How to Get the Most Out of Your Employees

Managers need to set clear standards for themselves and others. It’s also important that they walk the walk.

Management and leadership are two different animals. Leaders are imaginative, passionate risk takers. They are visionaries who can inspire people and stir emotions. Their main focus is on ideas. Managers, on the other hand, need to be rational, organized problem solvers who can execute strategies, make decisions, co-ordinate and balance opposing viewpoints, reach compromises, and mediate conflicts. Their focus is on goals and outcomes.

As the head of a small to midsize enterprise (SME), you may well wear both hats. Thus, you must develop managerial acumen and skills, whether they come to you naturally or not.

Skillful management is a tremendous competitive advantage for SMEs. Good management leads to greater productivity, better morale, employee and customer loyalty, and service and sales excellence, and it sends a positive message about the organization to employees, customers, suppliers, industry peers and other business associates. Well-managed companies are far more likely to succeed than those that are not well-managed.

Following are some tips to help you manage for business success:

Delegate: Good managers are able to let go of the reins and delegate tasks and responsibilities. They allow people to make mistakes, test limits and grow in their jobs.

Foster Teamwork: As a manager, it’s up to you to hire good people and leverage their abilities. Top managers are able to develop and utilize diverse talents while also keeping people aligned with company goals.

Focus on Value Creation: Although managers are responsible for delivering results, wise managers allow people to be creative and individualistic and apply their own work styles to achieving outcomes. They do not micromanage, but instead set goals and focus on delivering results.

Build Relationships: Great managers make it a priority to build relationships. They spend a lot of time with people, including employees, competitors, and others in their industries and communities.

Seek Feedback: Good managers seek out feedback, especially negative feedback that can reveal where improvement is needed.
Develop Others: The best managers plan for the future. Fostering managerial skills in others is an important aspect of management.

Establish Standards: Managers need to set clear standards for themselves and others. It’s important that employees see their managers walking the walk.

Treatment: Good managers treat people with respect and dignity.

There are some characteristics that are common to both managers and leaders. People in both roles need to be trustworthy, ethical, fair and principled. They need to be able to think big picture and plan long term. The ability to accept responsibility, shoulder blame, acknowledge mistakes and take charge when necessary goes with both territories. Communication skills are also essential to both.

The days of top-down management where the job of the boss was essentially to give orders and maintain the status quo are long gone.

Today’s managers need skill sets that will enable them to motivate, coach and support their people.