If there is one workplace problem that managers want to find a way to solve, it would most definitely be the challenge of disengaged employees.
What managers would like to learn how to do would be to understand how to use our manager skills to better motivate employees and how to get more manager training on how to build better relationships with those employees. So the big question is what is the manager factor that is most closely linked to employee engagement? Interestingly enough, the answer turns out to be when employees feel they can trust their manager.
As managers, how can we make this happen?
Ok, so I’m willing to admit it – I’m not perfect.
Yes, I am always working to try to become perfect, but so far I have not been able to even get close to that goal. Most managers would say that they are in the same boat as me. It’s a bit depressing to set out to try to accomplish something and then despite using your manager skills you basically fail at doing it. When this happens, because there is no manager training for dealing with failure a lot of managers tend to throw their hands up and say “oh well”. It turns out that this is not the right thing to do.
Instead, we should all be doing what the U.S. Army does when they have a failure.
Let’s think about your team for just a moment or two.
The people on your team most of the time don’t do things by themselves. Instead, they work with other people on the team in order to accomplish tasks. However, it’s that working together thing that can cause problems. Interpersonal issues can crop up, personalities can clash, and managers (that’s you) despite all of our manager training can provide unclear directions. The result of all of this is that your team members can be left with conflict issues and this can end up stifling your team’s productivity.
What’s a manager to do?
Let’s face it, the job of a manager is very much both team- and direction-focused.
Managers are the ones who need to use their manager skills to set the course, ensure consistency and develop and reinforce core values for their teams. After you get that part of the job taken care of things become considerably easier. The rest of the job is simply to hire great people and get out of their way. In order to be a successful manager, it’s going to take a great team standing behind you.
What can you do to make this happen?
Yea! It’s time to work on a team!
How many times have you heard someone say this to you? As managers of a team, we are expected use our manager skills to lead by example and so we are the ones who are supposed to be able to show our team what it means to work successfully as a part of a team. We’ve all been to the manager training courses where we’ve been taught about the power of working in teams. Sure seems like we should do this all the time, right?
Well, actually not…
How about if we agree to talk about a touchy topic: hugging.
Yep, even in this #Metoo era, the concept of opening your arms up and then enveloping a coworker in a big hug is something that is still done in the workplace. You’d think that all of this would be going away in our ultra-sensitive political climate; however, that is not the case. In fact, there appears to be even more hugging going on at work these days.
What do managers have to do in order to make sure that our embraces are going to be welcome?
No job that any of us have will probably last us for our entire career.
What that means is that we’re all going to be packing up our manager skills and switching jobs at some point in time. This is where things can get a bit tricky because none of us have had any manager training in how to do this correctly. Yes, we may be willing to jump to a new company to take on that shiny new job. However, we need to realize that there are a whole bunch of ways that that a job switch could go wrong.
What’s the best way to change jobs?
Let’s face it.
A big part of the job of being an effective manager is the art of conversation. During an average day, we end up talking with a lot of different people about a lot of different things. It would be fair to say that our conversations have a lot to do with our ability to get things done. However, then there are THOSE conversations. You know the ones that I’m talking about.
Ah, a new job!
When we take a new job we’re doing so because a lot of promises have been made to us. We may have been told that we’ll have a fancy title and they’ve promised us a lot of pay. We’ve been told that we’re being placed in a position of power and that we’ll be able to use our manager skills to have a big influence on the direction of the company. However, when we show up, we discover that what we were told does not match reality.
Should we stay or should we go?
So here’s something that can be difficult for us to deal with: what do you do when you are not #1?
At work, I’m hoping, we all try hard to use our manager skills and do our best. However, there will be times that the people that we are working with, our peers, just simply outperform us. When this happens and when we become aware of it, what is a manager to do? Let us assume that giving up and going home is not an option.
We’d like to hang on to our job, what should we do in this type of situation?
So is there any downside to becoming a manager?
