the floor-walk orientation into a tour of the virtual work-environment and online ways of working, and to visually group colleagues by their team/function otherwise they’ll just blend together since there’s no physical reference to which department they belong to when everyone just appears in a box on the screen.
Current employees may suddenly depart so succession planning is about identifying and developing talented employees to fill key business positions in the future. So understand the key personnel in your team and consider the risk and impact if they suddenly leave. Can others make up for their vacancy for a while? Is it about the people or the role? How quickly and easily can they be replaced? Is internal knowhow of the organisation an essential requirement?
Woof. These are just some crucial responsibilities of good managers.