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Being a manager can be an intimidating and challenging task. Managing involves teaching new skills to employees, helping land a new customer, accomplishing an important assignment, increasing performance, and much more. The process of management can be very challenging at times, but it can also bring you a sense of fulfillment that you never imagined possible. Organizations rely on managers to make the most out of situations and get the best possible results.
Managing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, is perfect for all levels of managers. This clearly written, easy-to-understand guide will help anyone to
Discover real-life solutions to the most common situations that supervisors and managers face – solutions that stand up over time and can be used during turbulent times. Managing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, also covers the following topics and more:
Managing in today’s lightning-speed business world requires that you have the latest information and techniques for getting the job done. This book provides you with straightforward advice and up-to-the-minute strategies for dealing with anything that comes your way.
|Part I||So, You Want to Be a Manager?||7|
|Chapter 1||You're a Manager--Now What?||9|
|Identifying the Different Styles of Management||9|
|Quick Fixes Don't Stick||13|
|Meeting the Management Challenge||14|
|Explaining the New Functions of Management||19|
|Taking the First Steps toward Becoming a Manager||24|
|Chapter 2||Delegation: Getting Things Done without Getting Done In||29|
|Delegating: The Manager's No. 1 Tool||30|
|Explaining the Myths about Delegation||32|
|Taking the Six Steps to Delegate||37|
|Reviewing the Good and Bad of Delegation||38|
|Checking Up Instead of Checking Out||42|
|Chapter 3||Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way||45|
|Understanding the Differences between Management and Leadership||46|
|Figuring Out What Leaders Do||47|
|Surveying Leading Leadership Traits||50|
|Fostering Collaborative Leadership||54|
|Part II||Managing: The People Part||57|
|Chapter 4||Hiring: The Million-Dollar Decision||59|
|Defining the Characteristics of Your New Employees||60|
|Defining the Job Before You Start||61|
|Finding Good People||62|
|You Can Be the Greatest Interviewer in the World||65|
|Evaluating Your Candidates||70|
|Hiring the Best (And Leaving the Rest)||73|
|Chapter 5||Inspiring Employees to Better Performance||77|
|The Greatest Management Principle in the World||78|
|Figuring Out What Employees What?||80|
|Deciding What to Reward||85|
|Starting with the Positive||87|
|Making a Big Deal about Something Little||88|
|Money Isn't Important (No, Really!)||89|
|Chapter 6||When in Doubt, Coach||95|
|Who's a Coach?||96|
|Coaching: The Short Lesson||97|
|Coaching Metaphors for Success in Business||99|
|Eyeing Turning Points||99|
|Identifying a Coach's Tools||102|
|Part III||Making Things Happen||105|
|Chapter 7||Goal Setting Made Easy||107|
|If You Don't Know Where You're Going, How Do You Know When You Get There?||108|
|Identifying SMART Goals||110|
|Setting Goals: Less Is More||112|
|Communicating Your Goals to Your Team||115|
|Juggling Priorities: Keeping Your Eye on the Ball||117|
|Using Your Power for Good: Making Your Goals Happen||119|
|Chapter 8||Measuring and Monitoring Individual and Project Performance||123|
|Keeping Your Eye on the Ball||124|
|Developing a System for Providing Immediate Performance Feedback||126|
|Putting Performance Measuring and Monitoring into Practice||129|
|Gantts, PERTs, and Other Yardsticks||132|
|You Have Their Number: Now What?||136|
|Chapter 9||The Fine Art of Performance Evaluations||139|
|Evaluating Performance: Why Bother?||140|
|Spelling Out the Performance Evaluation Process||141|
|Avoiding Common Mistakes That Evaluators Make||144|
|Realizing Why Evaluations Go Bad||145|
|Preparing for the No-Surprises Evaluation||147|
|Part IV||Working with (Other) People||151|
|Chapter 10||Getting Your Message Across||153|
|Understanding Communication: The Cornerstone of Business||154|
|The Cutting Edge of Communication||155|
|Harnessing the Power of the Written Word||164|
|Chapter 11||It's a Team Thing||173|
|Phasing Out the Old Hierarchy||174|
