This is a guest article by James Adams.
As a manager, you face plenty of challenges. You get pressure from your management and employees. You get pressure from the customers that are served. You want your employees to be faster, stronger and more committed to the job. Here are some ways to get the best out of your employees.
1. Research all the time: Information for self improvement is found everywhere, from the latest magazines to trade journals. Read everything, because you never know where or when you will receive insight on something important within your field. Be on the lookout for more efficient ways to do your job.
2. Listen to your employees: You trust your employees to offer their best suggestions and ideas. Listen to what they say, because they are working directly with the customers and equipment. If your employees come up with some great solutions, implement them and give credit where it is due. If the solution does not work, take the blame and responsibility for the setback.
3. Be enthusiastic: Be enthusiastic about the tasks that you perform. Your employees will see that and, if they trust you, try to emulate your behavior. Focus on the tasks you enjoy within your job. If you find yourself flagging, remember that there is some truth to the statement ‘fake it til you make it.’
4. Be encouraging to others: Enthusiasm and encouragement is contagious. Create an environment that your employees feel comfortable with you and want to earn your respect. People will work very hard for a pat on the head. There are many cases where an employee will work harder for recognition than money. When you provide a foundation of trust and respect for your employees, you empower them with the tools they need to succeed.
5. Provide realistic, clearly defined goals: Have you ever had a manager who could not tell you what your division’s overall goals were? Shy away from ambiguity about the company’s goals. Tell your employees for what they are aiming and give them tactics to complete the goal. There should be a reward tied to achievement of the goal. This reward does not have to be money, it could be a small trophy or a great parking space.
6. Cross Training: As a manager, you are in charge of a small team. Cross train your employees so they can get the full extent and breadth of the duties of their teammates. This advances the team as a whole, preparing you for the absence of employees. Cross trained employees respect their teammates and will generally push themselves to learn more. There are some employees who learn better by teaching their coworkers.
7. Internal knowledge sharing: Share your knowledge with your employees and encourage other divisions to share their ideas. This provides your employees with a bigger picture view of the company and teaches them new job skills and responsibilities. Make a calendar and schedule classes or meetings which everyone can attend.
8. External Trainer: Try bringing someone in from the outside. This is the most expensive way to train and develop core competencies, but it offers advantages over in house training. Training enhances the skills of everyone within the division and raises the bar for excellence. There might be areas that everyone is weak in. Bringing an external trainer to your company for a day or two will get everyone up to speed.
Find out more about your employees’ motivations and passions. Play into personal enthusiasm and show that you care about them. Lay the foundation for your own employees to push and motivate themselves, and both you and your team will go far.
James is an in-house writer for a leading UK based print cartridge store. Much of his day is spent in the analysis of hardware and writing reviews of products such as the HP 300XL ink cartridge and other media supplies for business.