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Daily Management = Daily Investments

At the Armchair HR Manager, I blog a lot about management, leadership and all things human resources. I receive a lot of great comments and feedback from the awesome folks that take time to read my posts. One of the themes that has come back from my readership is that they are looking for a quick hit list of things that managers should or shouldn’t be doing. This request has come from both inexperienced and experienced managers as well as HR folks.

Daily Investments

Essentially, they want to know what the keys are to being a successful manager. While there is no secret sauce, there are things that managers should be doing DAILY if they want to be successful in their jobs. In fact, the bulk of this list is comprised from my own observations and experiences in dealing with folks that I would call the very best managers and leaders – across a variety of industries. The managers that do the things on the list below are the ones that don’t need to come to HR to deal with replacing people who have left via turnover, or they don’t have to deal with low employee survey scores or better yet, they are able to spend time leading and developing their people as opposed to constantly managing the bottom 20% of their department.

I recommend that if you want to be considered to be a “good” manager (I didn’t even say great), you need to start doing the following things – DAILY. The key is that all of these activities are an investment in your management portfolio. Over time, you will see the results of all these daily managerial investments pay off in the form of a higher performing team – one that has lower turnover, higher levels of engagement and increased levels of productivity/service performance.

  1. Talk to your employees – Yes, it seems obvious but it must be stated. Set aside time to talk to them every day about something, preferably not work related. Find out how their family is doing, what they did on the weekend, how their bowling team is doing, etc. Be genuine, be sincere, be interested and be present.
  2. Observe – be present and available. Watch how your team works and interacts together. Get a feel for the pulse of the group and how in synch they are or are not.
  3. Provide feedback to your employees – this is different than talking to them. This is about observing their performance on the job and then identifying areas that they are being successful in and areas they need to focus on improving. Bonus – this will make your performance review process a lot easier!
  4. Coach – because you have been providing feedback, you also need to coach. Coach on how to improve, coach on how to maintain/sustain and coach for future success – model the way. Keep in mind, good coaching always involves good listening. Make sure you keep that in mind when coaching.
  5. Recognize – find a way to recognize at least one employee every day. Know what works for each employee, but find a way to say “thanks” each day. It really isn’t that hard, but you have to make time to do it. Recognition and thank you’s are small investments that pay off BIG TIME down the road. No matter what they say, everyone likes to be recognized for what they do and everyone likes to hear a sincere “thank you.”
  6. Decide – another one that goes a long way. Most decisions that need to be made can be made without the formation of a standing committee or gathering together the Senate. Simple yes/no decisions can and should be made by the manager. Regardless of whether the answer is favourable to the employee or not, they will appreciate decisiveness. If you can’t make decisions, maybe shouldn’t be a manager? If you are not enabled to make decisions, then you have an organizational/sr. leadership issue.
  7. Provide clarity – make sure your staff understands their role, goals, objectives and measurements for success. If you need to reinforce this and/or tie it in with their daily work and outcomes as it pertains to these measurements then do so. Make the connection for your staff so that they understand your expectations and how they will be measured.
  8. Finally, make sure you spend more time doing all these things with your best performers. Nothing causes a manager to lose the respect of his/her team more than those that spend 80% of their time with the bottom 20% of the employees and believe me, your staff know who the bottom 20% are. Don’t reward poor performance with the gift of your time and attention.

What do you think? Is there anything missing off of this daily management list? As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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