|Empowering Your Teams||176|
|Identifying Advantages of Teams||178|
|Setting Up and Supporting Your Teams||179|
|Meetings: Putting Teams to Work||184|
|Chapter 12||Managing Virtual Employees||189|
|Making Room for a New Kind of Employee||190|
|Managing from a Distance||192|
|Managing Different Shifts||193|
|Telecommuting: An Idea Whose Time Has (Finally) Come?||195|
|Chapter 13||Focusing on Ethics and Office Politics||199|
|Doing the Right Thing! Ethics and You||200|
|Evaluating Your Political Environment||204|
|Scrutinizing Communication: What's Real and What's Not?||209|
|Uncovering the Unwritten Rules of Organizational Politics||212|
|Part V||Tough Times for Tough Managers||219|
|Chapter 14||Managing Change on the Job||221|
|What's the Rush?||221|
|Change Affects Everyone||227|
|Encouraging Employee Initiative||228|
|When All Else Fails||229|
|Chapter 15||Employee Discipline: Speaking Softly and Carrying a Big Stick||231|
|Understanding Employee Discipline||232|
|Focusing on Performance, Not Personalities||234|
|Identifying the Two Tracks of Discipline||235|
|Disciplining Employees: A Suite in Five Parts||239|
|Making a Plan for Improvement||242|
|Implementing the Improvement Plan||243|
|Chapter 16||Too Little, Too Late: Terminating Employees||245|
|Terminations for Every Occasion||246|
|Conducting a Layoff||251|
|Heeding the Warning Before You Fire an Employee||254|
|Firing an Employee in Three Steps||255|
|Determining When Is the Best Time to Terminate||257|
|Chapter 17||Managing Me: Taking Care of No. 1||259|
|Feeling the Work-Life Dilemma||259|
|Avoiding Workaholics 'R Us||263|
|Knowing the Symptoms of Stress||264|
|Managing Your Stress||265|
|Part VI||Tools and Techniques for Managing||271|
|Chapter 18||Budgeting, Accounting, and Other Money Stuff||273|
|Exploring the Wonderful World of Budgets||274|
|Making a Budget||276|
|Pulling Rabbits Out of Hats and Other Budget Tricks||278|
|Understanding the Basics of Accounting||282|
|Identifying the Most Common Types of Financial Statements||286|
|Chapter 19||Harnessing the Power of Technology||295|
|Using Technology to Your Advantage||296|
|Weighing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Technology||298|
|Improving Efficiency and Productivity||300|
|Getting the Most Out of Information Technology||302|
|Having a Plan (And Sticking to It)||303|
|Chapter 20||Developing and Mentoring Employees||305|
|Why Help Develop Your Employees?||306|
|Creating Career Development Plans||308|
|Helping Employees to Develop||310|
|Finding a Mentor, Being a Mentor||313|
|Balancing Development and Downsizing||314|
|Chapter 21||Keeping Track of Recent Management Trends||317|
|Going Back to Management 101||318|
|Creating a Learning Organization||318|
|Making a Flat Organization||320|
|Unlocking Open-Book Management||321|
|Understanding Six Sigma||322|
|Part VII||The Part of Tens||325|
|Chapter 22||Ten Common Management Mistakes||327|
|Not Making the Transition from Worker to Manager||327|
|Not Setting Clear Goals and Expectations||328|
|Failing to Delegate||328|
|Failing to Communicate||329|
|Not Making Time for Employees||329|
|Not Recognizing Employee Achievements||330|
|Failing to Learn||330|
|Going for the Quick Fix over the Lasting Solution||331|
|Taking It All Too Seriously||331|
|Chapter 23||The Ten Best Ways to Recognize Employees||333|
|Support and Involvement||333|
|Autonomy and Authority||334|
|Flexible Working Hours||335|
|Learning and Development||335|
|Manager Availability and Time||335|
|Cash or Cash Substitutes||337|
|Chapter 24||Ten Classic Business Books That You Need to Know About||339|
|Managing for Results||339|
|The Human Side of Enterprise||340|
|The Peter Principle||340|
|Up the Organization||340|
|The One Minute Manager||341|
|Leadership Is an Art||341|
|The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization||342|
|The Wisdom of Teams||342|
|Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies||343|
|First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently||343|
In This Chapter
What makes a leader? Countless books have been written, endless videos have been produced, and interminable seminars have been taught on the topic of leadership. Still, leadership is a quality that eludes many who seek it.
