Timeless Tips for New Managers
by Andrew E. Schwartz
Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. Avoid the tendency to"do-it-yourself".
Train employees to handle more responsibility.
Delegate the right to be wrong. Use mistakes as a learning process.
Make sure you delegate enough authority to enable your subordinate
to accomplish the intended result.
If you can't control it, don't delegate it.
Take time to create a motivating environment where employees will be
encouraged to seek and accept more responsibility.
IMPLEMENTING CHANGE -- "INTERACTIVE MANAGEMENT"
A truly skilled manager will solicit ideas for the change
from the lower levels. Ideas that would never have worked when imposed from
the top can be tremendously successful when spontaneously adopted from below.
Getting the workforce to create the method of change, when possible guarantees
their cooperation. The affected people should be able to see how the decisions
are made. This is also known as "interactive management," which means having
a "people-oriented" style of behaving as opposed to a "production-oriented"
style. Allowing people to participate promotes understanding between people
and greater acceptance of new concepts.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: COMMUNICATION
In order for the performance management system to be used
as effective communication tools, the supervisor must encourage employees
to talk about their performance.
Ask questions and listen to responses in order to support the self-discovery
Ask employees for their solutions and ideas on way to solve problems.
Use specific examples of observed behaviors and situations when describing
problems or encouraging positive skills and abilities. (Hearsay, judgmental
words, or phrase overviews do not help a person understand what they are
doing well or what they need to change.
WHY SET GOALS?
The process of goal setting raises questions and issues related
to planning, specificity, and negotiation. Can an organization and its employees
have compatible goals? Can both sides develop goals together to be more effective?
Goal setting is a process for deciding where you want to go as an organization,
as an employee and as an individual. Goals for management support the vision
and strategic plan that an organization must have in order to stay alive
and be successful. Goals for individuals support job success and individual
development. When an organization and its (individual) members pull together
to link their goals, overall success is the result.
CREATE A MOTIVATIONAL CLIMATE
Create a climate where others find long-term motivation. Long
term motivation comes from a positive work environment, and positive reinforcement.
Usually long-term motivation is impossible without short-term motivation.
Short-term motivation comes from the employees working together, learning
from each other, and giving as well as receiving constant feedback to each
other. Short-term motivation builds self motivation. Self motivation comes
from daily reinforcements. Little reinforcements such as good food in the
cafeteria, jolly co-workers, and a little pat on the back contribute to self
motivation. If employees enjoy working in the organization, they're more
likely to do their best to stay there.
What's exciting about the possibility coaching presents is
that it continually demands from you the commitment to perform beyond the
levels you've reached in the past. It demands the willingness to treat each
situation as brand new and to treat people with compassion. Above all, being
a great coach demands that you be coachable yourself. Your coach could be
anyone, and to the extent that you let people coach you, your own coaching
will be empowered.
The basic tool used in generating many possible solutions
to a problem is brainstorming. To use the brainstorming process effectively
requires following a prescribed set of rules very closely. These rules are:
"Far out" or amusing suggestions are encouraged. Laughter can serve
as a good release and help people relax. A seemingly wild or amusing suggestion
is listed with the more serious ideas for group consideration, unless the
"author" of the idea specifically asks that it be withheld. Sometimes a
wild idea can be changed or built upon for creative practical solutions.
The idea here is to relax and let the ideas flow.
Encourage group members to generate solutions that are based upon changing
ideas already presented, (e.g., reversing, expanding, limiting).
Combine ideas that seem to compliment each other.
A GOOD COACH:
Is direct and honest.
Accepts people where they are and goes from there!
WHAT MAKES MANAGERS NOT DELEGATE
Doing what comes naturally. A manager's preoccupation with familiar,
routine work is a three-fold stifling of productive energies - of his or
her employees, the company, and himself or herself. Managers who follow
this philosophy fail to grow, fall short of their potential, and reduce
their chances for promotion.
The "multi-hat" syndrome. Insufficient definition of the scope
of management functions may cause managers to attempt a multitude of diverse
tasks rather than concentrate on management functions. This can lead to
reversed priorities, inefficiency, duplication of effort, and disregard
for the capabilities of employees.
