Managers have direct influence over their companies’ greatest resources - people; so implementing management training sounds like an easy choice. Yet many companies overlook the impact it can have on managers’ potential and ultimately employee productivity.
A skilled manager can motivate and get the most from his or her employees, while an ineffective manager can sap morale and productivity. The good news is that most of the skills needed to manage others well can be learned. We’ll provide an overview of some of the most important topics to consider below.
1. Management Styles Matter
Every employee is different, and so the best managers understand that the people who report to them have different needs.
Instructional Designer Julie Jaracz has developed training for Alteris Group and provided insights on effective management: “If you’re flexible and in tune with how different people respond to your style, then it helps motivate them, which helps increase productivity. If you have just one style, and you tend to plow forward without getting a sense of what works for your people; it can have a negative impact on motivation,” she shared.
Some employees need space and will perform better with a less involved “coaching” style. Others need a lot of direction and will benefit from specific tasks and regular follow up. A good manager listens to what’s important to each individual and tries to understand how they are motivated. Then it is about empowering employees to make good decisions. This eliminates the need for exhausting micromanaging that can leave both employee and manager unhappy.
Unfortunately this kind of delicate balance between different management styles doesn’t come naturally to many people. An effective management training program will educate managers on what to watch for as well as strategies to implement their new management style.
2. Communication Skills for Managers are Key
Communication skills such as active listening and questioning can be improved with practice. Feedback is also an important area of communication and interaction between manager and employee. For a detailed discussion of this topic, check out our webcast, Peak Strategies for Effective Feedback. Click on the link to watch.
“Practicing, using the skills and getting feedback are really important from your peers and co-workers on a managerial level,” Jaracz explained. “Role playing with your manager or colleagues, or other managers on how to coach people lets you think things through and plan instead of reacting in the moment.”
Respect is also an important part of successful management. “If you respect your manager, it helps with motivation,” Jaracz added. And that applies to leaders regardless of title. “You can have leaders at all levels of the organization even if their title isn’t manager,” she said. She explained that even a manager who is overseeing people may not have the skills to lead a team effectively, while someone at a lower level can demonstrate strong leadership skills and get people working toward a goal together.
3. Tips for Managing Different Generations in the Workplace
Perhaps one of the biggest issues facing the modern manager is the fact that many companies are seeing as many as four generations in the workplace at once. This poses unique challenges. “Everybody has their own personality and style,” Jaracz said. “Although each generation is characterized by preferred communication styles, it is still important to take into account each individual’s specific needs, style, and motivators and not assume, for example, that because someone is a millennial that they prefer to have a virtual meeting instead of in person, or texting instead of email. Consider the impact of generational differences on motivation and productivity, however don’t let that be your only guide.”
But no matter the generation, the bottom line is good management skills can lead to a motivated workforce, which brings higher productivity. “For me, if I’m motivated then I’m more likely to be creative and go the extra mile,” Jaracz said.
“Do I want to be feared or loved? That’s a good question. I want both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me!” - Michael Scott, notoriously bad manager on TV’s The Office