Studies show that the main traits that all effective leaders have in common are optimism and confidence. That is, they have a positive outlook and are sure of themselves and their ability to influence others and impact the future. Although similar, leadership and management are different; leadership goes far above and beyond management. A manager can be organized and efficient at getting things done without being a leader -- someone who inspires others to achieve their best. According to management visionary Peter Drucker, leadership is the most basic and scarcest resource in any business enterprise. According to our informal research on this topic, we concur wholeheartedly.
Everyone in an organization wants to work for leaders. Workers want the men and women they work for to exhibit leadership. I wish that my boss would just make a decision -- I'm just spinning my wheels until she does. I guess I'll just wait here until she lets me know what she wants me to do. And wait they do -- until the boss finally notices that the project is two months behind. Top executives want the men and women who work for them to exhibit leadership. You need to take responsibility for your department and pull the numbers into the black before the end of the fiscal year! And employees want their peers to show leadership. If he's not going to straighten out that billing process, then I'll just have to work around it myself!
A leader is many things to many people. In this chapter, we discuss the key skills and attributes that make good managers into great leaders. As this chapter explains, leadership requires the application of a wide variety of skills -- no single trait, when mastered, suddenly makes you an effective leader. You mean that I can't become a great leader just from watching this video? However, you may notice that some leadership skills that follow are also key functions of management for the '90s -- ones that we review in Chapter 1. This is no coincidence.
Being a good manager is quite an accomplishment. Management is by no means an easy task, and mastering the wide range of varied skills that are required can take many years. The best managers get their jobs done efficiently and effectively -- with a minimum of muss and fuss. Like the person behind the scenes of a great performance in sports or the theater, the best managers are often those whom you notice the least.
Great managers are experts at taking their current organizations and optimizing them to accomplish their goals and get their jobs done. By necessity, they focus on the here and now -- not on the tremendous potential of what the future can bring. Managers are expected to make things happen now -- not at some indefinite, fuzzy point in the future. Smeed! Don't tell me what you're going to do for me next year or the year after that! I want results, and I want them now! Having good managers in an organization, however, is not enough.
Great organizations need great management. However, great management does not necessarily make a great organization. For an organization to be great, it must also have great leadership.
Leaders have vision. They look beyond the here and now to see the vast potential of their organizations. And while great leaders are also effective at getting things done in their organizations, they accomplish their goals in a way different from managers.
Managers use policies, procedures, schedules, milestones, incentives, discipline, and other mechanisms to push their employees to achieve the goals of the organization. What? You missed the March project milestone? You know that we can't afford to be late -- the marketing campaign has already started. Please review this schedule and have a detailed report explaining how you're going to get back on track on my desk first thing in the morning. And if another milestone is missed, the threat of discipline or termination is always a very real tool in a skilled manager's bag of tricks.
Leaders, on the other hand, challenge their employees to achieve the goals of the organization by creating a compelling vision of the future and then unlocking their employees' potential. Think about great leaders of recent times. President John F. Kennedy challenged the American people to land a man on the moon. We did. Lee Iacocca challenged the management and workers of the Chrysler Corporation to bring their company out of the clutches of financial disaster and to build a new corporation that would lead the way in product innovation and profitability. They did. Jack Welch of General Electric challenges his workers to help the company attain first or second place in every business that it owns. They do.
