No Management Mystique – Part 1

Malcolm S. Forbes once said, “Presence is more than just being there.” Yet, how many managers walk into their offices everyday, sit behind their desks and name plates, and get to work believing that they are managing? They might be producing some impressive numbers from time to time. On their office wall might be awards for reducing waste or for charting some regional winning sales figures. This position might have been a decade long goal that was achieved. And now they have arrived. They are in “the” office and they are a manager. But “presence is more than just being there.”

Scores of books and articles all tout the attributes of effective management. The newly promoted are sent to seminars, are asked to view webinars, and are tasked to read the latest “last word” on management. There is, however, no mystique in becoming not only a good manager, but an effective manager that produces tangible results for their credit union. Let’s look at four actions that can ramp up your effectiveness as a manager. If you commit yourself to making these things a habit, you will accomplish what a manager is called to do – produce results through the efforts of their team.

Be Engaged

Managers produce results through the people they oversee. Would it not make sense, then, to really know these people? What makes your people get up in the morning and come to work? A pay check? The drive to get promoted? A sense that they have the opportunity to make a difference? As a manager, you have the responsibility to help them set the tone for their day. To do this, you need to get to know your team.

In getting to know your staff, the goal is not become their buddy or best friend. The goal is discovering what motivates them, what drives them, what charges their battery. Doing this requires that you talk and listen to them during down times as well as making intentional time to learn more about them. Try these ideas that can help you get to know your team better:

  • Take them to lunch once a quarter. No work agenda. Just take the time to get to know them. Ask them what their hobbies are, what their kids are doing, where they like to vacation, sports, music, etc. At a later time, engage in a brief conversation about their interests to prove that you listened and that you care about their world
  • Don’t forget birthdays. Give them a card with a hand written note from you. Chances are they’ll save those cards.
  • Be tuned into their emotional energy. If they appear down, ask if something is wrong. If the conversation turns very personal, listen. Do not become a counselor. If the employee needs help, point them to your credit union’s employee assistance program. If they have personal time to take, encourage them to use it appropriately.
  • If your employee ends up in the hospital (or someone in their family is there), go visit them. You do not have to have the right words to say. Showing up shows you care.
  • Let your staff have fun in professional ways. Have a sense of humor and let your staff see it. Communicate to your staff that everyone’s goal is to make your workplace a great place to be.
  • Show them how their work can make a difference – for the customer, for the company, for themselves (pride).

“Many companies have long contended that stress in the home causes productivity loss in the market place…and it does. But research now reveals that stress on the job causes stress at home. In other words, they feed off each other.” (Zig Ziglar)

Being engaged means to care for your staff as individuals. Being engaged means that you care enough to get to know them and communicate to them in ways they understand.

Coming next…”Observation Coaching”

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