5 Ways To Boost Your Performance As A Manager

Would you like to learn 5 quick and easy tips that can boost your effectiveness as a Manager?

Here are 5 top tips on how you can boost your personal effectiveness as a manager without attending a management training course. When you consistently apply these tips for ten consecutive days, you’ll soon begin to notice very positive changes and improvements.


Tip 1. ENSURE THAT YOU ACTIVELY EQUIP, ENABLE AND ENCOURAGE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS TO DO A GREAT JOB

time management trainingToo many managers are so focused on the process of getting the job done that they often overlook, or completely forget, about the need to support their people in delivering the outputs required in a structured, (and hopefully) stress free manner. I do hope that this isn’t you?

Finding and taking time to effectively brief your team members on what you expect from them, why you expect it, how you will support them to achieve their targets and goals, and being genuinely supportive, will boost clarity, develop shared responsibility for the delivery of outputs and achievement of goals, and, develop high trust collaborative relationships along the way too.

If you’re thinking that doing this is a little ‘touchy feely’ and not worth investing a little time and focus in, put yourself in your team members shoes. Would you prefer a Manager who tells you what to do, and then doesn’t offer support, or would you prefer a Manager who is more like the example above?

How you support your team (or not) will define whether your team members work with you or against you. It’s quite an easy choice when you think about it, isn’t it?


Tip 2. FOCUS ON THE FEW THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER… RATHER THAN THE MANY THINGS THAT REALLY DON’T!

Many managers wrongly believe that if they haven’t got multiple projects, with conflicting deadlines and a hundred or more emails to deal with, something is wrong. Thinking time, reflection time, planning time, can be viewed as a little strange, even uncomfortable.

In reality, there are just a few things that you need to do that really matter and add value to your organisation. They are preparing, planning, delegating, collaborating and focusing on achieving specific, value adding outputs. I recommend Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people programme to you for more on this subject.

Consider this. How many meetings do you attend through habit or duty, rather than because you add value? Too many I expect. How many times each day is your attention diverted from what you are doing, because your email ‘pings‘ or you simply check it anyway because you’re either bored, or not wanting to feel vulnerable by potentially missing out on something ‘important‘ landing in your inbox?

Switch your email alert to silent and remove any on screen notification too. They are worthless, wasteful distractions that top performing managers learn to ignore and place little value on. Politely decline to attend those meetings where you don’t need to be, but to which you currently go anyway.

Invest a little more in quiet time at, or away from your desk so that you can develop real clarity on what is really important (and why), and what activities are deserving and in positive need of your attention each and every day.

Top performing managers proactively manage their emotional and mental focus and time rather than having time manage them. Will you do it too and begin moving towards the top 1% of managers in your organisation?


Tip 3. LEARN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE SKILLS

emotional intelligence coursesBeing technically competent is a very positive start in your management career. At the very least, if you’re not yet technically competent as a manager, you should consider having a structured personal development plan in place to become competent and confident in your role. This includes the people aspects of management as well as processes and systems.

In the rush to deliver tough targets, many managers unwittingly stop asking their team members how they can support them. The top 1% of managers do exactly the opposite. They continually ask team members ‘What are two things I can do to help you do an even better job?’ and ‘If there were two ways I could support you more effectively, what would they be?’

Simple questions right? But very powerful questions which boost communication, collaboration and trust between you the Manager, and your team members.

If you want to develop and maintain an emotionally engaged, committed and highly motivated team, you need to go first. You need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours, attitudes and standards you want your team members to demonstrate, collectively and individually. It’s not as hard a task as it might sound. In fact, with a little practice, it becomes less awkward and uncomfortable, and develops in to a low maintenance habit with a very positive up-side. Try it for ten days and notice the difference.


Tip 4. DON’T ABDICATE…DELEGATE

You don’t have to do everything and you don’t have to know everything either. Did you know this?

