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The Boss's Manifesto: How To Lead The Best Team You Can

by Editor (editor) , November 30, 2016

We’ll look at not only how you shape your management style, but your employees and the entire business itself.

Being a boss isn’t easy. Nor should it be. It shouldn’t be a job that goes to just anyone. Competence is important, but it’s only the beginning of being an effective leader. Whether you’re an employer or a manager, you are going to have to play a lot of roles and juggle a lot of balls. Here, we’ll look at how you manage all those different duties more effectively and efficiently. We’ll look at not only how you shape your management style, but your employees and the entire business itself.


Lighting the beacon

At the top of the pyramid, one of the most important things you can do is make sure that everyone underneath is on-side with the business. But the truth is that, in a lot of companies, the employees aren’t really sure what that means. Communicating the strategies of the company as a whole is important. But more than that, you should have discussions with your team to help them understand what part they play in that whole. Break the disconnect and help them see why what they do is valuable. If someone feels like part of a team, like their work matters, it makes them a lot more engaged in that work.

Helping them track their day-to-day

Beyond the overall goal of the business, you should also be willing to get down on the front line and take a proper look at what the individuals in your team are doing. You will find that plenty of them aren’t all that sure whether they’re doing a good job or not. So you can help them understand using time tracking software. If they see how productive they are and how effectively they tackle certain tasks, they have a starting point. From there, you should give them reasonable, achievable, and measurable goals on how to improve their performance. When people start to see an improvement in their work, they start to take real pride in it, too.


Help them prioritise too

Of course, rarely is someone’s workload a linear, easily followed line. A lot of people have plenty of responsibilities of their own to juggle. Getting new tasks when they’re in the middle of one can be highly distracting. It can interrupt their day to the point that their productivity really starts to suffer. So you should help employees by teaching them the tools to prioritise their tasks properly. For instance, on top of listing what they’ve been asked to do, teach them to list things they shouldn’t be doing right now. For the highest priority tasks, set deadlines. Deadlines add pressure, but they also add an importance to the task that helps them focus on it rather than the other hundred distractions coming their way.

Create a better role for the worker

Helping people track their day-to-day by using key performance indicators and time tracking software is a good start. It can help them improve, up to a point. If they’re having trouble seeing any more improvements, the problem might not lie with them. It might lie with how they’re fulfilling their role. With the processes themselves. Don’t just look at the employee, look at the job that they’re doing. What tools and skills are they using to fulfil certain tasks? Looking at them together, can you find new tools or new ways that could reduce the amount of effort a task takes of how quickly someone can get it done? This is called systemisation. Systemisation does more than help that individual. It creates a standardised method of approaching that task that future employees can look to. It helps anyone acclimate to a new duty all the quicker.


Ensure the right person is on the right job

When you first hire someone, you’re going to be making sure they’re competent and emotionally suited to the role at hand. You should carry that same approach into how your team approaches new work. Project management software is good for more than just effective communication and tracking deadlines. It helps you keep a look on who exactly is doing what and how effective they are at it. From their progress, you should track the skills they’re suited to compared to the ones they’re not. This way, you can find the right place for them in all future projects.

Show them the path ahead

That’s not to say that your staff is static. That they are incapable of changing their strengths and weaknesses. If that’s true for your team, you need to start changing things. Developing employees is vital to both the business and your team members. It helps you build the leaders of your business for the future. It also gives them the feeling of progression and worth in their own career progress. Without that important feeling that their career is being fulfilled, you will find it very difficult to retain them for long.


Nudge them out of the nest

Training them, whether it’s in hard skills or soft skills, is important. But so is giving them the opportunity to display those skills in a real environment. There’s no point helping someone grow if you’re not going to utilise that growth, after all. Getting the best out of your employees means helping them take on new duties. Delegation shouldn’t just be about tasks off your own plate. It’s about getting your team used to responsibility and helping them step up to the plate. It’s how you identify those who are most ready to take on new positions you might have open. Delegating effectively is about more than giving a new job to take. You need to give that job, highlight its importance with context and determine your standards for success. You should be willing to lend support when necessary, but make sure they’re committed and responsible for the task they’re undertaking.

The thorny subject that is HR

Being an effective boss isn’t just about getting the best out of them. It’s about navigating some of the trickier aspects of leading a team. When it comes to things like conflict and complaints, you cannot be evasive. You have to take things head-on. You need to nip problems in the bud, but be careful of how you do it at the same time. For instance, if you’re holding a disciplinary meeting, it can be a good idea to get someone like HR consultants on your side. Advisors like them can make sure you have an organised, ethical approach to dealing with tricky subjects.


Flexibility goes a long way

As a boss, you want everything to be effective, efficient, and clean. As you strive towards that goal, you might think that changes to how employees do their work is hugely disruptive. You might see nothing but the potential risk involved. However, business never works well if it’s dictated by iron-clad rules that forbid change. Flexibility is what helps you and your team find the most productive and effective methods for everyone involved. Whether it’s opening up to the possibilities of remote working or changing someone’s hours. Not only can it help you find their most effective work methods, but it’s a great way to keep them motivated and happy in their job. Observe how they adapt to changes in their work environment, but be willing to budge a little.

Dealing with the burden of responsibility

One of the most important things you have to realise is that, as a boss, the buck stops with you. Whether it’s a client or someone in a higher position than you, when you’re dealing with displeasure or anger, you have to take responsibility. If there’s a failure in someone’s work, address it with them. But don’t play the blame game. This creates an environment where people are constantly afraid to make mistakes, which hurts the relationship between you and your employees. It also makes them a lot more averse to taking on new responsibilities. At the same time, a boss never takes credit, either. You have to make sure you’re rewarding and recognising those who make the success of the business possible.


Good cop, bad cop

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t criticize your employees. But you should frame it as a way of helping them improve. You shouldn’t be dressing them down for the sake of dressing them down. To that end, it’s always a good idea to play bad cop in private. Doing otherwise is communicating the same thing, but adding on a heaping of potential embarrassment for them at the same time. On the other hand, with praise, you should be public and loud. You should show that good work is appreciated and credit is given where it’s due. This will only foster better standards in the rest of your team.

This might seem like a daunting manifesto to take on, but the benefits these points can have in transforming a business is immeasurable. For most of it, all you have to do is start making the changes and watch the corporate culture change over time. In the end, you’ll be left with a team that is better managed, more capable and happier overall.

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