Every year when New Year’s rolls around we are all encouraged to use our manager skills to set goals for the upcoming year.
Most of us actually do this and then we use those goals to guide us as we plan our work. The best part of all of this is occasionally we just happen to achieve one of our goals! The big question is how does this success make you feel? Sometimes achieving a goal can leave us down in the dumps, feeling blue, not happy at all.
What’s up with this and what can we do to prevent it?
When we start a new manager job, things can be quite frustrating.
Where we were previously had probably allowed us to occupy leadership roles. When we now find ourselves in a powerless position at the bottom of the organization ladder no matter what manager skills we have, it can be all too easy to start to think about switching jobs.
The question that managers need to be able to answer is how can we gain power when we are starting out with none?
So what’s the worst thing that could happen to you as a manager?
The list of things could be quite long, but I think that we could all agree that finding yourself trapped in a job that you don’t like would have to be close to the top of the list. We can probably make this just a little bit worse if we made it so that you had just accepted a new job only to discover that despite your manager skills, you didn’t like it.
What’s a manager to do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation?
In order to manage the best team, you have to have the best team.
What this means is that one of your responsibilities as a manager is to use your manager skills to recruit the best team possible.
During times when the job market is tight, this can be a real challenge.
As a manager, we meet a lot of people.
What this means for us is that we are responsible for a lot of first impressions. Although we may not spend a lot of time thinking about it, it turns out that those first impressions often shape how people choose to interact with us. We’d like all of our first impressions to be positive, but our manager skills really don’t give us all that much control over them.
One of the biggest problems that we run into is the simple fact that most people’s first impressions are wrong.
More and more companies are starting to realize that if they want to get the most out of their employees, they are going to have to get employees from different departments to work together.
It turns out that this can be difficult to do. How is a manager going to use their manager skills to get extroverted sales people to work with introverted IT staff? How can creative types work with detail orientated budget types?
Making this happen is a new task that managers are going to have to get good at.
It goes without saying that the #metoo movement has resulted in the downfall of many formally powerful men: Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer.
Clearly there were a lot of very bad things going on in the entertainment industry. As managers we need to understand what the impact of all of this is going to be on our work environments. Is it going to result in tougher polices towards office romances or changed attitudes?
What’s a manager to do?
So let’s face it. Talking about someone ending their own life is never a pleasant discussion. However, as a manager you need to be prepared to deal with this kind of event if someone on your team decides to take their own life.
If we can step away from the hard and cold fact that you will now have to replace someone on your team, you need to understand that when somebody commits suicide, it’s going to have a ripple effect on your organization.
Just about the only thing that could make this even worse would be if they decided to end their life while at work.
How’s that manager job going for you? Are you finding that you can use your manager skills to have enough time to get all of the things that you need to get done, done? If you are like most of us, the answer is no.
You go into the office each day with a well made “to-do” list and then you come home at night with most of that to-do list still undone. What’s going on here? What’s going on is that life is knocking you for a loop. It’s all of the little things that need to be done every day that are preventing you from doing the bigger things that need to be accomplished.
How can a manager get more done?
So here’s some bad news for managers: right now employee turnover (employees who leave) is currently at an all-time high. What this means for you is that your team is at risk.
If you don’t find a way to use your manager skills to keep the members of your team happy and engaged in their job, then guess what – they are going to leave. If they leave, then all of a sudden your life just got a lot more complicated as you are going to have to spent a great deal of money to try to replace them.
There has to be an alternative to all of this.
As a manager, you will always be asked to do more things. On top of what you have already signed up to do, people will drop by your cube, catch your arm in the hall, and corner you in meetings and will come up with additional things to add to the already full plate of tasks that you have in front of you.
It can be all too easy for us to deal with these situations by simply saying “I’ll do that”. Do this enough, and all too quickly you’ll discover that you are now juggling too much for any one person to get done.
When this happens, you need to start to use the greatest skill that a manager has: focus.
With a little luck, most of us spend our time trying to become good managers. However, we realize that the world has a number of different types of managers in it and this means that there are both good managers and bad managers out there.
It turns out that one of the main reasons that employees leave a firm is because they find themselves working for a bad manager.
Although we don’t want to become bad managers, it might be useful to take a close look at what manager skills bad managers use to drive employees away so that we don’t find ourselves doing these things.
Oh my goodness – can you believe just how hard it is to find the right person to join your team?
I mean think about it: we craft the perfect job description, wade through a pile of resumes, use our manager skills to interview far too many people by phone, invite a few in to take up our day and meet with us, and then finally make someone an offer. If we get lucky and they are still available and are still interested in working for our company, then perhaps we’ve found the next person to work for us.
However, then comes the most difficult part of the process which is the one that we’ve had no manager training for: convincing them to not quit.
Can anyone remember going to kindergarten? Way back then life was a lot simpler. We all had a set of rules that were given to us on how to behave (say “thank you”, be kind to others, listen to what the teacher has to say, etc.). Now perhaps not everyone followed each of these rules all of the time, but at least we all knew what the rules were and could always refer back to them.
Now move forward into the future in which we are now living. Incivility and it’s close cousin bullying are becoming a bigger issue in the workplace.
What is a manager to do?
So congratulations, as a manager you are already a leader. However, if you are like most of us you could probably become a better leader.
If you took the time to take a look at all of your manager skills, where do you think that your biggest leadership challenge lies? The way that you can identify this is by spending some time thinking about where you’ve had the biggest challenges – communications? Hiring? Team performance?
It turns out that there are three traits that define managers who are good leaders. Perhaps we should be working on getting some manager training and improving all of these…?
As a manager, you are responsible for using your manager skills to manage a team of professionals. This means that you have to spend time with each member of your team in order to make sure that they have a good understanding of where they want their career to go and how they are going to achieve it.
At the the same time, you need to have a good understanding of where you want your career to go.
Likewise, once you know what you want, you’re going to have to know how you can go about making it happen.
So what kind of workplace do you work in? No, I’m not asking about the kind of furniture you have, what the view out the window looks like, or how comfortable the chairs are. Instead, what I’d like to know is just exactly how toxic is it?
Surveys have been taken that reveal that 64% of people reported that they were currently working with someone that they considered to be toxic. A whopping 94% said that they had worked with someone who was toxic at some point in their career.
It looks like we may have a problem that has to be solved by a manager here using your manager skills.
The way that most work gets done is when we create a team of professionals, tell them what needs to be done, and then send them off to accomplish it. However, that is not always what happens.
We’ve all had experiences with teams that we’ve used our manager skills to build that have struggled to accomplish their goals, have fought with each other, and generally have not gotten along very well. We know what failure looks like.
What can a manager do in order to boost the chances that a team that he or she is responsible for will be a success?
So how are things going for you at work? Are you getting along with everyone – especially your boss? Or are you starting to get left out of meetings that you used to get invited to? Are the people that you work with starting to become cool towards you? Has your boss stopped having conversations with you?
Bad things may becoming your way and you may not even realize it…
In the day-to-day activities of a manager, most of us really don’t spend all that much time thinking about our company’s corporate culture. However, it turns out that it really does matter. If your company has a bad corporate culture, then it’s going to have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line results, its reputation, and in the end, recruitment. It sure seems as though managers need to start spending some time using their manager skills to look into how they can improve the company’s culture.