Being a Successful Manager - How I Achieved Success Managing People
All Managers Are Not Created Equal
I have been in Management now for over 20 years. I have worked with many other managers and it still never ceases to amaze me how some people became managers who can’t manage themselves out of a paper bag, are put in charge of other people. Some lack the people skills, some lack the experience and more often than not some lack the common sense of being a manager.
The opposite is also true, we have all had that manager that inspired us, and helped us achieve our potential or goals. They are the ones that valued us more than they valued themselves. The ones that saw their success was developing their staff and realized our success was their success. They celebrated our victories and when we did “fail” they were there to encourage us, in order to make us better.
I have had many employees, as well as former employees tell me that they would work with me again if they had an opportunity. My retention rate with my employees has always been good. Fortunately for me, I really did not have to hire many new employees, my experienced employees rarely left. The locations I managed have consistently showed increased sales and service, high customer satisfaction, and high morale. So what was my secret? What made me successful as a manager of people?
What I Realized
Early on in my professional career I realized that I would achieve my goals if my office was successful. The only way my office would be successful is if my customers were satisfied. So I needed a staff that could deliver great customer service to our customers. My staff was going to be the key to my offices success. The next question I had to answer was how do I get my staff to deliver that great customer service. I also realized another important aspect of a successful office or company, the employees were happy, they enjoyed their work. In summary, happy employees give great customer service.
Let’s face it, when you are in a good mood, you interact with people differently. You are nicer, more accommodating, and people interact with you differently. So the task at hand for me was to develop a staff that had felt good about themselves at work, they had feel they made a difference. I felt if I did that and also set the expectation of how customers should be treated, I could create high customer satisfaction. High customer satisfaction would create repeat business and we could even see referrals from our current customers. Therefore, since my staff interacts with my customers more frequently than I do, they would be the ones that would make my office a success. I needed them more than they needed me. This to me would be the key to my success over the years.
My Rules To Managing People In Business
From that point on I held my self-accountable to some basic rules;
- Treat every employee with respect. Everyone wants to be respected at work; we want to know that we make a difference. I have never talked to an employee as if they were beneath me. I always treat them as an equal. I have the title of Manager, which means I am responsible for the end results, for that they also pay me more. Remember the Golden rule, “treat other people in the same way you want to be treated.”
- Show Coach, in other words, lead by example. If you want an employee to exhibit a certain behavior, your staff needs to be shown that behavior. They need to understand what behavior is expected. If you can’t exhibit the behavior, how can you expect it from someone else?
- Be realistic. Don’t make extraordinary demands on your staff. Keep goals and activities obtainable, you don’t want to assign an activity that cannot be achieved. This will only allow the staff member to fail. When they experience this failure you will see their confidence diminish. If an employee is not confident, your customer will see that as well, and honestly, would you work with someone who was not confident at what they do. Would you want to purchase a product or service where the representative was not confident on their product or service?
- Never ask a staff member do something you would not do yourself. This I feel is very important. It fits in with leading by example. For example if I have weekend hours, I will not ask an employee to work every weekend if I will not work weekend. I won’t ask someone to stay late, if I don’t ever stay late. I have seen retail managers say” I don’t work nights, so you will have to work every night” or I don’t work week ends so you will.”
- Praise when praise is due. If they exhibit the behavior you expect or even exceed it, immediate praise is required. I don’t mean praise in a room with just you and your staff member, I mean praise where others will see and hear you praise them. Give them the recognition in front of their co-workers. Everyone likes to feel special, how special do you feel when the people you work with see and hear you get praise? Public praise builds confidence and boosts morale, never ever reprimand in public you will have the opposite effect.
- Be coachable. Not everyone is perfect, allow one of your staff to critique and review your work. Ask them for suggestions on how to improve, ask what you did well. Just letting them know you are open to being coached and willing to learn, shows them you recognize they have skills you may respect or admire and wish to learn from them. Talk about a loyalty and respect builder, there is none better.
With these four rules, I have proven myself as a highly successful manager, even to the extent that I will be assigned a location that is not performing at expected levels just to help improve that location. I remember that my staff consists of people, adult people, and they should be treated as such. They may respect the position, but do they respect the person in the position, if they don’t your possibility of success is greatly hindered.
The most important asset I have as a manager is my staff. I know it is because of them that I achieve the goals my company has put before me. It is my interaction with my staff, the respect I show them, leading my example; all this has gained their respect and their loyalty. I praise in public and reprimand in private, I accept criticism and ask them to coach me. I welcome and consider their suggestions for improvement not only of myself, but also of processes we have in place.
In the end, this is how I succeeded as a manager. I not only build a team but I build a relationship with my staff, just as I build a relationship with my customer. The final thing I will leave you with is this statement from Zig Ziglar. “You can get everything you want out of life, if you help others get everything they want out of life.” Good luck and much success.