GOALS THAT PROVIDE MOTIVATION
1. Are realistic.
They offer challenge and a reasonable chance for accomplishment. Set a goal
too low, and it loses appeal. Set it too high, and it requires too much risk
for most people. If you set subgoals, you can evaluate the degree of risk
and make changes in the goal as work proceeds.
2. Are relevant to the organization.
Show how a particular goal benefits the organization. Employees should be
able to see how their contributions to the achievement of a goal affects
the well-being of the organization.
3. Relate to the employee.
Why is this goal important to the employee? He or she knows what the organization
will get from accomplishment of the goal. But how will the personal goal
of the employee be achieved through accomplishing an organizational goal?
The closer the two relate, the greater the employee's commitment and motivation.
A COACH CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
This is a big claim to make. But consider this: when you look at a human
endeavor where coaching is the norm, you see extraordinary results. In sports,
for example, coaching is recognized as crucial among those who strive for
extraordinary performance. No athlete would dream of training for the Olympics
without a great coach. Great coaching shows up in sports all the time, but
it's as rare in business as pitching a no-hitter is in the major leagues.
That's because although a supervisor's job is to coach, it is not always
recognized as part of that job.
Since both the supervisor and employee have just finished working together
in a mutual problem-solving situation, it now follows that the employee will
formally accept the goal assignment. Granted, this is not always an "automatic"
step, but it does stand a good chance for success provided that all of the
previous steps have been carried out. Crucial to this success is the mutual
commitment that must be expressed (with honest intent) between the supervisor
and employee. Both must truly believe that the goals are within reach and
that every effort and support from both sides will be given. Once again,
the trust level between the individuals will play an important factor. Finally,
the employee must clearly see the benefits of goal attainment - both from
an organizational and individual point of view.
FEEDBACK - A COMMUNICATION SKILL
Feedback is a major source of information which tells you how you are perceived
by others and how your behavior is affecting them. This exchange must exist
for true communication to take place. An effective communicator solicits
feedback from the receiver in order to check for understanding and to remove
as many barriers from the process as possible. The communication process
is complex, but giving and receiving feedback, especially critical feedback,
ranks as the most personal and threatening aspect of all. This is unfortunate,
as most research on motivation suggests that feedback is one of the biggest
motivators for change.
GOOD BUSINESS COACHING
Clearly, the right kind of coaching can alter a team's or an organization's
performance. The implication for business is that if you create a climate
of coaching in any organization, you can produce performance that exceeds
your expectations - and you won't have to change the people to do so. Coaching
can produce star performers in organizations, even when the players are people
of ordinary talent and ability.
Leaders must be positive role models. They wear a heavy mantle of responsibility,
since they represent the status quo and the standards necessary for their
employees and associates to maintain. The higher the leader's standards,
the more likely it is that others will rise to a similar level.
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS
Don't try to make decisions unless you know all the facts and risks involved.
The safest way to weigh your decisions is to put them through a checklist
that covers pertinent information.
Do you understand the problem? A solution is not useful if it is developed
for the wrong problem.
Have you defined the problem?
Have you written the problem down? If you don't have a written definition
of a problem, you could forget it.
Have you identified all possible solutions? Get information, talk to
people, check the records, and examine the facts of all the possible solutions.
Do you have sufficient information to make the decision?
THE DYNAMICS OF MOTIVATION While there exist several useful definitions of motivation, for our purposes
we will define it as an individual's desire to do something based upon a
need. When a person is confronted with a need (either perceived or actual),
he or she usually is motivated to perform specific actions for some sort
of gratification. Once a particular need has been satisfied, the motivation
to continue the actions diminishes and remains at "zero level" until the
need arises again. In order to fully appreciate this phenomenon, we must
further examine motivational theory and analyze the unique characteristics
of individual needs.
