My first exposure to a management role came at the expense of my current manager (awkward!!) who was being removed due to staff complaining about his bullying type behaviour.
As he tossed his company car keys in my general direction (fuel gauge on empty) he said “Good-luck mate…no matter what you do for them they will never be happy”
Righto, so now what do I do? I had no formal training, there was no induction and in the blink of an eye I was a manager. What is my role? When I arrive on Monday as the ‘new’ branch manager, what are my peers going to expect from me? Everyone seemed happy with my appointment, but was that about me or about the exit of our former leader?
One lesson I learnt very quickly was the heightened level of expectation attached to a title. Now that I am the manager, staff expected me to have all the answers.
I spent my first few weeks steadying the ship, trying to keep things normal and talking with staff about their individual concerns, responsibilities, and expectations. However, I was still unsure on the actual purpose of my role. Am I expected to be a manager, or a leader, or both? Are the staff here to serve me, or am I here to serve them?
I remembered attending a sales training course and learnt how important it is to treat customers on how they want to be treated, not how you want to be treated. So, I decided to adopt this approach and started treating staff like a customer by validating their expectations and providing solutions that supported their needs. Happy staff are productive staff (never a truer word spoken), and building a level of trust and respect with your staff is critical for leaders wanting to influence positive outcomes.
Managers manage tasks, people follow leaders.
Sometimes it may seem tough holding onto good employees, but it really shouldn’t be because most of the simple mistake’s managers make are easily avoided. If you fail to keep your best staff engaged…you won’t be able to keep your best staff.
People leave managers, not jobs.
Here are some leadership suggestions on how to give yourself every chance of retaining your best employees.
· Don't make up stupid rules as a lazy attempt to maintain order. Confront the issues, find the root cause of the problem and deal with the straws.
· Don't treat everyone the same or your best employees will believe no matter how well they perform they’ll just be treated the same as those who do nothing more than turn up.
· Never avoid conflict or tolerate poor performance. If you choose to ignore poor behaviour you are choosing to create cynicism and distrust which drags everyone else down, especially your best staff.
· Always recognise accomplishments (no matter how small) and never underrate the power of a simple pat on the back.
· Care about your people. Check-in regularly, empathise with those going through tough times and work with your staff in a way that shows you genuinely care.
· Share the big picture. Your best staff will care about their work, and what they do each day must have a purpose. When they don’t know your purpose, they’ll find one somewhere else.
· Help staff develop their passion. Providing opportunities to pursue passion improves productivity and job satisfaction. Studies reveal that people pursuing passions at work experience a euphoric state of mind 5 times more productive than normal.
· Make it fun to be at work. If people aren’t having fun at work, you’re doing it wrong. When work becomes fun staff will not only perform better, they will stick around for longer hours and have a longer career.
Managing people can be simple…but never easy.