Some managers refuse to delegate tasks to team members because they believe that sharing of information is a loss of power and status. Some managers delegate, but without structure, clarity or agreed support for their colleague, and it can feel more like ‘abdication‘ rather than delegation. Either of these two positions is potentially damaging to your organisation. And they are most definitely potentially damaging to you, your reputation and your personal credibility.

Highly effective managers delegate effectively, viewing the allocation of tasks and projects to colleagues as a value-adding activity. Indeed, when done correctly, delegation can serve to be a powerful trust and team building activity. It develops and spreads skills within and across your team and, allows you, the manager, to focus on doing those few things that really matter while your colleagues feel genuinely supported in developing their skills, expertise and knowledge in specific areas.

Yes, you will be a supportive coach during the delegation process, and you will also share responsibility for the successful delivery of the required output, but you won’t be doing tasks and projects that, properly planned, others can undertake.


Tip 5. REMEMBER TO CATCH PEOPLE DOING THINGS RIGHT

It’s all too easy to catch people doing things wrong and then reprimand them for their errors. After all, the human brain doesn’t enjoy having to deal with people and situations that cause it a headache!

Highly effective managers, as well as addressing inferior, poor or unacceptable performance and/or behaviour, are also adept at catching team members doing things right. They are constantly on the lookout for exemplary performance, that little extra effort, and that fantastically positive attitude that continues to shine through even when potential solutions to a seemingly insurmountable problem are being explored.

Such managers express genuine gratitude to team members who do that little extra, stay late to complete a task or resolve an issue, even though they didn’t have to and weren’t expected to. Do you? If you do, do you do it enough? Do you do it at the right time, for the right reasons, and do you do it authentically?

I am not suggesting you scour your office to provide shallow praise to your colleagues. I am though inviting you to notice the good things that your people do, and this way not only will they appreciate your attention and thanks, you’ll also develop a more loyal team who go the extra mile through personal choice, rather than obligation.

Our extensive research has identified that the top 1% of managers continuously practice the activities you have just read, and their practice pays significant dividends in terms of improved motivation, performance, quality and productivity. Why not give them a go for just ten consecutive days and see how things improve?


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management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

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Decision Making – How To Make Good Decisions

Decision Making Questions You Can Use Today

If you haven’t already encountered this, you will do at some point in your management career. Indeed, you might be doing this already – not making a decision on an important matter.
Indecision Is A Decision

Decision making trainingAt work, there is likely to be an occasion or two when you want to get a decision from someone. It could be a commitment from a person who is performing below par and needs to raise their game, or your boss who has a hundred different decisions to make, and bosses to please, so the decision you require keeps getting delayed.

Here are a few questions you can ask to help someone making a (good) decision.
What information do you require (from me or from elsewhere) to make a decision now/today?’
This question helps the person think about what they need, not what you are offering and helps them be more response-able for their thinking.If you had already made the most appropriate decision on this (subject) what information, data and other factors would you have considered to reach your decision?’
This question puts them in the position of having already made the decision and takes a different thinking position. Acting ‘AS IF‘ is a very effective thinking technique.Could you please help me understand what stops you from making a decision/approving my decision?’
This question helps to unblock thinking and may draw out sensitive information or even a blind spot.If your Manager was advising you of what decision to make that was good for all stakeholders, what would s/he recommend to you?’
This question gets the person to consider what their boss would appreciate and disapprove of. Bear in mind, people often comply with authority, so it’s essential the decision is not made purely on position in a structure chart.
What currently stops you from making a good decision now?’
how to make good decisionsYou may find that their indecision relates to an internal issue such as ‘I’m not feeling confident‘ or ‘If I get this decision wrong, my boss will go crazy‘, or it could be an external decision such as ‘The data I need to make a good decision isn’t yet available‘ or ‘The deadline is still two hours away so I’m going to wait’. When you have identified whether it’s an internal or external motivating factor, you can explore the reason/s in more detail.
What would your most trusted colleague advise you to do if s/he was aware of this situation and your indecision?
This question creates some head space for your colleague. Instead of asking ‘What are you doing to do?’, the question relates to a trusted third-party. When the trusted third-party becomes involved, your colleague will be able to view their situation or predicament more clearly, and with less emotion and fear.
Help People Think For Themselves
An unwillingness to make a decision is a decision in itself. If you are to help people make better quality decisions, and more quickly, you must provide them with the time and space to think for themselves.


