Management Matters

Your Staff’s Success is Your Success – 0615B

Date Posted: 06/25/2015

A successful manager knows the importance of ‘showing the way’ to subordinates to ensure the project is a success. Managers know fully well that failure to meet departmental goals can boomerang on themselves. Despite this, many are surprisingly ignorant about how they should lead their subordinates to achieve the obligations of their respective roles. Perhaps because of their own preoccupations and work priorities, many managers don’t understand or just ignore how much they need to involve themselves in their subordinates’ functions and provide that vital support they need.

Here are some suggestions for managers on how to ensure their subordinates’ success which can lead to their own success:

•    Align employee and organizational objectives
Do not assume that your subordinates understand the ultimate goal. You need to publicize what the staff needs to know, and how to go about executing their work. Individual vs departmental and corporate goals must be explained in a manner that makes sense and is achievable. It is imperative to motivate subordinates at every level so that they can relate to the broader organizational objectives. Each staff member should clearly understand how his/her efforts contribute to the organizational master plan. Managers must explain goals to subordinates when setting attainable targets within their level of understanding. Managers must also provide sufficient challenge to stimulate their staff to perform and deliver.

•    Be the patient Teacher
A good leader should teach team members how to develop fallback positions and contingency plans on their own instead of always relying on their senior to resolve problems. That way, when objectives are compromised, team members accept their accountability, understand why things went wrong and appreciate how not to repeat such errors in future. Managers need to discuss with team members how to anticipate problems and understand what went wrong. Blasting subordinates despite their best efforts is always counter-productive. Instead, a supportive ‘too-bad’ or ‘keep-it-up’ encouragement can bypass the disappointment and maintain morale.

•    Collaborate in creating a work plan for subordinates
Once mutually acceptable targets have been set, managers cannot move back, but rather should encourage subordinates to set out their respective plans on how to meet them. Assisting subordinates to break down their plan into sub-plans with short term targets that can be easily monitored is required for any possible corrective action. Managers should also guide subordinates on setting milestones, identifying risk factors and devising fallback strategies to ensure meeting ultimate objectives at any cost.

•    Monitor progress
Effective monitoring of performance progress is critical to a manager’s need to be alerted in a timely manner to any problems, and for suitable intervention. Managers have to save the situation before the subordinate goes over the cliff by a process of on-going awareness of problems well before it is too late.  Blaming subordinates after they stumble would further undermine their ability and damage the manager’s own credibility as well as harm the overall interest of the project. An effective delegate-and-review menu, with specific drop down sub-menus to monitor performance should be an ideal. This would enable managers to keep a finger on all vital tabs and keep abreast of on-going staff performance to ensure success in their respective roles.

•    Hold hands to face problems
A popular manager is one who gets off his pedestal to face unexpected obstacles of his team members and gets involved in resolving their problems. Fluid communication is an imperative ignored by many managers at their own peril. Subordinates should not need to second guess what’s in your mind. They must always feel that their senior is always approachable, accommodative, supportive and protective.  The manager should observe an open-door policy so that subordinates can always seek assistance and guidance. Only then will they feel that their manager can always be relied upon to handle their critical concerns.

•    Be a cool professional
As the leader, the manager needs genuine (not forced or fake) respect and acknowledgement from subordinates to get things done. To achieve this, a good degree of professionalism is necessary. Therefore, resisting anger at all costs in stress situations is strongly advocated as your reactions will invariably be wrong, and not help the situation. When facing stress situations just pause momentarily, and mentally relax before responding to let the anger pass. Take advantage of specific and general praise liberally and publicly to motivate subordinates.  Be stern but always show forgiveness when subordinates genuinely err so that they try harder.

•    Accept your own flaws
The manager is thankfully not a robot and can always make mistakes as well, so use the power of a humble apology when you realize your error, or ’lose your shirt’ over something.  Don’t let your reactions become negatively predictable.

•    Keep subordinates’ personal goals in mind
Treating subordinates as humans and accommodating their personal needs and aspirations makes you that Great Manager. Showing interest in their personal lives outside their sphere of work and encouraging them to enrich themselves through other involvements bring subordinates closer and more personally committed to the manager.

Ignoring the need of their subordinates’ own need to succeed will adversely affect the chances of the manager’s own success.  If a major problem arises for which management demands explanations, it is not difficult to guess whose head will also roll.

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