A manager’s job is 100 times easier and more rewarding when his or her employees are performing like a well-oiled machine. But when that machine runs slowly or breaks down, a manager’s job becomes exponentially harder.
Here are six tips, according to an OnPoint Consulting report, for keeping employees on task and working together toward the common goal:
1. Clarify, clarify, clarify
It’s hard to get things done when people don’t understand their roles, responsibilities or exactly what’s expected of them.
Too often, supervisors assume their employees understand what needs to be done. Or, they fear they’ll insult an employee’s intelligence by stating what seems obvious to them.
Don’t underestimate the importance of making certain that everyone is on the same page. Clearly communicating roles and duties is never a wasted effort.
2. Establish clear expectations
Goals are an important part of clarifying. They help employees focus on what’s important and provide incentives to find more efficient ways to get work done.
The only way to improve the way you’re doing things is to set clear, measurable goals and constantly monitor your success in those areas.
3. Don’t micromanage entrepreneurial-minded employees. But do monitor them
Entrepreneurial-minded employees—those who take initiative and do an effective job without much direction from managers—are often great employees.
But just because you feel like you can let them loose with a project doesn’t mean they don’t need. In fact, when you empower employees in this way, monitoring becomes even more important. You may be concerned they’ll think you’re micromanaging them. Don’t be. When done right, monitoring doesn’t have to feel like micromanaging. Use these check-ins as an opportunity to recognize effective behavior and get their feedback.
4. Encourage employees to share bad news with you
How? Don’t shoot the messenger!
If there’s a problem, mistake or delay, employees may be hesitant to inform you. They may fear your reaction or think they’ll look incompetent. That’s why it’s important to react correctly to bad news. Strive to be constructive, not punishing. Express appreciation for the accurate information, no matter how negative it may be. Respond quickly to the problem with specific actions.
5. Solve problems quickly, but not too quickly
Don’t waste time when dealing with threats or problems. But be aware that jumping to solutions too quickly can end up causing more headaches.
Smart managers know when additional information or analysis is essential—and when it will only delay action without adding value. Before taking action, managers should always use a systematic, logical analysis to identify the cause of a problem.
6. Encourage informal and spontaneous interaction
Your employees’ informal relationships are key to getting things done. The ability to connect with a colleague “in the moment” when you have a problem or new information is vital for effective execution. But in today’s high-tech world, it can be difficult to make these connections. Don’t let co-workers in departments go days just e-mailing back and forth. Facilitate informal gatherings to brainstorm and hash out problems.
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