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How to improve your management and leadership

Fine tuning how you manage and lead is one of the most important business investments you’ll ever make. Here’s a quick view on improving your skills. 

Put your people first

Whatever your reasons for being in business, you can’t do it alone.

To succeed in business, you need to:

  • work well with your people (whatever their skill-level or the situation)
  • help your people perform well
  • know how to effectively delegate
  • know when to delegate and when to take control.

When you invest in your management and leadership you’re more likely to do this well — which makes life better for your people, your business and you.

GREAT MAORI PROVERB
He aha te mea nui o te āo? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people

Fine tune your communication skills

Good communication underpins every aspect of being an effective manager or leader.

Strengthen your communication skills to:

  • motivate people to work to their full potential
  • convey expectations clearly so that people know what you want from them
  • delegate projects and tasks as necessary
  • help prevent mix-ups that waste time and money
  • build relationships with your employees that will see you through good times and bad.

Check the way you give staff feedback. Make sure people are able to act on what you say, eg if someone has done something well, let them know what you liked so they can do it again. If somebody needs to improve, make sure you convey how.

Make sure you’re getting messages across clearly. That people understand what you’re trying to say, and you’re using the best tools. And remember, different people may have different preferences, and you may tackle different situations in different ways, eg always try to deliver bad news and give complicated or urgent instructions face-to-face.

FACT BY LEADERSHIP EXPERT
"Tend to the people and they will tend to the business.”
Leadership expert John Maxwell.

Make Trust a priority

Healthy, trusting relationships with your workers are a key part of leading and managing well. When your business is based on trust:

  • it’s easier to retain staff
  • your business is more likely to be efficient — and so more profitable
  • people are more likely to give each other honest feedback and share ideas 
  • your workplace will be happier and healthier place to be.

Make sure your people have the right skills and tools to do their jobs and trust them to perform well. Take time to win employees’ trust in you.

You’ll be rewarded with high functioning and loyal teams, more time to give to your family and hobbies, or to watch your business grow.

FACT
Trust and Profit go hand in hand

Check your practices are fair

Treat people fairly and fairly manage your business policies and processes.
Being fair doesn’t always mean treating everyone the same.
For example, if one of your employees has a low stress threshold because of a medical condition, it would be unfair if you didn’t make special allowances for their circumstances.
In some other situations treating everyone the same is essential, eg applying the same criteria when you manage people’s performance.

Use different leadership styles

When it comes to leadership, there’s no one size fits all. Most leaders tend towards a certain style. But sometimes an approach other than your go-to may get better results. Learn to adapt your leadership style to suit:

  • who you’re talking to
  • their skill level 
  • your deadline
  • how critical the project or task is to your business success.

QUOTE FROM COO OF FACEBOOK
"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence."
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer Facebook.

Motivate your employees

Motivate your people and they’re more likely to care about your business. Understanding employees’ values is the key to motivating your team. If you want your business to fire on all cylinders, take time to discover what lights employees’ fires.
Motivated employees:

  • take pride in working for you
  • waste less and achieve more
  • will happily go the extra mile
  • roll with frustrations and roadblocks
  • are less inclined to look for work elsewhere.

Manage your peoples performs

Just as you would take care to service your most valuable equipment or machinery, it’s important to actively help your people perform.Look after your employees, find out what they need. Identify any problems and work out how to fix them together. Give them the right tools and develop their skills.
Performance management allows people to:

  • prioritise their workload
  • think about skills they’d like to develop
  • work more efficiently
  • achieve what’s important to you both.

Connect what employees work on with what’s going to make your business succeed — whatever success looks like for you.

Have a plan for underperforming

If an employee is underperforming, check you’ve done all you can to help before moving on to a formal performance management plan.
Set workers up for great performance by removing anything that may be stopping them from performing well. Give them the tools and support they need.

Planning for underperformance helps you:

  • address problems before they become serious
  • support employees to do their best work
  • meet your obligations to employees
  • do right by your people and your business.

If an employee is underperforming, check you’ve done all you can to help before moving on to a formal performance management plan.

Set workers up for great performance by removing anything that may be stopping them from performing well. Give them the tools and support they need.
Planning for underperformance helps you:

  • address problems before they become serious
  • support employees to do their best work
  • meet your obligations to employees
  • do right by your people and your business.

Shape your work place culture

Don’t leave your culture to chance. Your market position, your strategy and long-term business goals should all play a part.
Getting your culture right helps you:

  • build competitive advantage 
  • attract and keep the people your business needs
  • give people a sense of belonging
  • make people feel good about working for you
  • show people what’s expected
  • motivate people to do their jobs well. 

Most workplace cultures are people or process led. Smart leaders adjust the levels of one or the other to support their long-term business plans.

Complements of www.business.govt.nz









 

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