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The 10 Commandments of Management

1. Thou shalt make time for your employees – it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the very moment they request it; however, you owe it to them to schedule a time if they need to meet with you about something that is important to them.

2. Thou shalt make eye contact during this meeting – when you have set aside time to meet with your staff, it is imperative that you are not checking email or focusing on your smartphone. You need to give your employee(s) your undivided attention. Anything else sends the message to the employee that they are not important and/or that you have more important things to be doing than talking to them.

Ten List3. Remember that nights and weekends are for their rest and relaxation – unless the building is burning down, a major account is about to be lost or a million dollar opportunity needs their input, you don’t need to call or email them at night or on the weekend. There is precious little that can’t wait until the next morning or until Monday. Your employees need time to decompress, spend time with their families and focus on their interests and hobbies. They don’t need to be receiving work emails and phone calls during this time.

4. You will not partake in subjective performance reviews – one of the big no no’s of management is to never write a subjective performance review. If your employee’s performance review reads like a narrative opinion piece, than you have done it all wrong. Stick to the facts, outcomes, behaviours and impacts. Understand that not everything will have a true measurement or numerical outcome attached to it; however, management observation is a very powerful (and acceptable) performance measuring stick. Just make sure that it is YOU that is actually observing the behaviour! (see commandment # 9).

5. The performance review should NOT be the only time you give feedback – as a manager, you need to be meeting/communicating with your staff on a regular basis. Do not rely on the annual performance review meeting to accomplish this. Have regular (to be defined by you and your employees) coaching sessions where you provide feedback to your staff on their performance and give recognition when and where appropriate. They want to know when they have areas of opportunity they need to focus on because they don’t want to hear about things for the first time during their year-end sit down.

6. There is no such thing as perfect communication – do not fall into the trap of waiting for ‘perfect’ communication. That is, it is an almost certainty that in any given situation you will NOT have all the facts and will NOT have all the information you would like to have before you talk to your staff. That is ok. They understand that. Tell them what you know. Tell them that you will tell them more when you know more. Then tell them when you do, in fact, know more. This applies to anything from layoff rumours, to office expansion to new product lines being launched. The rumour mill will work faster than you ever can so get in front of the message before it gets in front of you.

7. There is no such thing as over communication – much like commandment #6, you can never over communicate to your staff. Regular department meetings, 1:1’s, emails, newsletters, blogs, intranet sites, message boards, etc. can all be used to communicate important company information to employees. The worst that can happen is that your staff tells you that you don’t need to send them a weekly sales update because they only need every other week or once a month. Either way, you are communicating with your employees and they will be the ones to validate the necessary frequency of the communication for you. Truth be told, I have never heard an employee state, “you know, my manager communicates too much to me. I really don’t need to be kept in the loop on all these company matters.”

8. It is ok to play favourites – as long as the ‘favouritism’ is based on performance. My personal ‘favourites’ are the performers – those employees that focus on delivering for the department and the organization. The employees that work well with external customers and internal clients and do what it takes to get the job done. It is not ok to play favourites for personal reasons – i.e. you simply ‘like’ an employee better, or have more in common to talk about, etc.

9. You need to be visible – if you are in a management role, you need to be seen by your employees. You need to be out and amongst them as they working. You have to be there to provide support, guidance and mentorship. It is not acceptable to hide in an office and avoid being part of your staff’s working day.

10. You need to accept that, as a manager, you can be liked or respected but not both – as a manager, I strongly encourage that you go for the respected route. If, as a manager, you are following commandments 1-9, than you will gain the respect of your staff. If you are objective in your decision-making and can make the tough calls, you will be respected by your employees. Your employees may not always ‘like’ you, but as a manager, you have to remember that you are not in the business of being liked. Speaking from experience, you can be respected and also have a very harmonious working relationship with your employees. If your focus is on wanting to be liked, than you are probably not going to cut it long term in management.

I know I am missing many other commandments here and would love to hear from my readership on what else they think should be on this list. I welcome your feedback and look forward to dialoging on this.

Image courtesy of t0zz/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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