It’s possible to be a leader without managing staff directly, but managers should have leadership qualities if they want to maximize their team’s performance.
Qualities of great managers and leaders include:
- Creativity and versatility
- Focus and discipline
- Responsibility to build and manage relationships
Leadership is all about setting vision, leading by example, and motivating your team to follow you ... not to work for you.
Great managers know how to make the most out of their team. For managers to succeed, they need to set goals and make sure their staff is focused. This can be done by:
Using a Project Management Tool
When a project is active over an extended period, staff members might be unsure of where they are in the process, forget a deadline, or need someone else to do something before they can start on their next task.
A central tool or software to store this data can prevent this, and keep all members of the team up-to-speed with the whole project.
Delegating Tasks Wisely
Assigning tasks based on employee’s skills helps them to focus and meet targets.
So, if you know someone is great with numbers, give them a math-based task rather than a writing assignment.
Not only does delegating tasks help to motivate employees, it also helps save time. They already know what they’re doing!
Simplifying and Streamlining
If you have three smaller but similar tasks, you could boost employee performance by giving them to one person — rather than three individuals.
This helps people feel more in control of that specific project, which means they are usually quicker to meet deadlines.
Giving Staff Something to Aim For
When you're aiming to focus your team and reach goals, think about what's in it for them — other than their bi-weekly paycheck.
Give your staff something to aim for: Percentages of overall profit from the project they're working on, team days out, or shares in the companycould be the extra push they need to complete their tasks on time.
Setting Check-in Meetings
If the project you’re working on is long or ongoing, your team’s output might start to dwindle.
This isn't uncommon and can happen due to boredom, confusion, or being unsure of what they need to do next.
You can prevent this from impacting your deadlines by setting regular check-in meetings. Weekly or bi-weekly discussions can help get everyone back on track and give staff the opportunity to voice concerns that are restricting their output.
How Can Managers Be More Effective?
- Set SMART goals that people can realistically achieve.
- Delegate tasks according to employee skills.
- Encourage employees to give feedback through asking questions.
- Listen to your team.
- Recognize and reward staff achievements.
- Set a good example.
- Customize your leadership style for individuals, projects, and deadlines.
- Be transparent.
- Make your working environment fun and positive.
Good leaders and managers know how to get the most out of their team. However, there’s one small thing that makes this possible: motivation.
If employees aren't motivated to work, they’re unlikely to meet deadlines — and achieve goals.
However, if your team is motivated and comes to the office ready to start working, it'll lead to better performance and higher job satisfaction.
You can experience these benefits and motivate your staff through using these tactics:
Recognize and Reward
Because analyzing is part of a manager’s daily to-do list, they should be able to see how staff are performing.
Recognizing this, and rewarding their good behavior, can be a fantastic boost of motivation for your team. If their hard work is paying off, they’ll be sure to continue performing at a high level.
That’s why achievement and recognition have been found to lead to higher job satisfaction.
Be sure to reward members of your staff that are working outside of the box or helping other employees meet their targets.
Suitable rewards could be leading a project, gift vouchers to a free lunch, or a day off. Showing that you take notice of hard work, and appreciate it, is a surefire way to motivate staff.
Create a Positive Company Culture
Company culture is dependant on your work environment.
Since managers always want to boost their team’s performance, crafting a positive company culture could be the motivation boost they need to meet their goals.
Managers should make employees feel:
- Valued for their thoughts and ideas.
- Encouraged to do their best work.
Creating a culture based on openness, communication, and appreciation of one another can help to achieve this.
Instead of following the directive leadership style, managers can motivate their employees by explaining the impact they're making.
One study saw a 7% improvement in productivity when a group of workers saw how their actions had a positive impact in the factory.
You could use this methodology to motivate staff by explaining:
- How their actions are impacting customers — i.e., "if we get this task done quickly, people in our local community can enjoy a hot meal."
- How their actions are impacting the company — i.e., "if we can complete this project ahead of schedule, we'll be able to charge an extra $5,000 — this could help us upgrade your old desktop computers."
The tactic may sound obvious, but it’s often underused.
Help Your Team Meet Personal Goals
No matter where a member of staff falls in your organization’s hierarchy, they’re likely to have personal career goals.
That could be:
- To move into a different department.
- To earn a certain salary.
- To become the manager of a big project.
As a manager, you can motivate staff by understanding their personal goals — and by helping your team members reach them.
This can be done by regularly scheduling meetings and taking time to understand new members. Work together to create a long-term plan, and explain how their performance now affects the likelihood of meeting their personal goal.
Get to Know Everyone
Take some time out of your schedule and get to know everyone you’re managing.
Ask about their family, make friends with your team, and learn what makes them tick.
Remember: one size doesn't fit all when it comes to managing. You might need to adapt your leadership style for different people on your team and push each person at their own pace.
Over To You
Now you've learned what it takes to become a great manager, and you can start building a solid team that helps you to produce fantastic work.
Remember: staff who connect with their managers enjoy their work —reducing employee turnover.
If you can build a leadership strategy that makes the workplace fun and boosts staff performance, you’re sure to have a high performing team.