Monday, 2 January 2012

Ten Tips to be an Effective Manager

Tip one:

Delegate don't abdicate... when giving tasks to subordinate staff we need to maintain responsibility for the result (the thing many of us want the least), whilst giving away our authority (the thing many of us want the most). In other words, effective managers do not forget about the task, they follow up to see the desired result is achieved.

Tip two:

When giving instructions confirm understanding by soliciting feedback... the worst three words ever spoken at work are, 'do you understand', 99% of the time to save face the person being instructed will answer yes. We should ask the person being instructed to repeat the instructions in their own words to ensure our message has been understood.

Tip three:

The 80/20 principle, 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers... be wise with your time and focus 80% of your attention on the top 20% of your customers.

Tip four:

The 20/80 principle, 20% of our staff will produce 80% of our results... we should therefore avoid the natural tendency to spend the bulk of our time ‘fixing’ our poor producers. We are better off if we support the top producers, who, because of their competence, are often left to their own devices (and can then feel unnoticed and unappreciated).

Tip five:

Traditional company procedures are viewed as ‘a guide for the wise and the rules of fools’! Being flexible and adaptable in business situations, rather than always following 'the system' in the current complex and fluid climate means we may well benefit if we are prepared to modify our attitudes and take a different course of action to the norm, (easily said however hard to do).

Tip six:

Before answering staff questions, ask them to suggest a solution to the problem... if staff are encouraged to offer their suggestions true mentoring/coaching can begin, plus it's a good way to find new approaches to solving old problems.

Tip seven:

Allow staff to make and learn from mistakes, (within reason)... by allowing mistakes and then coaching to improve performance, 'subordinates' will be more willing to take responsibility. A common tendency to ridicule or 'hit' those who make mistakes is a major reason for the failure of many empowerment programs.

Tip eight:

Manage the in-tray using the "ABC method", split the in tray into 3 piles (A, B & C) then assume there is no B... take B pile items and place them in A or C, then bin the C pile, (or have it filed, if you must). Immediately take at least one positive step on each task in the "A" pile, respond, instruct, seek clarification, or delegate.

Tip nine:

When delegating agree (rather than set) deadlines, if you don't agree a deadline you run the risk of getting a, "I haven't had time yet". By agreeing a deadline the other party has to be up front about their current workload and will have little or no excuse for not performing the task allotted.

Tip ten:

Check progress... confirm progress on tasks delegated to staff or assigned to colleagues. A good formula is to seek a report at "half time" and in the "final quarter".

Note: Better habits makes for better management and it supposedly takes twenty one days to a month to form a habit... best start now!