You achieve results through your staff

If you’ve recently taken on responsibility for a leadership role then you’ve probably started to think about how to manage people. You might possess great technical skills, but people management is something quite different.

The major adjustment for many people when they are moving away from performing an operational role into a management role is learning that they must now achieve outcomes through the efforts of their staff. This requires them to set clear expectations and monitor staff performance against those expectations.

It also means being acutely aware that you are now being observed by your staff and that it is important that you set the right example. Your people will have no respect at all for you if what you do does not match what you say. In other words, if you talk about working together as a team but never lend a hand in a crisis, then you will have no credibility.

Five quick tips to help you manage staff

So, if you’re looking for some quick and easy tips for managing and motivating staff, consider the following five ideas ….

  1. Ask people for their ideas. There’s no point having a team behind you if you’re not willing to take advantage of their skills and experience. Never start thinking that you know it all – so seek the input of your staff when you are faced with the need to make a key decision or solve a problem
  2. Fess up quickly if you make a mistake. We all make mistakes, although you don’t want to be making the same mistake again. As a new manager, chances are you’ll get it wrong sometimes, so don’t beat yourself up about it
  3. When a staff member drops the ball, don’t be too quick to pick it up for them. In other words, don’t be the one who fixes their mistake – instead help them to get things back on track for themselves. That way, you help them build more self-reliance
  4. Have regular catch-ups with your staff. Depending upon the nature of your work and the maturity of your team, this could be on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Although you certainly do not need to know all the details of your staff activities, you do need to be assured that they are delivering what they are supposed to.
  5. Nip performance issues in-the-bud. Although it might sometimes seem easier to ignore a performance issue, you will usually be better served by raising performance concerns with staff at an early stage. The longer you put off addressing a performance issue the more likely the staff member will start to think what’s happening is OK. Raising a concern could be as simple as saying something like “I’ve noticed the last couple of days your morning reports have been submitted a bit later than what they should – is there anything you need assistance with?” It’s a polite reminder to the person about what’s required, and also gives them a chance to alert you if there is a problem

Also, get some management training. If you’re in Australia and you or your company are looking for training that is short and practical, then have a look at our Management Course

So in closing, learning how to manage and motivate people is an on-going process. Staff can be unpredictable and moody – and will probably cause you some headaches on occasion ….. But hang in there. In learning how to manage people effectively, you will likely also be learning more about yourself and your confidence will grow.

Over time and with more experience, you will begin to find the management role more rewarding and satisfying as you succeed in delivering results through managing people

Also make sure to have a look at How to delegate for some great tips on delegation, particularly if you struggle with “letting go”

  • Listen and THINK before speaking

The following short video clip features Marshall Goldsmith, who is regarded as one of the major Thought Leaders in the field of leadership development around the world. He offers some simple but timeless advice on the importance of thinking before speaking when you have responsibility for managing people.