Managing Employees One Person at a Time
Managing people effectively is not so much about “style.” It is about what is the right approach to a given employee and circumstance. Management skills are at the heart of this issue. I saw a post recently where a manager asked about whether to use the “country club style” (apparently a “soft approach”) in the current economy?
Does anyone know why this is the wrong question?
This is the wrong approach because trying to apply a “style” is manipulative and could be a totally wrong way to manage in a given circumstance. Each employee is different, and different in various circumstances. Someone who usually does alright in normal circumstances may struggle under more stressful situations. Likewise, a manager may be effective and comfortable as a “directive manager” but find themselves in a creative challenge.
The whole skill set of management technique in running a business unit is very detailed. We can start here with a few basic principles to guide a managers thinking.
Two Perspectives on Managing Your People
1. Task/assignment circumstances. A basic precept of managing is to know the circumstances under which you are managing. This allows for effective delegation. If, for example, you are assigning a normal task but to an inexperienced employee, you may want your “communication-demeanor” to be more directive. You are specific, direct, to the point and detailed with the new person. Conversely, if the task does not have a known solution or road map, and your are managing a more experienced employee, the manager may assign more authority or have a pre-assignment brainstorming session. Here the manager and employee explore options and then decide on a course of action.
2. Employee Traits & Characteristics. Everyone is unique. They have certain background, experience skills and personality. the top managers learn as much as possible about each employee on their team and manage with this framework. In our E-Book, Management By Delegation, we talk about delegating through the lens of the employee. Try to see their view of what they are asked to do and the experience this employee has had in similar circumstances. Place the “unique employee” into the “unique circumstance of the assignment”. Then delegate and manage them with this dynamic at play.
Successful management is not about applying some cookie-cutter style. Management is about developing the complete set of skills and techniques so that the manager can adapt to the specific assignment, circumstances and employee characteristics. this is what makes for top management and builds high-performance teams.
Additional Management Resources
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