All these leaders share a common trait. They all painted compelling visions that grabbed the imagination of their followers and then challenged them to achieve these visions. Without the vision that leaders provide and without the contributions of their followers' hard work, energy, and innovation, the United States would never have landed a man on the moon, the name Chrysler would have slipped quietly into history, and General Electric wouldn't be the hugely successful firm that it is today.
The skills required to be a leader are no secret; it's just that some managers have learned to use them and others haven't. And while some people seem to be born leaders, anyone can learn what leaders do and how to apply these skills themselves.
Despite what some managers believe, there are few workers who don't want to feel pride for their organization and who, given the chance, wouldn't give their all to a cause they believe in. A tremendous well of creativity and energy is just waiting to be tapped in every organization. Leaders use this knowledge to inspire their employees to take action and to achieve great things.
Leaders know the value of employees and their critical importance in achieving the goals of a company. Do the managers in your company know the importance of their employees?
(Source: Bob Nelson, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, Workman Publishing, 1994.)
Unfortunately, few managers reward their employees for being creative or for going beyond the boundaries set by their job descriptions. Too many managers search for workers who do exactly what they are told -- and little else. This practice is a tremendous waste of worker creativity, ideas, and motivation.
Use your influence as a manager to help your employees create energy in their jobs instead of draining it from them with bureaucracy, red tape, policies, and an emphasis on avoiding mistakes.
Leaders are different. Instead of draining energy from their employees, leaders unleash the natural energy within all employees. They do so by clearing the roadblocks to creativity and pride from the paths of their workers and by creating a compelling vision for their employees to strive for. They help employees to tap into energy and initiative that they didn't know they had.
Create a compelling vision for your employees and then clear away the roadblocks to creativity and pride. Your vision must be a stretch to achieve, but not so much of a stretch that the vision is impossible to achieve.
Leaders make a commitment to communicate with their employees and to keep them informed about the organization. Employees want to be an integral part of their organizations and want their opinions and suggestions to be heard. Great leaders earn the commitment of their workers by building communication links throughout the organization -- from the top to the bottom, from the bottom to the top, and from side to side.
So how do you build communication links in your organization? Consider the experiences of the following business leaders:
(Source: Nelson, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees.)
When Bob became a department manager at Blanchard Training and Development, he made a commitment to his team of employees to communicate with them. To make his commitment real, Bob added specifics: He promised that he would report the results of every executive team meeting within 24 hours. Bob's department valued his team briefings because, through this communication, he treated all individuals as colleagues -- not as underlings.
Great leaders know that leadership is not a one-way street. Leadership in the '90s is a two-way interchange of ideas where leaders create a vision and workers throughout an organization develop and communicate ideas of how best to reach the vision. The old one-way, command-and-control model of management doesn't work anymore. Commanding workers may work all right in the Army, but as a daily means of managing a company, it doesn't work well at all. Most employees are not willing to simply take orders and be directed all day long. If you think that they are, you are only fooling yourself.
Great leaders create environments in which employees are safe to speak up, to tell the truth, and to take risks. It's incredible how many managers punish their employees for pointing out problems that they encounter, disagreeing with the conventional wisdom of management, or merely saying what is on their minds. It's even more incredible that many managers punish their employees for taking risks and losing, instead of helping their employees win the next time around.
Great leaders support their employees and facilitate their ability to get things done. The head of an organization where Peter once worked did just the opposite. Instead of leading his employees by force of vision and inspiration, he pushed them with the twin cattle prods (120 volts DC!) of fear and intimidation. The management team members lived in constant fear of his temper, which could explode without warning and seemingly without reason. More than a few managers wore the psychological bruises and scars of his often public outbursts. Instead of contributing to the good of the organization, some managers simply withdrew into their shells and said as little as possible in this leader's presence.
(Source: Nelson, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees.)