Free 2 Week Email Course

free management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our FREE 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

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Communication Skills For Managers

Why To Stop Saying What You Don’t Want

David, a 43 year old, passionate Customer Service Manager led 8 Team Leaders and 94 advisors.

Hitting The Targets But Not Performing Well

And he led them really well. Operational targets were always met and occasionally exceeded, but something wasn’t quite right with his group of Team Leaders. David’s manager, Lisa, couldn’t figure out what it was, but she had a feeling that the Team Leaders weren’t happy, or willing to tell her what their problem was. The number of short-term sickness days within the group of Team Leaders was unusually high when compared to other departments within the organisation.

The Exploration

We were invited to facilitate a 1-2-1 management coaching session with David, and with his genuine approval. The goal was to identify potential sources using the *LAB Profile Questionnaire, and in just 2 hours.

David’s transparency was commendable. Fast-talking, eager to share as much information as he could with us so that he could resolve the ‘problem’, within the thought provoking 2 hour coaching session, David told us everything. Well, in reality, he told us everything within the first 20 minutes; he just didn’t realise it.

Aha..Now I Understand

David hadn’t realised that when he communicated with his Team Leaders, and especially during a busy or stressful period, his communication style and vocabulary changed. And the change was a command and control management style partnered with many ‘What I don’t want is…’ and ‘What can’t be allowed to happen is…’. There were many more examples of how David unwittingly undermined his direct reports, he just did’t have a clue about the impact he was creating with them.

David’s Outcome

Following the coaching session, David invited each of his direct reports to be kind enough to let him know when he was using the language patterns we had identified. This gentle reminder approach to him being coached by the people he led was a fantastic way to encourage his Team Leaders to speak their truth to power, and actually make the experience worthwhile for David, and a little easier for them too.

How About You?

Are you aware of how often you use ‘away from‘ motivator language with your colleagues? If not, you may benefit from listening in to the 5 minute audio below.

We are not saying ‘STOP‘ using away from motivation patterns. Indeed, when balanced with towards motivation patterns they can be extremely valuable in delivering first-class quality outputs and genuinely engaging for colleagues and team members. The skill is – achieving the balance and understanding your impact on others.

 

AUDIO HERE

WHY TO STOP SAYING WHAT YOU DON’T WANT

It’s under Emotional Intelligence Skills


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management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

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Performance Management (Done Very Badly)

Kathy, an under pressure contact centre manager with extremely high standards for herself and expectations of her team to match, was growing increasingly frustrated with one member of her team, Julie.

Kathy believed Julie wasn’t committed to her job, not interested in achieving targets and was taking far too long to complete incoming customer calls. Kathy’s call duration was twice that of the ‘average’ team member.

performance management trainingHaving sought guidance from her Human Resources Manager on how to deal with and resolve her colleague’s performance issue, at 4pm one Friday afternoon, Kathy approached Julie as she signed off her phone for a coffee break and called Julie to an unscheduled one to one meeting. Julie, immediately concerned as to why this meeting had been sprung on her without prior notice or warning, sat nervously and listened to her manager assertively communicate the company’s performance management policy….from the staff manual. Indeed, Kathy presented Julie with her very own personal copy so she could review the contents of the document for herself over the weekend.

Data, Data (and more) Data

Next came the presentation of Julie’s performance statistics on a very colourful A3 size bar chart. Amongst the green and amber, can you guess which colour Kathy used to demonstrate the seriousness of the Julie’s performance issue to her? RED! BIG BOLD, DEEP RED! To strengthen her argument, Kathy took the opportunity to circle performance statistics on the charts which fell below minimum company expectations.

