The Manager�s Tool Kit

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					                           The Manager’s Tool Kit
                                Cy Charney

   Absenteeism costs everyone:
        o Hire temporary staff
        o Increased overtime
        o Reduces customer service
        o Aggravates fellow employees who have to pick up the slack
   Levels of 10% indicate a problem
   Levels below 5% are good
   Absenteeism can be caused by:
        o Boredom
        o Monotony
        o Lack of reward
        o Lack of challenge
   Anger can be positive if it mobilizes energy to overcome obstabstacles
   Anger focused on people can be destructive
   Being assertive doesn’t mean being aggressive
   Assertive people feel good about themselves, act appropriately and take
   Benchmarking enables your organization to identify how good it could be –
    what action do you need to take to become the best of the best?
   Plan for change – set goals
   Evaluate changes and recognize the people who helped the project and
    contributed to any improvement
   Adapting to change can either be painful or challenging and fun
   Treat failure as a learning experience
   Never assume that people will be excited about a new idea – people usually
    see obstacles before benefits and as a leader you need to nurture acceptance as
    quickly and as painlessly as possible:
        o Demonstrate your own commitment to the idea
        o Be aware of reasons for resistance to change and remove them
        o Offer support and encouragement during the transition
        o Give as much information as possible
        o Involve people – the greater their involvement, the greater their
   The phases that most people experience during periods of change are:
        o Denial
        o Anger
        o Acceptance
        o Action
   Good coaches train their people to do the job right every time
   Most coaching is done in technical areas of a job but you can also coach
    people to improve their team and interpersonal skills:
        o Mentoring
        o Counseling
        o Training:
                 Explaining
                 Showing
                 Confronting (when they perform unsatisfactorily)
   Gaining commitment from one individual is difficult. Gaining buy-in form
    your team is even more challenging
        o Involve the team in setting goals
        o Ask individuals to identify their long-term contributions to the goal
   Surveys show that most people get the information they need through the
    grapevine rather than official channels
        o Avoid rumors by giving employees information
        o Hold regular briefings to inform people of what is going on
        o Never deny or lie about the truth
   Communication will always be the number one problem in organizations
   As a person in a leadership role, you must clearly communicate your vision of
    the future, your performance expectations and results
   Observe people’s responses to your message
   Begin conversations positively
   Employees value the opportunity to influence their company, to have their
    voices heard and to see changes as a result of their input
   Ask for opinions
   Encourage ideas
   Act on ideas to encourage involvement
   Try smaller ideas – what people can learn from a mistake will probably more
    than pay for the cost
   Communicate in simple language and don’t confuse people by using
    complicated language (especially if they are non-native English speakers)
   Conflict about ideas can promote creativity and innovation but conflict
    between people leads to high stress, poor morale and low productivity
   Conflict undermines your ability to work with people and makes it harder for
    everyone to achieve their objectives
   Conflict is a natural consequence of teamwork
   Conflict is healthy when people challenge the status quo or debate how better
    to serve the customer
   Conflict becomes unhealthy when people challenge each other
   You must ensure that your employees are given the opportunity to contribute
    new innovative solutions
   Creative people may be:
        o Unconventional in their approach, dress etc
        o Often appear as troublemakers
        o Are persistent
        o Are willing to take risks
        o Have vivd imaginations
   Rewarding efforts for creativity, rather than results will encourage further
   The most important reason for the company to exists is to be able to provide
    superb service quickly and in a cost effective manner
   Let customers invite feedback on your service
   How decisions are made has a lot to do with how effective the decisions turn
    out to be. Most commonly, decisions can be made by:
        o One person or a few people (minority)
        o Most people (majority)
         o With everyone’s support (consensus)
   Minority decisions should take place when:
         o There is a lack of time
         o There is an emergency
         o The issue relates to health and safety
         o The decision is strategic
         o One person is the acknowledged expert
   The majority decision should be taken when:
         o A decision is required quickly
         o There are too many people to negotiate a consensus
         o The issue is very decisive
   Decisions that impact employees and require their commitment should be
    made by consensus
   As a leader you will be judged as much by what happens when you are present
    as by what happens when you are not
   Good managers never put off till tomorrow what they can delegate today
   Delegating responsibilities to others allowsyou to concentrate on your duties
    as manager: planning problem solving and other proactive matters
   Failure to delegate forces you to spend too much time on trivial issues and to
    neglect critical opportunities
   It is important to discipline employees before their behaviour / actions lead to
    a termination. You can save a good employee from being fired if you address
    disciplinary issues sooner rather than later (statistically, this is the most
