The Role of a Manager: Strength Development and Investment Strategies

“With so many operational responsibilities I don’t have time to develop my team. I just get out of their way and let them do their own thing.” If you’ve heard a manager say this or have said it yourself, read on. This “pain point” is not uncommon, but left without a resolution will lead to nothing more than average results, greater turnover and status quo performance. Guaranteed!

What if Michael Phelps’ coach didn’t have time to create a strategy to improve his workouts? Would he have won 18 gold medals? What if Tiger Woods’ dad had not taken the time to help him improve his game through the value of an intense work ethic? Would he have won as many tournaments?

Management in business and organizations is defined as a “means to coordinate the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively,” according to Wikipedia. How can we live up to this simple definition if we “don’t have time to coach those who report to us?”

The 2002 bestselling book, Tipping Point focuses on “The Law of the Few,” the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts that propel companies to exponentially greater success. The book does not outline a series of economic strategies. It’s all about people. Great success takes more than simply believing that people are a company’s most valuable asset, we have to act on that belief.

Those organizations who successfully navigated the recession of 2009 learned that we have to do more with less. Expectations from our leaders and clients are more intense than ever. And we’re supposed to have “work/life balance?” How? Here’s how: Ask those who report to you to take more responsibility for their own growth.

Begin by sharing your thoughts about your employee’s greatest strengths. If someone is great at creating business relationships with clients ask them to come up with ideas to use that talent to grow their business. If an employee loves creating spreadsheets ask if they could take on a project that would benefit from their accuracy in this regard. Study and recognize your team’s talents and make a conscious effort to bring these to their attention.

Ask your employees to define three (that’s it, just three) 30, 60, 90 day goals and objectives based on the clearly defined expectations of the business you’ve shared with them. (If you have not defined the most important objectives of the company then do it and do it now. Employees have no idea what direction to go if a road map has not been communicated.)

Ask your employees, “What action steps can they take to achieve their goals?” Can they create these action steps themselves? If yes, great. Have them craft action steps and then review and commit to them. If not, collaborate with the employee to suggest action steps.

Ask the employee to keep a record of what they have accomplished weekly and report that data to you.

Review progress as necessary (weekly, monthly) and at 90 days assess the employee’s accomplishments and either reset goals, or readdress those objectives that were not accomplished.

A brilliant hotelier, Christian Zandonella said to me recently, “It’s not an accomplishment unless you can bullet point it!” And success is measured not in high level goals, but in concrete, actionable steps.

For example:

Work to improve client satisfaction scores. (Not an action step!)

Warmly welcome every client who walks into the store. (An action step!)

Increase sales by 5% each month. (Not an action step!)

Review new stock daily and immediately call two clients who would be interested in the product based on their past preferences. (An action step!)

Look what you’ve done! You’ve taken 25-50% of the responsibility off your plate and given it to your employees.

If you are a manager who understands the importance of developing your team, you’ve just relieved a great deal of the angst of giving your employee’s every move they need to make to be successful – ongoing multiple goals, keeping track of their accomplishments, and how they will measure their success. Allow them to own these steps. Agree to the goals and action steps, ask them to go out and do it, ask them to measure their accomplishments, review and reset.

If you’re a manager who “doesn’t have time” at least you’ve delegated those responsibilities to those who care about it the most – your employees.

Want to save even more time, be more effective with your management skills, and lead more engaged, happier and productive employees? More to follow…

Mark Epp
Senior Management Consultant
mepp@talentplus.com