FAIL TO ACCEPT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said “the buck stops here” To manage effectively, we must have the ability to lead others, and people will follow only those whom they respect. Respect is earned by accepting personal accountability. The words “I don’t know” are ok to have in an effective manager’s vocabulary. The key is to have adequate self esteem so we are comfortable in saying, “I don’t know, and being able to get the answer. Prompt follow-up with our staff is the key to gaining and maintaining their respect. This type of action requires a great degree of emotional maturity. The closer the public image we project is to our concept of self, the greater our emotional maturity.
We must have a clear understanding of the definition of management. An effective definition of management is the skill of attaining predetermined objectives with and through the voluntary cooperation and effort of other people.
Management should focus on results. It is not the art of doing it like “the pros”, it is a skill of achieving like “the pros”.
FAIL TO DEVELOP PEOPLE
Management has a major purpose: to provide for the continuation of the business over time, personnel change, and in our absence. To accomplish this purpose, a manager must understand the difference between characters and character.
Characters refer to the actions or acts of the people being managed. Characters are found in theatrical play. Character is the core of “persona” of the person being managed. Too often management is influenced by the “role” a staff member is “playing”. Effective management looks beyond the role playing, and into the character of the individual. If management can get close to the “character” of a staff member it will be more effective in obtaining the objective of management (attaining predetermined objectives with and through the voluntary cooperation and effort of other people).
TRYING TO CONTROL RESULTS INSTEAD OF INFLUENCING THINKING
Even though the effective manager must be results oriented, the method of achieving those results is critical. The objective must be to see that every staff member is successful. The successful person is the one who has developed the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people to not do. The role of the manager then is simple, guide their people into forming habits of doing things that successful people do.
Management often spends a great deal of time attempting to help their people develop good work habits. Unfortunately, the results are poor because management has focused on activities not on the thought process behind successful habit patterns. The chain of success relative to developing good work habits is: THOUGHT> FEELINGS> ACTIVITY> HABITS> RESULTS = SUCCESS. Physical performance improves in direct proportion to mental discipline. Increase productivity is the direct result of thinking. By simply dealing with the external (actions/activities) you cannot successfully inspire people to develop the habit patterns of success or increase their productivity. It is not wonder we have OSHA. Half of its cumbersome mandates are nothing more than pathetic attempts to regulate good work habits, when the culprit is lack of proper thinking.
A person must truly believe they can succeed. A manager cannot just tell a person they can succeed. Words alone will not change the person’s perception as to the degree of difficulty of a task. A manager’s real hope for a person’s success is to change the person’s perception of self in relation to the task. It is also important to be sure that the person’s understanding of “what is the value to me” is emphasized by the manager. This is really a self esteem issue, and one of the roles effective management is to enhance the self esteem of every staff member.
THE FATAL PRONOUN “THEY”
When a staff member refers to management as “they”, he/she is not mentally affiliating with management, and does not see himself/herself as part of the organization’s team. Management must change this person’s perception of their relationship with management. This is especially important because this is a contagious condition. This staff member will spread this perceptions among other members of the organization, and before long there is no chance that the organization’s goals and objectives, let alone it mission may be accomplished.
Loyalty among staff is imperative to the welfare of the organization. Loyalty means not that I “agree” with everything you say or that I believe you are always right. Loyalty means that I share a common ideal with you and that, regardless of minor differences, we fight for it, shoulder to shoulder, confident in one another’s good faith, trust, constancy, and affection.
Establishing mutual respect among all members of the organization is the key to solving the “fatal pronoun they” problem. “THE KEY IS WE”.
EVERYONE IS MANAGED THE SAME WAY
The manager who tries to manage everyone on his/her staff the same way, using only one technique, can prepare them self for great disappointments. Management is a one-to-one proposition. If you say something to an audience of one, no one doubts who you aim at. Everyone desires be recognized as an individual, and to manage without taking this into consideration is futile. Different individuals require different approaches, and the effective manager will have developed several effective management “styles” and employ the appropriate one in any given situation. There are four basic management styles; Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Democratic and Idiosyncratic. Each style has its effective place in the manager’s “bag “ of managerial tools.
The manger must be available to each and every staff member. “Management by walking around” pioneered by Hewlett Packard years ago, is the key to effective people management and motivation.
To avoid this management error, the manager must know each employee as well as he/she knows their own family, and do the thing that works to motivate each individual.
FORGETTING THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFIT.
Profit is not a bad word or concept. Indeed, without it, the organization will not be able to sustain itself. A different perspective might be to describe profit as an “economic efficiency index”. This index determines that amount of surplus left after expenses.
Every member of the staff must “buy into” the concept that the organization must develop a profit, and part of their responsibility is to see that the areas over which they exercise control make a contribution to profit. “Short term” profit should not be the objective of management, and the motivation for all staff should be directed to building long term stable profit.
CONCENTRATING ON PROBLEMS RATHER THAN OBJECTIVES
Turning “lemons into lemonade should be the theme for management. Turning problems into opportunities for growth and enhancement is management’s objective.
The opposite of concentrating on our problems and losing sight of our objectives is “creativity”. When we focus primarily on our problems, and lose sight of our objectives, creativity dies.