BRAINSTORMING The basic tool used in generating many possible solutions to a problem
is brainstorming. To use the brainstorming process effectively requires following
a prescribed set of rules very closely. These rules are:
1. No positive or negative comments are allowed during the
2. Positive or negative non-verbal evaluations are discouraged
3. A group member may ask for clarification if the member
does not understand a given suggestion, but it is important to avoid any
questions that are directed to "how" or "why" of the idea. In other words,
the person suggesting a solution is not to be asked to defend the idea!
TIPS TO TIME MANAGEMENT 1. Anticipate crunch time so it does not become CRISIS. Leave 30 minutes
each day unscheduled. The best laid plans can often get disrupted by someone
else's overwhelming A priority, or the car breaking down. Allow flexibility
in scheduling, so all will not be lost.
2. Protect your private time. Having and holding onto time
for yourself is as important as being work oriented, if not more so. If people
fail to take time out for friends, family and play, their health, mental
effectiveness and alertness will inevitably suffer.
3. Ask for cooperation. Schedule large tasks that involve
others. Never expect to be able to accomplish multifaceted or multiperson
tasks on time without the cooperation of all parties involved.
FOSTERING GOOD COMMUNICATION TO COACH YOUR WORK TEAM The reason jobs are often not done right and employees are fired is because
of lack of skill. Right? Wrong! Poor communication and ineffective human
relations are the major causes. Remember: Communication is a "meeting of
meanings." It's getting through to the other person what you mean in a way
that they understand. In fact, you want them to do more than understand,
you want them to act on the information in the correct way. Effective communication
is talking and listening to create that understanding. The end result is
to get things done in a way so that you, the organization, and the employee
will all be satisfied.
DELEGATE THE WHOLE As with delegation in general, there may be occasions in which work must
be divided among several individuals for example, highly technical or complex
tasks. Should this be the case, the rule is always - delegate the maximum
amount of work to the lowest possible level.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDBACK
Giving and receiving critical feedback is difficult, yet essential to master.
By being open to feedback, you can learn how to improve both personally and
professionally. If someone is not willing to accept feedback, they probably
will not proceed much further in their career nor experience much growth
or satisfaction out of life.
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND THE CHANGE PROCESS: THE ADVISOR/EDUCATOR The Style: Someone who is knowledgeable about how change should
occur, and can use those skills to show their group or organization how to
deal with the specific issues that change brings to the people involved.
The Method: The advisor/educator will show and explain ways to define
the change/problem and to identify several major issues to focus upon. Then
the advisor will help people set goals and objectives to accomplish the change
or solve the problem.
MOTIVATION - A FINAL PERSPECTIVE Employees are their own best source of motivation. If an employee's work
is properly structured, he or she will be motivated by the results of their
own labors rather than by external rewards and punishments. The manager's
prime concern should therefore be to help employees achieve control over
and receive feedback from their work. This is not to say, however, that the
manager need not be concerned with environmental factors such as wages, personnel
policies, and physical environment. Highly motivated employees will be tolerant
of unavoidable inadequacies in these areas. But if conditions deteriorate
markedly, especially if this appears to be due to the indifference of management,
employees' motivation will be canceled out by their growing frustration.
Thus, in motivating employees by concentrating attention on job content,
the manager should not ignore the employees' basic needs.
LISTEN TO WHAT IS BEING SAID The paradox of the human listening function is that although it may seem
like the easiest and most effortless of all communication functions (writing,
speaking, reading, and listening) it is, in reality, the most difficult and
requires the most effort - and skill - to perform properly. The reason for
this is that in speaking you initiate the ideas and the easily-anticipated
flow of words to express them. In listening, however, another person initiates
the ideas and the words which strike your ears and enter your brain as totally
new information. Studies have shown that in listening most people miss most
of this information - and nobody notices.
TOOL BOX APPROACH The apt expression "tool box approach" has been used to describe an effective
leader's skill in choosing the right style at the right time in a given situation.
To be a successful leader, a manager must appropriately combine three major
abilities - technical, human, and conceptual, or the ability to work with
methods, process, procedures and techniques, the ability to work effectively
with people and the ability to view the organization as a whole, deal with
abstractions, develop ideas, and see cause and effect.
