Being a great manager isn’t something that naturally happens as soon as you get promoted into the role. It’s a blend of the art and science of working with people that keeps your employees happy and productive, and produces consistent results for the organization. That’s where my Mindful Management Framework comes in.
A framework helps to put structure to something that is abstract, and make it adaptable in a variety of circumstances. When you put it all together, you’ll be coming up ACES:
There are four key components of the Management Framework:
Let’s break each one down.
Great managers must be flexible, likable, and approachable – it’s critical to building a strong relationship with your employees and will be evident in the bottom line results you are able to achieve with them. Understand that a one size does not fit all does not work when it comes to managing people since each of your employees has unique needs and workplace styles. What works for one style might be a colossal failure with another. Make sure you understand the workplace styles on your team, and adapt your managerial approach and behavior to meet them in the middle.
Tips & Tricks To Help You Adapt:
To be able to adapt your approach to your team, first you need to leave what your own workplace style is. For that, we love the Everything DiSC Profile. It’s a freakishly accurate tool that is easy to understand and can be applied in any workplace or situation. Here’s how to get started:
- Take the Everything DiSC Workplace Profile to learn about your unique workplace style, and get customized tips for how to approach people with different styles.
- If you want a more management-centric tool, the Everything DiSC Management Profile takes the information in the workplace profile to the next level and applies it specifically to your management style.
Once you’ve taken it, maybe you want to roll it out to your team. Contact Zen Workplace to learn more.
Great managers communicate comprehensively and transparently on a one-on-one level to their direct reports, cohesively to the teams they manage, and across the organization to stakeholders who interact with and expect results from their team members to manage expectations and remove obstacles. When this is done well, you’ll build trust between you and your team by making sure they have the information they need, are aligned in goals, and ensure obstacles are removed from their way.
Tips & Tricks To Help You Communicate:
- Hold weekly one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports religiously. In those meetings, take time to go through first their list of updates, and then discuss yours. Use it as a chance to make sure they know everything that might impact their work directly or indirectly that’s happening around the organization.
- If you manage a team of people, make sure each has a solid, transparent understanding of the goals that the others are held accountable to. Minimally hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and that goals are clear across the board. Make sure you’re cultivating an environment on your team that supports vulnerability-based trust by encouraging tough conversations and “productive” conflict – foundational attributes to the most cohesive teams.
- It’s your job to communicate across the organization with individuals who work with your team to make sure their expectations are managed and obstacles are removed. You are your team’s first line of defense. Use the same tools you used to adapt to your team and apply them the stakeholders you work with cross-collaboratively for better results.
Great managers hire great people and then trust them to do a great job. Your employees are going to fail sometimes…and that’s OK. Make sure to turn that failure into a learning experience and a teaching moment so that they do better next time. Empower your staff by developing their professional abilities through education, mentoring, coaching, and delegation.
Saddled with employees that you inherited instead of hired? Give them the benefit of the doubt anyway. Remember, they may have their own baggage with their former manager that could be effecting their performance as much as their ability. If that’s the case, it’s going to take a little more time to gain their trust. But stay the course – people can do amazing things with the right leader.
Tips & Tricks To Help You Empower:
- Engage in positive proactive coaching with your employees! Coaching is usually something we think of in a negative sense (e.g. when HR wants you to “coach” someone before you can fire them) but it’s one of the most valuable tools you have in your management toolbox. Do it in conjunction with your weekly one-on-one meetings – work together to come up with a skill to develop, brainstorm on the resources available, give them time for individual execution, and then come back to access your results. Repeat this cycle consistently with different tactics or goals for a positive proactive coaching practice.
- Delegation of responsibilities is key to empowerment, because it helps your employees develop their skill sets, but it’s also just smart management of resources. When you delegate tasks down to your employees, you allow the organization to accomplish the same results at a lower price point and free yourself up to take on higher dollar value tasks. You also create built-in succession planning. When you delegate, make sure to do it in conjunction with proactive coaching to set your staff up for success.
- Make sure you look for additional growth opportunities for your staff. Whether it’s sending them to an industry conference or finding them an internal mentor, consider it one of your professional responsibilities to cultivate the talent on your team and help them flourish.
Great managers support their people in a number of different ways – you co-create realistic and challenging goals they will be held accountable to, make sure they have the resources (financial and otherwise) they need to achieve those goals, provide positive and constructive feedback to improve their chances of success.
Tips & Tricks To Help You Support:
- Utilize SMART goals to hold your team accountable. Format goals so that they meet each of the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
- Make sure your team has the resources to achieve the goals you are holding them accountable for, including human resources and budget. Involve your direct reports in this process and make sure you understand their perspective on what they need to get the job done. If the organization is unwilling to provide those resources, make sure the goals are adjusted accordingly – you can’t give a person 50% of what they say they need and have a reasonable expectation that they will achieve 100% of the goal.
- Give your staff both positive and negative feedback to guide their behavior and set them on the right path for success. The key word in that sentence is “behavior” – focus on what they are doing (not what they are thinking) and how those actions impact the others. For example “When you show up late to a meeting, you throw off the entire agenda for the team. Can you please make it on time in the future?” or “When you deliver a project early, it really helps the team out by giving them a few extra days to look it over. Keep it up.” Feedback doesn’t have to be drawn out – it’s just a statement that sets up an expectation for what future behavior should look like.
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