Instead of abandoning their employees to the sharks, great leaders throw their followers life preservers when the going gets particularly rough. Although leaders allow their employees free rein in how they achieve their organizations' goals, leaders are always there in the background -- ready to assist and support workers whenever necessary. With the added security of this safety net, employees are more willing to stretch themselves and to take chances that can create enormous payoffs for their organizations.
The new business environment for the '90s and beyond is constant, unrelenting change. About the only thing you can be sure of anymore is that everything will change. And after it changes, it will change again. And again. And again. (Oops, sorry! The keyboard got stuck for a moment there.)
You had better get used to it now, because this is the way of life in business for the foreseeable future. However, while so much in business is changing, great leadership remains steadfast -- like a sturdy rock standing up to the storms of change. Numerous traits of great leaders have remained the same over the years and are still highly valued today. The following sections discuss the leading leadership traits.
According to Stanley Bing, the incredibly insightful columnist for Fortune magazine, many trends are sweeping the business landscape. One major trend is the necessity for managers to talk the talk and walk the walk. While talking the talk means to sound like you know what you are doing, walking the walk takes this a step further and requires that you also look like you know what you're doing -- whether you do or not.
As the related graph shows, the percentage of executives who can talk the talk and those who can walk the walk has been increasing since 1970. However, the ability of managers to talk the talk and walk the walk at the same time has steadily declined from its peak some 20 years ago. Here is some advice from Bing regarding these critical leadership skills:
(Source: Fortune, Sep. 18, 1995, pp. 35-36.)
To great leaders, the future is always a wonderful place. While they may find much adversity and hard work on the way to achieving their goals, leaders always look forward to the future with great promise and optimism. This optimism becomes a glow that radiates from all great leaders and touches all those who come into contact with them.
People want to feel good about themselves and their futures, and they want to work for winners. Workers are therefore naturally attracted to people who are optimistic rather than pessimistic. Who wants to work for someone who enjoys nothing more than spouting doom and gloom about the future of a business? Leaders like this only demotivate their employees and coworkers and lead workers to spend more time polishing their resumes than they do concentrating on improving their organizations.
Optimism is infectious; before long, a great leader can turn an organization full of naysayers into one that is overflowing with positive excitement for the future. This excitement results in greater worker productivity and an improved organizational environment. Morale increases, and so does the organization's bottom line.
Be an optimist. Let your excitement rub off on those around you.
Great leaders have no doubt that they can accomplish any task that they set their minds to -- at least not in public. What? A 10,000 foot-high mountain is in the way? No problem -- we'll climb it. You say that a vast ocean is separating us from our goal? No sweat -- we'll swim it. Hmmm . . . a bottomless crevasse blocking our path? Fine -- we'll leap it. Whatever the challenge may be, we'll find a way to surmount it.
Confident leaders make for confident followers, which is why organizations led by confident leaders are unstoppable. An organization's employees mirror the behavior of their leaders. When leaders are tentative and unsure of themselves, so are workers (and the bottom-line results of the organization). When leaders display self-confidence, workers follow suit, and the results can be astounding.
Be a confident leader. You inspire the best performance of your employees at the same time as you help them to become more confident in their own abilities.
One trait that sets great leaders apart from the rest of the pack is integrity: ethical behavior, values, and a sense of fair play. Honest people -- and that means you -- want to follow honest leaders. In a recent survey, integrity was the most desired trait that employees wanted from their leaders. When an organization's leaders conduct themselves with integrity, the organization can make a very real and positive difference in the lives of its employees, its customers, and others who come in contact with it. This, in turn, results in positive feelings about the organization.
Most working Americans devote a third (or more) of their waking hours to their jobs. Whether the organization makes light fixtures, disposes radioactive waste, develops virtual reality software, or delivers pizzas, people want to be part of an organization that makes a positive difference in people's lives. Sure, money is important -- people have to make car payments and buy baby shoes -- but few would not count this extrinsic reward a secondary consideration to the intrinsic rewards that they derive from their work.