DECISION BY AUTHORITY RULE Many groups start out with - or quickly set up a power structure that
makes it clear that the chairman (or someone else in authority) will make
the ultimate decision. The group can generate ideas and hold free discussion,
but at any time the chairman can say that, having heard the discussion, he
or she has decided upon a given plan. Whether or not this method is effective
depends a great deal upon whether the chairman is a sufficiently good listener
to have culled the right information on which to make the decision. Furthermore,
if the group must also implement the decision, then the authority-rule method
produces a bare minimum of involvement by the group (basically, they will
do it because they have to, not necessarily because they want to). Hence
it undermines the potential quality of the implementation of the decision.
GIVE AND GET "FEEDBACK" INFORMATION
The power of "feedback" in all communication cannot be exaggerated. For the
sender, this means making it a habit to encourage the receiver to verbally
convey to the sender what the receiver has actually understood. If the sender
discovers that the receiver has an understanding different from that one
intended, the sender can try again. Without such feedback, the sender would
not be aware that there is a misunderstanding and that it must be corrected.
The receiver only needs to hold the attention of the sender long enough to
"feed back" to him what the receiver has understood and to check for accuracy.
WHAT MAKES MANAGERS NOT DELEGATE?
Perfectionism. Managers who expect perfection often feel employees just can't
do the job right. "Perfection" comes through practice, training, and the
setting of realistic goals. A re-valuation of past goals and standards, as
well as employee potential and current capabilities, is in order. Future
goals and standards must be devised to fit individual circumstances and,
as much as possible, to ensure their own achievement.
BARRIERS IN COMMUNICATION
There may be barriers that exist between the sender and the receiver such
as cultural differences. Environmental conditions may also create barriers,
e.g., poor acoustics, others talking, outside noises. More common, however,
are differences in frames of reference between sender and receiver. For example,
there may not be a common understanding of purpose in a certain communication.
You may ask me how I'm feeling today. To you, the phrase "How ya doing" ?is
nothing more than a greeting. However, I may think that you really want to
know and I may tell you - possibly at some length.
STEPS TO BECOMING A GOOD LEADER
Develop a master plan. What are your goals? What are the organization's goals?
How are you going to reach them?
1) Develop a leadership style. To manage people, you need to know how you're
going to do it. Be comfortable with the leadership style you choose, and
it will lead to future success.
2) Know the risks. Making any decision has its risks. Know the risks involved
and whether the organization can afford to take them.
3) Get the authority you need. You need authority to achieve goals. If you
don't have enough, get assertive. Tell your superiors you need more authority
to make decisions.
4) Be decisive. Don't get caught saying, "Let me get back to you." Consult
employees, but you make the decisions.
5) Be firm. If you believe in your decisions, then stick to them. However,
be open to suggestions and be flexible.
DEVELOPING A GOAL-SETTING CHECKPOINT
The process of developing meaningful goals and objectives can be a challenging
task for any manager. There is a method to make this process easier, however,
and it involves following a few general guidelines. The Goal Setting Checklist
for the first-line supervisor has been specifically designed with two main
objectives in mind: (1) for specific use in translating general (or possibly
unclear) goals into a workable structure; and (2) for use as a worksheet
(or checklist) to write meaningful goals and objectives for employees. This
two-step process should enable the supervisor to translate ideas, "rough
thoughts," and wishes into goal statements of a much more practical nature.
Over the years, experience has shown that while it is relatively easy to
teach the concept and theory of goal setting, many supervisors and managers
have found it quite difficult to translate the theory into actual practice.
Step-by-step use of the goal setting checklist should provide a constructive
aid in this regard.
Communication is an exchange of information. It is a process of understanding
on both the part of the receiver and the sender.
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
When problem solving, you may recognize that you were working on a symptom
instead of the problem. An analysis of the more clearly defined problem may
require an alteration to the objectives or the ideal solution. These reviews
and changes are costly in terms of time and effort which emphasizes the need
for rigid scrutiny during the initial problem definition to avoid wasted
time and effort. Once implementation begins, it is even more difficult to
learn that the entire action plan and subsequent efforts were based on symptoms
in lieu of authentic problems.
