If you followed the tips in my last column you should be well on your way to establishing credibility as a new manager. Of course, life doesn’t always go according to plan. When circumstance throws a monkey in the wrench, a fly in the ointment, a pain in the (fill in the blank based on magnitude), you’ll need to up your game. The following described three common manager challenges and provides simple tools for dealing with them.
- Your staff has different levels of expertise – Even if your employees all do the same job at the same level e.g. sales reps, they will each have different strengths and weaknesses. Adjust your management and coaching styles to fit the needs of the individual. A tool like Situational Leadership can help you understand that practice. Just be sure to hold like position holders to the same standards. In our sales example, while you might spend time coaching one person on customer presentations and another on negotiating tactics, the agreed targets should be fair for all.
- You have a Poor Performer – The company’s HR organization will likely have a formal process for this, but you can help by: setting clear goals at the start of the year, providing performance coaching at least monthly, and conducting comprehensive mid year reviews. If you see a trend of poor performance, address it right away. You can use informal action plans to document progress and help the individual get better. This way, if and when the time comes for a formal performance plan, everyone will be in the loop. You want to avoid surprises at all costs.
- Your Star Gets a Better Offer – High performers are routinely targeted by both headhunters and the competition. Usually if someone has taken interviews and is considering an offer they are already mentally and emotionally gone. You can counter with more money, but are likely delaying the inevitable. A better solution is to get to know your employee’s career aspirations early on. Once discovered, you can help them craft a development and career pathing plan that will ideally retain them as corporate assets. Your contribution to the organization’s talent pool will not go unnoticed and you may find people lining up to work for you if you build a reputation as a talent developer.
There’s an old joke: HR would be great without the people. Many would say the same about management. Don’t be that guy. Make the investment in your people and you’ll collect the dividends.
Need a career coach? Contact me via www.plotlineleadership.com.