    neglected of all managerial duties)
   Learn to manage diversity in the workplace. People from various cultures
    come to the workplace with different:
         o Work ethic
         o Moral standards
         o Focus
         o Ideas of interpersonal relationships
         o Etc
   You will get the most out of people if you treat them as partners and give them
    increasing power as their abilities improve
   Conducting exit interviews with people leaving the company can provide you
    with valuable information
   One of the managers’ most difficult tasks is handling problem behaviour. Do
    not attack the individual and damage their self esteem
   Without goals, managers and thepeople around them will be doomed to
    operate aimlessly, adding little value to the orgainsation
   Do not set unrealistic goals, nor make them too modest
   If the overall goal is too large, set mini-goals
   Act quickly to discipline harassment in the workplace. Failure to do so is
    tantamount to condoning it
   Hiring the wrong person is an expensive mistake:
         o Be clear about the kind of person you want for the job
         o Analyse the job before looking for a candidate
         o Screen resumes carefully. Be cautious about people who:
                 Describe themselves in superlative terms
                 Submit professionally prepared resumes
                 Do not show an interest in profit-mindedness
                 Change jobs often
                 Change careers often
                 Offer only generalities
   Conducting an effective interview allows you to match your needs with the
    right person. Choosing the wrong person can lead to:
        o Poor morale
        o Excessive performance management
        o Costly training
        o Severance and rehiring
   A good interview should contain the following:
        o Opening - a welcome and introduction to the interviewers and a
            description of the interview process
        o Information gathering – asking questions relating to the candidate’s
            resume, work history and background
        o Information giving – provide a little bit of information about the
            company, the industry etc – answering the candidate’s questions about
            the job and about the company
        o Closing
    Influencing people to gain commitment for new ideas is crucial
        o Acknowledge that you are dependant on others and develop a
            collaborative attitude
        o Help people out, especially if they have unique skill or specialized
        o Keep communication upbeat and positive – focus on the good rather
            than the bad
   “If anything goes bad, I did it…If anything goes semi-good, then we did it…
    If anything goes real good, then you did it”
   You can buy someone’s physical presence, but you can’t buy loyalty,
    enthusiasm or devotion
   Successful organizations have leaders who focus on the future rather than
    cling to the past
   Leaders bring out the best in people and spend time developing people into
   People have two ears and one mouth because they are supposed to listen twice
    as much as they speak
   Listening shows that you care
   If you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it
   Involve the employees in the process of team evaluations
   Make sure you only call meetings as necessary – if there is no need for a
    meting then don’t call one
   By being active, enthusiastic and focused at meetings, you will help yourself
    and help others
   A meeting should go only for as long as it takes to reach its objectives – this
    usually takes much longer than it should
        o Avoid repetition
        o Hold meetings in the work area so as to avoid going to meeting rooms
            and wasting time
        o Hold meetings at the end of the day because people will be motivated
            to finish on time
   Don’t allow people to use meetings for their own political agendas
   Invite participation in meetings by directing specific questions at the quiet
   Plan your meeting before holding it
   Motivation is the skill of getting Great performances from your average
    employee – but they need to motivate themselves
        o Expect the most
        o Treat people like adults
        o Recognize employees for a job well done
        o Be clear about expectations
        o Involve people
        o Give feedback
        o Train people who want more responsibility
        o Keep people informed
   Negotiating is the ability to influence people do this Don’t allow failure to
    destroy self confidence
   Provide employees with challenges and opportunities by:
        o Showing precedent: examples where your point of view was employed
            and worked before
        o Legitimacy: use documentation and written reports
        o Persistence
        o Competition: let people know that they have choices
        o Knowledge
        o Rationality
        o Rank
   Win-Lose situations will come back to haunt you
   An effective performance appraisal can lead to better performance:
        o Conduct the appraisal in a problem-solving spirit
        o Focus on the future, not on the past
   Problems should be dealt with immediately on the day and you shouldn’t have
    to wait until the performance appraisal to raise issues with the employee
   You can have the best idea in the world – but if you can’t sell it, your idea will
    die on the vine
   People remember information that is presented verbally and visually far more
    than that presented verbally alone
   Organisations grapple with the same problems year after year, wasting
    incredible amounts of time and money – that is because there is a lack of a
        o Be clear about the problem
        o Find the cause
        o Identify solutions
        o Develop implementationplans
        o Track the results
        o Confirm that the problem has been fixed
   Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb – that’s where the fruit is!
