While some people spend their days dreaming about the corner office and adding the word “manager,” to their LinkedIn profiles, others find themselves in management positions almost by accident. Some are born great, and some have greatness thrust upon then. First time managers who suddenly find themselves responsible for a group of employees – or even their ex-peers – will face myriad challenges in the transition. Here are a few ideas for getting a better foothold on their new teams.
Project Management Should Go Digital
Congratulations, your responsibilities are growing! You’re adding to your team or your customer-base is increasing, but either way, there’s more work for you to manage.
Most businesses hit a breaking point when they can’t keep up with deadlines and assignments with simple email communication. Project management software like Podio lets teams come together to assign tasks and deadlines to stay accountable. As a manager, you’ll be better able to grasp the workloads of your charges and make sure that no deadlines slip through the cracks. Little mistakes can add up and have major costs to a department or company.
Implement Time Clock Software
As young start-ups get bigger, they often face the growing pains of keeping an eye on employee hours. The original founders might be salaried and willing to work 60 hours per week, but the new hourly employees like to leave early or take long lunches. Some new companies just use a Google Doc as a time clock or ask their employees to email their hours on the honor system.
Companies and managers who are looking to grow should invest in workforce management solutions. At the very least, it makes your business look more professional, while, at the most, it saves your company time and money. Having employees clock in and out through the software instead of using the honor system will assure you that you’re getting the full 40 hours a week from them.
Make Email Follow-Ups Easier
Now that you’re a manager, your email will change in two ways. First, the number of emails you receive each day will triple. All of your employees will go through you to make decisions, so failing to reply could hold up an entire project.
Next, you will send out countless more emails – some of which employees might not reply to. Did they see the email? Do they understand the new procedures? Does their silence mean they agree?
At the very least, managers should download Boomerang if they use Gmail. Don’t worry, there’s other software for other email systems. Email software tells you when someone opened an email, and reminds you to send a follow-up if you haven’t received a reply in a set number of days.
There are even some tools out there that tell you if the recipient downloaded attachments and how long they looked at the message. The question will move from “did you see my email?” to “why haven’t you adopted the system laid out in yesterday’s email?”
Open the Lines of Communication
If communication breakdowns continue to happen, evaluate where the holes in the system are. Something as simple as creating company Skype accounts can help employees collaborate and share files.
It’s possible that your employees don’t feel comfortable offering feedback and suggestions yet. Their ideas are what will propel you from good to great as a manager. Try using an anonymous feedback form to encourage employee criticism and suggestions. After all, how will things change if you don’t know there’s a problem?
Finally, test the waters on social media. If you’re having a problem with employees spending all day on Twitter, consider making company accounts. This turns them into brand ambassadors representing the company online. Plus, this solution is much more proactive than just blocking the problem sites.
It’s All Up to You
Whatever problem you face as a manager, there’s an app for that. This list was meant to help get you thinking of new ways to implement technology to make your office run smoother. A successful manager will face challenges head on and try new systems and tools for improvement, and a poor manager will stick to a broken system. Which one will you be?
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