The five principles of ethical power for organizations
In their book The Power of Ethical Management, Ken Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale present five principles to gain ethical power in any organization. As the authors note in the book's introduction, "We believe that a strong code of morality in any business is the first step toward its success. We believe that ethical managers are winning managers."
Blanchard and Peale say that the five principles of ethical power for organizations are
(Source: Kenneth Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Ethical Management, William Morrow & Co., 1988, p. 125.)
The best leaders are decisive. If any complaint is heard from employees time and again, it's that their bosses won't make decisions. Despite the fact that making decisions is one of the key reasons that people are hired to be managers, too few are willing to risk the possibility of making a wrong decision. Instead of making wrong decisions -- and having to face the consequences -- many so-called leaders prefer to indefinitely postpone making a decision, instead continually seeking more information, alternatives, and opinions from others. They hope that, eventually, events may overtake the need to make the decision, or perhaps that someone else may step up to the plate and make the decision for them.
Great leaders make decisions. Now, this doesn't mean that they make decisions in a shoot-from-the-hip, cavalier, gotta-do-it-right-now fashion. No, great leaders take whatever time is necessary to gather whatever information, people, or resources they need to make an informed decision within a reasonable time frame. If the data is immediately available, so be it. If not, then a leader carefully weighs the available data versus the relative need of the decision and then acts accordingly.
Be decisive. Don't wait for the course of events to make decisions for you. Sometimes making a decision -- even if it's the wrong decision -- is better than making no decision at all.
Using a single style of leadership to manage employees is no longer enough. Not only have downsizing, increased global competition, and other factors radically changed the work environment over the past couple decades, but the workforce itself also has changed. If you want to be an effective manager, you can no longer use only one style of leadership. Instead, you must apply different styles of leadership to match the differing needs of your employees.
Situational Leadership is the adaptation of a manager's leadership style to match the development level of the employee for each assigned task. The end result is the belief that no one best way to manage people exists. A leadership style that works for a new, inexperienced employee will likely fail with an experienced worker. And within a group of seemingly identical workers, each employee has his or her own unique needs.
In Situational Leadership, three factors interact to determine a given result:
Leadership involves four distinct styles. These four styles depend on whether a leader exhibits low or high directive behavior and whether a leader exhibits low or high supportive behavior. Each style is appropriate according to the particular needs of those being led.
Directing is the manifestation of a high directive, low supportive leadership behavior. Leaders in directing mode tell their workers exactly what they want done, when they want it done, where they want it done, and how to do it. This style is appropriate for new employees or for employees who have been assigned a new task. These enthusiastic beginners bring energy and excitement to a new job or task, but they need clarity in work direction. This style is not appropriate for experienced employees, who may associate their bosses' directing behavior with a lack of trust in the employees' abilities.
For an example of what we're talking about: Suppose that you have a couple of new employees who have been assigned to assemble a complicated product -- perhaps a super-deluxe, professional-strength widget. This product is so complicated to assemble that you have a 5-page, 47-step procedure for doing the deed. Clearly, if you simply sit your new employees at their designated work stations, give them copies of the procedure, and leave them to fend for themselves, you'll have some frustrated new employees and some pretty lousy super-deluxe, professional-strength widgets.
A far better strategy is to apply directive leadership. Take the time to sit down with your new employees and give them clear direction, working through the process with them. Or ask one of your best assemblers to train the new employees in the process. If the new employees make a mistake, correct them -- immediately. At this point in their learning, your new employees must strictly follow your instructions. This is not a time for your new employees to get creative. After they master the task, then they can work to improve it.
When a leader applies high directive, high supportive behavior, the leader is doing what is called coaching. This style is best used when an employee still needs direction in learning a task but needs increasing support and encouragement to get the task done. In this situation, an employee is having problems in mastering a task and, in the process, has lost enthusiasm for doing the task. In other words, the honeymoon is over and the employee has become a disillusioned learner.