A full fifteen minutes in to this unscheduled, unplanned and perhaps even, unfair meeting, the communication was purely one way traffic. Kathy wasn’t communicating with Julie, she was talking at her. As Kathy quoted company policy, performance management procedures and openly shared her frustration and anger, Julie sat quietly, motionless, with a quiet, calm stare through barely blinking eyes. It appeared Julie had resigned herself to this kind of meeting taking place at some point, even though she had dreaded this moment occurring.

The Loaded Question…Fail!

Then, after taking a deep breath and exhaling deeply and loudly, Kathy asked the question. “What stops you from performing as you’re expected to and as the company pays you to?” A heavily loaded question to which Julie politely, yet assertively responded, “Kathy, when you recruited me you said I would complete a comprehensive induction course to ensure I understood the processes, systems and standards of the job. Have I completed this comprehensive induction course Kathy?” Fear instantly darted across Kathy’s face as the realisation that she had promised a lot, but delivered very little in terms of support for Julie.

Continuing without a response from Kathy, at least a vocal response, Julie, growing in confidence said “You told me I would have a mentor to help me solve problems and become more confident with dealing with customers. Has this mentor been appointed, because I have never met him or her?

The Excuse Survival Technique

Kathy, now being swallowed up in a deep reservoir of panic responded with an attack. “If I have overlooked anything or not supported you as YOU wanted…it’s because my schedule is so busy and that….” Julie, not willing to be diverted from her point interjected “And the one to one coaching sessions YOU PROMISED ME, and that I keep asking you for, where are they Kathy?”

The Storm Clouds Begin To Part

performance management trainingThe somewhat eventful, but rather unproductive ‘performance management’ meeting was concluded shortly after this final question from Julie as Kathy burst in to tears and shuttled off to the toilet to compose herself. The fact that Kathy was the enabler of poor performance had never crossed her mind. But now it had – it changed everything!

The following week, Kathy and Julie met once again, but this time it was a scheduled and well organised meeting. Over the weekend, Kathy had reflected on how she had contributed to Julie’s level of performance. She realised that she hadn’t been an ‘enabler’ of good performance; her preferred ways of thinking, communicating and managing had resulted in her becoming a ‘disabler’. Thankfully, Julie did begin to receive structured support, as did every other member of Kathy’s team.

Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful If…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could share with you that Kathy went on to be a super fantastic manager? Well, she kind of did! She explored how to develop emotional intelligence competencies including self awareness and self management and authentic empathy.

online management training courseAlongside her technical competence, she regularly invited her team members to speak their truth to her. ‘Sugar coating’ bad news and withholding truth is a problem which continues to strangle the life out of organisations, but, Kathy realised how much valuable feedback she just wasn’t receiving simply because her team members thought she would either not listen, completely ignore, or simply reject their comments.

Performance during the next 90 days soared to new heights. Kathy was awarded a more senior management role (taking on a supposedly ‘disengaged group’), whilst Julie was offered a team leader role, but chose to decline the offer as it would take her away from what she loved doing – helping customers.

The Lessons?

  • Performance management is beneficial when done up the management ladder rather than solely downwards. Invite authentic feedback on how you are doing and what you could do even better, from people you trust to be candid with you.
  • When commitments of support are made to employees, but then not delivered, don’t be shocked if they don’t perform at or near their best for you. You are part of the problem; become part of the solution.
  • Appointing people to management roles purely or largely because they were good technicians in a non management role is as ridiculous and delusional as trying to win the National Lottery without buying a ticket. Commit to learning the ‘softer’ side of people management and you’ll soon notice a positive difference.

Does your organisation promote a performance management approach that engages, equips and enables employees at all levels to achieve such a positive outcome as Kathy and Julie did? Or do you prefer to simply send managers on a meaningless performance management training course which simply doesn’t address the key underlying issues?

*The details above are factual however, names of parties involved have been changed. Permission to publish this article was obtained from the parties involved and the employer.


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management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

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