There’s thousands of books written about it, there’s hundreds of courses talking about it, but whatever you may have been told, managing employees doesn’t need to be complicated, because at the simplest level it just comes down to human nature. And although human nature can be complicated, our motivations are really pretty simple.
Of course, that may sound a little glib, and what’s easy for one manager who’s a natural with his team, may be like pulling teeth for someone else. Hence the attempted systemisation of effective management through books, courses, and coaching, in an attempt to make all managers of all abilities effectively lead their team.
So let’s quickly run through a few tactics that can help make managing employees easier, and improve their performance at the same time:
Personalised Yet Consistent Management
If you treat every employee exactly the same way, you’ll quickly see that what works for one doesn’t work for another. Although we may all have similar motivations, how we respond to people and situations is very different. So attempting to systemise management to such an extent that all the humanity is taken out of it and the whole process could be done by a robot may work with some employees but not with others.
Now, policies must be consistent otherwise it can cause resentment, motivation issues, and people playing politics. But a lot of management is about how the employee feels, and you can’t systemise empathy!
Creating Positive Motivation
As you work with employees, it will be clear to see that different employees are motivated by different things. Some are very ambitious and money orientated, so the promise of a pay rise may be all it takes for them to take their work and their focus to the next level. Whereas other employees may be far more concerned about culture and how they enjoy their work day and the office environment. So this again comes back to personalised management, and also creating a culture that works with employees in a way they positively respond to.
Keeping Employees on Target
Goals are important. Many people may float through life, but that approach just isn’t possible with business, otherwise deadlines would be missed left and right, projects would go wrong, and clients would leave. So having clear goals, reasons for those goals, and achievable time frames will help keep employees focused, accountable, and keep business projects on target. But these days, for all aspects of employee management and motivation there’s software to help take much of the guesswork out of the process. These cloud HR systems almost work like your own private HR department and can help to keep track of employee targets.
Praise and Feedback
People want to be praised and want positive feedback. As long as it’s genuine, it makes people feel good and helps to motivate them. People want to feel valued. That said, criticism and correcting people will be necessary in business, but approaching that side of management effectively and in a constructive way is a very important skill, that may take some time to acquire.
Being Accessible (Within Reason)
As a manager, you need to make yourself accessible to staff, but perhaps not too accessible. Your team need to feel comfortable coming to you with questions, but perhaps only at certain times (unless it’s truly urgent). As you also have your own work to do, if you are unable to do this it can negatively impact the team as a whole. Plus, putting a little distance between you and your team does sometimes force them to find answers themselves, rather than just depending on you, which can help your team grow. So balance is required here.
These five tactics can make a huge positive difference, but as you can see management is very much an art form. This is why effective managers are still, and will continue to be, in demand.