Being a good manager is a difficult balancing act. There’s often a real tension between leading the team (and dealing with the all the people-related issues that come with that) and getting your own day-to-day work done, as well as giving the right impression to senior management.
Managers often find it hard to know what management style to adopt – particularly if they have been promoted into a position where they now have authority over people who used to be colleagues. Should they take an autocratic stance and make it clear who’s in charge? Or should their role be one of coach and/or mentor?
Organisational culture plays a huge part in this. When managers are new, either to the business or to their role, they tend to follow the status quo that has been set by others in senior positions. The problem with this, however, is that many organisations are still hanging on to very out-dated, hierarchical styles of management.
There’s little doubt that businesses benefit from having engaged employees. The landmark piece of research in this field, the MacLeod Report, provided conclusive evidence that staff who enjoy their work and feel connected with their company are more loyal, productive and committed to their jobs.
But eight years on – and several more convincing research studies later – businesses still seem to be struggling with the concept, with surveys showing that levels of disengagement across industry are still high.
It’s a problem that companies cannot afford to ignore. The shock waves created by Brexit, a volatile economic climate and political upheavals around the globe have combined to create massive uncertainty in the workplace. If companies want to keep hold of talented employees, they need to make sure people feel valued, understand where the business is going and can see they have a part in its future.
With employment at an all-time high, companies are having to work harder than ever before to find and keep talented people. A structured approach to recruitment is fundamental to getting the right candidate in the right job at the right time.In a busy environment, however, managers are often so keen to get someone in post that they launch into the search without proper preparation.
Rushing into the hiring process often results in both time and money being wasted. Managers are flooded with inappropriate CVs, spend hours interviewing unsuitable candidates and can end up appointing someone who isn’t a good fit and leaves within a few months.
So what are the key steps you need to take to streamline your recruitment and make sure you end up with the best person for the job?
Setting objectives for individual team members is often regarded by managers as an unnecessary and time-consuming task because by the time these are reviewed, usually once a year during the annual review, they are obsolete. They feel that people’s job descriptions, coupled with a chat during their annual appraisal, should be enough for them to know what needs doing .
The ability to set objectives effectively is, however, a valuable weapon in a manager’s armoury. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals help to keep people energised, focused on the right tasks and aligned to the overall business direction. As well as being SMART, the best objectives will take into account the skills and overall development needs of each individual for their career and stretch them as much as possible. Not only will these objectives be reached, the person will have grown in the process. Without these, they may never have gotten there or known they could!
Clear objectives, which are regularly reviewed, also help ensure teams are agile enough to respond to sudden market changes or shifts in internal priorities.
Here are five reasons why managers need to shift their mind-set and start to see objective setting as an integral part of the way they manage their teams.