Creativity is the ability to understand the forces impacting upon you, plus being able to use those forces to help you reach your objective. It is simply the ability to understand your environment or conditions and use your environment or conditions to your advantage.
We only have so much energy to devote to our managerial tasks, and it is important to stop dissipating our energy by becoming obsessed with problems and fighting against the situation. When confronted with a problem situation, the creative manager asks how can I use this situation or condition to my advantage to attain the organization’s objective.
Strangely enough, this means that effective management is a THINKING, not a DOING job. The lifeblood of any organization lies in ideas and creative thinking. The truly successful manager not only learns to view the environment as the vehicle for reaching their goal; they train their people to share this creative perspective.
BEING A BUDDY NOT A BOSS
So often managers want to be the employee’s buddy after hours, then come into the office and manage them tomorrow—and the employees will not allow it. It is an either-or-situation. It is like marriage; you either are or you are not.
A good guideline for employee-manager relations is: never do anything with an employee that you would not do with your firm’s number one client or customer. As a manager, you want to give your employee the support they need. In return you want you want them to give you the performance you need so as to attain the objectives of the organization. This implies that there is a relationship of mutual respect.
It is important to understand that you cannot be responsible FOR people; however, by necessity, you must be responsible TO people. When managers become responsible FOR people, they overstep their managerial boundaries and adopt those individuals. This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons for a manager to learn. We all want to be accepted, admired and loved. This can be accomplished by building a relationship based on mutual respect not being a buddy. Valuable people with high self esteem seek to be treated as mature adults. Management is true reality therapy. You allow people to contribute like adults, or you allow them to leave.
To manage effectively you cannot put the welfare of any individual above the welfare of the organization. To do this is sometimes hard, but not to do it will cause the manager great heartache and loss of effectiveness as a manager.
FAILING TO SET STANDARDS
Setting clear, standards is often not a favorite task for managers. Often standards are viewed as a means of making up punitive rules used to punish those who fail to produce or who avoid conformity. The guidelines a company makes need not aim at forcing compliance to a list of regulations, but should have the goal of building personal and corporate pride. Each time a manager feels tempted to bend the rules, he/she must realize that he/she will not actually bend the rule, but will make a new one. Rules that do not apply to all, shatters pride.
Standards are essential to good decision making regarding personnel management. In addition to increasing employee pride, standards may serve as a great asset in eliminating management pressures. Properly utilized, they remove the personality from the tough decisions.
We should view standards as a covenant between the company and its employees. A covenant goes one step better than our present understanding of a contract. The company guarantees the employee that by its upholding of the standards, the employee will enjoy a certain quality of worker environment and career opportunities. In turn, the worker will uphold the standards in order to enjoy the benefits those standards assure. When all involved view standards as a covenant, a pledge of quality, pride in the organization grows stronger and stronger– and management becomes easier and easier.
FAIL TO TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE
The real job of management is to induce our people to behave properly, that is, to get them to CONSISTENTLY perform at a level of PAR (performance at a level at or above our minimum standards). Managers must get their people from entry level to PAR and maintain PAR performance.
PAR performance consists of three areas: Precedents, Action and Results.
Precedents come before action, serve as guides or standards in evaluating future behavior, and form the foundation of performance. Examples include job descriptions, training, policies, objectives, or other people’s actions.
Action is what employees say or do. We see it in activities of the job, such as typing a letter, making a sales presentation, giving an injection, cashing a check, or operating equipment.
Results are the consequences of the action, which cause the employee to repeat, modify, or in some cases discontinue the action. Recognition, a compliment from the boss, increased pay all serve as meaningful results. Negative results, which cause people to modify or discontinue action, include ridicule from co-workers, lost sales, customer complaints, and reprimands.
The formula for maintaining PAR performance is Precedents > Action > Results > Future Behavior.
If the hiring manager has not made a mistake in selection, only three basic reasons remain for why a person does not do his or her job at PAR. They are:
the individual does not know what the job is,
the individual does not know how to do the job, or
someone or something interferes with his or her desire or ability to do the job.
All new people are incompetent until they know your policies, procedures, and objectives. A written job description for every position is essential. It tells the employee exactly what you expect of him/her, and it tells you exactly what you expect of the employee.
When you bring a new person onto your staff, do not expect him/her to think. Employ them to do, and you do the thinking for them initially. When the new employee learns your approaches, when he/she learns how you think, he/she takes the first step toward becoming a good employee, meaning one who will do what you want them to do.
To develop the skills and talents of new employees a manager must understand the difference between education and training. Providing knowledge is the purpose of education. Training does not provide knowledge, but uses it as a tool. Training must be more highly organized than education, because the result of disorganized knowledge is confusion. Confused people will not take action, so a training program that does not clarify defeats itself. We need to understand that skill is the ability to readily and easily utilize knowledge in order to perform.
Training and skill building is a continuous process. It begins with the hiring of a staff person and continues throughout their course of employment. The effective manager must become very proficient at training or facilitating training of their people.
Once incompetence is detected, it must be corrected. Too often, because of the desire to avoid confrontation, or because we are “too busy”, incompetence is allowed to continue and even thrive. This is a disservice to the organization and to the individual. Once detected, incompetence must be corrected as soon as possible. Doing so, will preserve the value of the organization and enhance the integrity of the individual.
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