One possibility is the simple fact that it takes time. By the time most of us become managers, we’re not as young as we used to be. What this means is that we find ourselves in a workplace filled with younger people trying to use our manager skills to manage teams made up of younger people.
All of sudden it can be very easy for us to start to feel as though we might not be keeping up. How can a manager deal with this situation?
When we signed up for the job of being a manager, we may not have realized the other things that came along with this job.
One such thing might be the anxiety that being a manager can cause in us. This, of course, bring up the question about just exactly what anxiety is. The dictionary tells us that anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. As managers, no matter what manager skills we have, this pretty much describes every day of our lives.
What can we do to deal with the anxiety that our job creates?
How the members of your team communicate with each other is changing.
There is a new wave of instant messaging applications that is in the process of changing how the members of your team communicate with each other. This change may be causing the older members of your team to scramble in order to keep up.
As a manager, you are going to have to take steps to use your manager skills to make sure that everyone on your team can stay ahead of the changes that are being caused by instant messaging.
So here’s a quick quiz for you.
How many times each day do the members of your team take out their phone and look at them? It turns out that the answer is 2,617 times per day that we all tap, poke, pinch, or swipe our phones. From a manager point-of-view, just exactly how much time does all of this take? The answer is 2 hours and 25 minutes each and every day.
The bad news for you is that most of this is happening while your team members are at work!
As a manager, your goal at work is to get ahead.
You want to be seen as a star performer who gets things done. You want your work to be viewed as being of the highest quality and you want your management to come looking for you when they have a slot open up for promotions. The big question that you are facing is the same one that we are all trying to answer: just exactly what do you have to do at work to be successful?
It turns out that the answer may not be what you think that it should be.
As a manager you are in charge of a team of people who have to do what you tell them to do.
However, at the same time you work for a boss who can tell you what to do. What this means for you (and your career) is that you’d like to be able to use your manager skills to create the best working relationship with your boss that you can. However, the mystery here is just exactly how to go about doing that.
It turns out that it’s pretty easy, you just need to know what steps you need to take.
What’s your plan for getting promoted from the manager position that you currently have?
You’d like to get kicked upstairs, but just exactly how are you going to go about making that happen? A lot of us hope that the quality of the work that we do will speak for us and our bosses will notice us and our manager skills and will then promote us. Good idea; however, all too often it does not work out this way. We need to learn how to “manage up”.
This one skill is the one that will shape your career. Do you know how to do it?
Let’s face it: being a manager can be a very stressful job.
People are always asking us for things and we are trying to do our best to use our manager skills to manage our team. If we are not careful, the stress associated with the job can become so much that it starts to affect our relationships and potentially even our health. Managers need a way to deal with all of this stress and our manager training does not tell us what we need to do. In the past, managers have tried various activities such as skydiving, mountain climbing, and going to the gym.
However, lately a new approach has shown up that can be done in the office: meditation.
Just in case you had not noticed it, the world has changed.
Sexual harassment has been going on in the workplace for a long time and thanks to the #MeToo movement it’s been brought out into the light. There is currently a big uproar going on with new allegations of improper workplace behavior being announced almost every day.
As a manager who is both responsible for using your manager skills to manage a team of both boys and girls as well as working with boys and girls in other departments, the new rules for working in the modern workplace can appear to be quite confusing.
So has your office gone to one of those “open office” floor plans?
According to the really smart people, there are a lot of advantages of this kind of open office design. However, one of the downsides to it is that it can be all too easy for someone to show up unannounced at your desk and interrupt the work that you are doing no matter how good your manager skills are. We want them to go away and just leave us alone to do our work.
In this kind of open office, what can a manager to in order to tell the world that we just want to be left alone?
How much do you talk? Do you talk enough? Or perhaps, do you talk too much?
A key part of the job of being a manager is using your manager skills to deliver good communication. There are a lot of different ways for us to communicate;and talking is one of the most important. However, it turns out that it is entirely possible for us to to do too much talking. When this happens, the people that we are talking to, just start to shut down and stop listening to us.
Do you talk too much?
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.