   Studies of processes find that activities that add value for customers take plae
    only 5% of the time. The opportunity to reduce cylce and delivery time is
   Map your processes and streamline them
   Productivity is a critical component of being competitive
   Encourage employees to gauge their own productivity so that they will feel
    responsible for their own performance
   Evaluate key processes regularly:
        o Is each step necessary?
        o Is there duplication?
        o Does each step add value?
        o Where do we experience most delays?
    “Most people like hard work – especially when they are paying for it”
   “Crisis is another name for opportunity”
   If something can go wrong, it probably will
   If you plan, recruit committed people, define your goals and parameters, your
    chances for success are good
   People will work hard to uphold a good reputation
   Employee attitude surveys reveal that people do not fee appreciated and are
    seldom told when they do a good job. These people typically complain that
    they get instant feedback when they make a mistake
   Strategic planning is an activity usually considered to be the domain of seniour
    managers. But all managers need to think and act strategically so that they cna
    influence the future rather than be impacted by it
   Stres is a major cause of work absenteeism and a host of social problems
   A few most common causes of stress are:
        o Lack of control over one’s work life
        o Moving
        o Relationship difficulties
   When building a team, do a lot of planning and choose members wisely and
    keep the team running successfully
   Maintaining performance at a high level for the benefit of your customers is
    essential. You can sustain and even improve performance if you:
        o Measure critical indicators of success
        o Set team goals for key indicators
        o Celebrate improvements to promote a sense fo pride and team
        o Involve the team in problem solving if performance declines
        o Have high expectations of the team
        o Reward collaborative behavior
        o Involve the team in the decision to recruit new members
        o Remove poor performers and continuously negative people
   Firing people is the manager’s most difficult task. Immediate termination is
    possible if a person:
        o Steals
        o Destroys company property
        o Is grossly insubordinate
        o Falsifies official records
        o Is absent for an extended period of time without a valid reason
         o Engages in criminal behaviour
   If the person is being terminated because of economic reasons and is in the
    middle of the project, try to delay the termination until the project is complete
   If the decision to terminate is economic, emphasize that the decision is not
    personal and that the organization will do everything reasonable to help the
    employee find alternative employment
   Managing time effectively will enable you to balance work and personal life –
    reduce stress and improve your health
   Time is a non-renewable resource
   The activities that waste the most time are:
         o Long meetings:
                 Avoid setting or attending unnecessary meetings
                 Avoid dealing with items not on the agenda
         o Interruptions:
                 Stand when people come in to chat, it will prevent them from
                    getting too comfortable
                 Ask them if it is important or if it can wait (set a time to get
                    together if necessary)
         o Telephone Calls:
                 Leave complete messages for people if they are not there so
                    they won’t have to call back
                 Increase your chances of speaking to someone if you are told
                    that the person is “away from her desk” or “in a meeting” by
                          “Could you find her for me?”
                          “Can he be interrupted?”
                          “I’m returning her call, which was important”
         o Paperwork:
                 Keep your desk clean and put things where you can find them
                 Deal with each piece of paper once: file it, respond to it or
                    dump it
   Training is a lot cheaper than ignorance. On the job training in technical,
    interpersonal, team and business skills is a key component of any manager’s
   There are many ways to train people:
         o Job rotation
         o Cross training (one person can substitute for another if need be)
         o Temporary problem solving groups to nut out a problem
         o Delegation of additional responsibilities enable people to learn more
            challenging tasks
         o Ensure that employees get feedback on their progress.
         o Run workshops

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