GOALS SHOULD BE QUANTIFIABLE
It should be possible to analyze every goal in terms of specific quantifiable
objectives. Naturally, for certain tasks, measurement of objectives will
be more difficult to attain; the key is to make every effort to reduce each
goal to its most quantifiable form. For example, a customer service department
might have the following general goals:
1. To increase output on customer acknowledgments.
2. To boost the number of customer telephone inquiries that are handled.
3. To distribute mail in a timely manner.
As described, the above goals are completely immeasurable.
It is almost certain that the manager's expectations will not be met. The
solution: Quantify these goals in a realistic, feasible fashion that will
also insure departmental productivity:
1. To type 10 customer acknowledgment letters per hour.
2. Handle a minimum of 15 telephone customer inquiries per each two hour
3. Open, sort, and distribute all mail for the third floor before 10 a.m.
each working day.
THE THREE DIMENSIONS OF COMMUNICATION
This knowledge is the basis for the use of practically any training device
or medium you can name. For example, knowledge of the existence of and need
for rational content is the elemental basis for outlining that attempt and
understanding the various ways of doing so. Similarly, knowledge of the existence
of and need for physical content is the basis and reason for the use of any
form of audio-visual aid, graphics, illustrations, or other sensory communicative
device. Finally, an underlying grasp of the existence of and need for emotional
content is the basis for the use of what is commonly known as emotion appeal
in communicating an idea.
COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE
Never in the course of the presentation lose sight of the fact that you are
speaking to people. Keep what is said on a personal level. Speak directly
to individuals. Never slip out of focus and begin talking to the room in
GROUP DECISION MAKING - THE ACTION PLAN
The best of plans are only intellectual exercises unless they are transformed
into action. This calls for people assigned responsibility for any part of
the plan to carry out their assignments according to the agreed upon contract.
It is the phase of problem solving that calls for people to do what they
have said they would do.
TIME MANAGEMENT - TELEPHONES
* Use telephone answering machines whenever appropriate.
* Record and analyze your telephone calls periodically; find out what's happening
on your telephone.
* Establish quiet hours during which you accept only emergency calls.
* Instead of being irritated when the phone rings, remind yourself that it
is your job calling. You'll be less frustrated.
DECIDING WHAT TO DELEGATE
Once the benefits of delegation are established and obstacles removed, the
next step in the delegation process is to decide what work can and should
be delegated. In general, work to be delegated should adhere to the following
- It can be handled adequately down the line.
- All necessary information for decision making is also available down the
- The work involves operational detail rather than planning or organization.
- The task does not require skills unique to the manager or position.
- An individual other than the manager has, or can have, direct control over
TIPS TO TIME MANAGEMENT
1. Avoid unnecessary attendance at meeting. Do not attend meetings where
you are not needed. If you are only needed for a portion of that meeting,
stay only for that part and then excuse yourself. 2. Keep Meetings Short
& Time Limited. All meetings should start on time and end on time. Schedule
them at the end of the day, so that everyone will be more anxious to end
them on time. Circulate agendas well in advance, to discourage tangents or
addressing other issues. 3. Discourage Drop-in Visitors. Close your office
door. If it is open and someone walks in unexpectedly, get up and meet the
visitor to prevent him from settling in. If a person knocks, get up and meet
him outside your office.
BUILDING TRUST AS A MANAGER
Being reliable. Following through on things. Keeping your promises. 1. Having
ethics. Telling your people the truth and not revealing their confidences.
Being fair and honest with employees. 2. Showing respect for your employees.
Treating them as adults and showing appreciation for their ideas and for
the work they do.
Congratulations! You are now a manager. How did this happen?
By the "magic fairy dust" method: Poof: "You are a manager"? Or did you go
to the school of hard knocks (learning through trial and error)? Well, regardless
of how, the more important question is: are you trained and prepared for
the new intellectual and emotional challenges that await? Too often, employees
are placed into the role of manager with little or no management training
and development skills. The following are ideas, tips and techniques we at
A.E. Schwartz & Associates have uncovered. They are presented here as an
excerpt from our most popular program, entitled: The School for Managers.