To see how coaching works, consider our example of the employees who are learning to assemble the super-deluxe widget. Your employees have followed your direction, and they are now trying to assemble the widgets on their own. They work and work at putting the widgets together, but because of the complexity of the 47-step procedure, they still have problems completing the assembly on their own.
As a coach, you need to check up on your new employees often to see how they are doing. When you see that they need help to successfully complete their task, your job is to coach them by providing encouragement and direction. You may need to walk them through the procedure again step by step, or you may need only to clarify one or two particular questions. Don't wait for your employees to ask to be coached! They may not even realize that they need to be coached, or they may be too embarrassed to ask.
One thing to remember is that whether in sports or in business, coaches lead their teams, but they don't play in the game. They provide training, guidance, clear direction, and strong support, but while their teams make it happen, the job of the coach requires that he or she watch from the sidelines.
Leaders who exhibit high supportive, low directive behavior are supporting their employees. You use supportive leadership when employees have learned and demonstrated the skills necessary to carry out the desired task but still lack the confidence to do so consistently. Employees in this state of development are called cautious contributors. Their leaders need to encourage them to continue to do a good job.
Back to our new widget assemblers. Actually, they aren't quite so new anymore. They are starting to get the hang of their job, and they usually get it right. As their performance improves, they begin to gain mastery of the task and, as a result, start thinking about alternate approaches to doing the job.
The role of the leader now changes again. Instead of providing the high level of direction that he or she provided in the coaching style of management, the leader now concentrates on supporting employees. The employees are not looking for direction in meeting their challenges, but they do need additional support -- someone to listen to them and help to build their confidence. Supporting managers provide support wherever necessary until their employees are confident in their own skills and abilities.
Solicit ideas and suggestions from your employees for better approaches to getting the job done. When you ask your employees to contribute, you create a learning opportunity for your employees by asking them to think about the details of how they do their jobs and how they can improve them. You reinforce their developing self-confidence by demonstrating that you trust their opinions.
Some of your employees' new ideas may be great -- and others not so great. By explaining to your employees exactly why a new idea will or won't work, you teach them even more about their work processes and about the decision-making process that you use to evaluate new ideas. This learning is invaluable to them as they become more independent of your day-to-day supervision.
Finally, delegating happens when leaders provide low direction and low support to their employees. This style of leadership works best with employees who are both skilled and confident in carrying out their duties. Such individuals are known as peak performers and can be given considerable responsibility to carry out tasks with little direction or support from leaders.
Now our super-deluxe widget assemblers can do their jobs independently and with little or no supervision. They do their jobs well, and if you allow them to implement improvements in the way they do their jobs without your explicit permission, they will do so. Along the way, your new employees have found ways to make the assembly process more efficient. Now, instead of a 47-step procedure to assemble a widget, the procedure may take only 35 steps -- saving your firm time and money while improving the quality of the finished product.
Examples of these employees are undoubtedly all around you. Perhaps your sales manager consistently meets the goals that you set -- on time, every time. Or maybe the mailroom clerk does a great job day in and day out without any direction from you. It could be the program manager who independently meets with customers, sets milestone schedules for project completion, and monitors the team's progress towards its goals.
Moving as many of your employees as possible through the various stages to become peak performers as quickly as possible is in your interest as a leader. Although you don't want to rush your employees into roles for which they are unprepared, the sooner you can delegate tasks to them, the more time you have to concentrate on the tasks that you are uniquely qualified to perform.
Posted April 18, 2008
I thought the book was great because it gave me proven ideas, ways to empower employees, and ways to handle certain situations. It is a book I recommend to any new team leader or manager.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2000
Managing for Dummies is one of those rare books that can be used both as a how-to and a as a reference. It's full of handy information about a wealth of management topics, from motivation to termination. Managing for Dummies uses a clear, no-nonsense approach to explain how to handle most any management situation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.