How To: Become A Better Manager

how to become a better manager

Business. What do you think of when you hear that word?

Money/Accounting/Finance), Systems/Operations, People/HR … Sales/Marketing, meals & entertainment ;), people in suits, etc…

What do you think of when you hear the word “Business“? (comment below)

how to become a better manager
Part of the WebMechanix crew at a networking event

Let’s Talk About People

I recently read this book “First, Break All The Rules” by Marcus Buckinham & Curt Coffman. These guys worked at the Gallup Organization in a 25 year study that found an answer to two questions:

  1. “What do the most talented employees need from their workplace?”

    They surveyed over a million employees and found that every employee is different and should be treated as such – but they all need great managers. Which lead them to ask the second question listed above.

  2. “How do the world’s greatest managers find, focus, and keep talented employees?”

How To: Become A Better Manager

First off, why do you want to be a better manager?

The answer should be along the lines of “I want to know about each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and personalities so that I can provide them a better workplace.  I want my team to be focused, productive, and to grow with my company.

Sound like your “why”? Read on… otherwise, what is your “why”?

Even though every employee (I like to think of them as team members) is different – you can still gain insight into how they feel about their job.

The book “First, Break All The Rules” talks about the evolution of what an employee needs from their workplace.

They make an analogy to climbing a mountain. Haven’t climbed a mountain before? No problem, allow me to explain:

You don’t just climb a mountain all at once .. instead, you have to make stops at different “camps”. That basically translate to “you don’t become a CEO in one day” (or at least, that’s what I gather).

Let’s Apply It

As a manager, you want to make sure your employees are happy at their respective levels.

You can’t get to camp #2 which is half way up the mountain without first stopping at camp #1, right?

Check out this employee survey (let it be known, these questions were modified a little bit to be more “fun”.. they used to be dry and the answers were the standard 1-5, 1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree .. I made the answers a little more fun).

The questions are broken down into sections (denoted by a dotted line). The first section is “base camp”, second is camp #1, then camp #2, and camp #3.

If you answer positively to all 12 questions, you’ve reached the summit (so to speak).

How I Recently Used The Survey

We are a fairly new company, so everyone is pretty much at “base camp”.

Therefore, I want to make sure that everyone gave the top answer to the first 2 questions before looking at theresponses for the next 10.

I gave this survey to all our employees and learned that what I thought about each team member was wrong (and exactly opposite).

Looking at just the first two questions… The employees who I thought knew what was expected of them and had all the materials they need actually didn’t (and vice versa).

Using the results, we conducted a “review session” that focused on the first 2 questions. I asked them:

“What is expected of you?” and “What are you missing that would make you more effective at your job?”

Taking it from there is up to you because every business and every employee is different.

General Advice To Become A Better Manager

I highly recommend the book “First, Break All The Rules” – and there are plenty of other books that can help you become a better manager.

Gotta’ Have A Purpose

From Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Drive”, we learn that purpose is the most motivating factor which “drives” us to do what we do every day.

It used to be biological forces, such as the need for food & water, and money (or other monetary rewards) were the cornerstone of motivation tactics.

But if you think about it .. well, actually think about it.. WHY are you reading this right now? WHY do you go to work? WHY!?

You might find that you did something for a friend just because it gave you purpose. That is, you didn’t get any food, water, or money, but you did it because it gave you a purpose.

You can give purpose in many different ways, such as having a company mission or telling employees why they are doing what they are doing.

Communicate

This is somewhat obvious, but works like a charm.

People like feedback, they like to grow, and they need to know what they are doing wrong (and right) so they can change.

If you think someone is going to change their ways without any intervention, think again (refer to Newtons first law).

Have quarterly (or bi-annual) reviews with your people – look up “how to conduct an employee review” in Google to get some tips.

That’s all for now – I hope this helps. Leave your feedback below.

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