As a leadership coach I consistently am asked to help improve manager performance with managers in a variety of businesses. Sometimes the request comes from an owner and sometimes it comes from employees – or even customers. Yes, it also will come from managers. It’s gotten so frequent that I thought I’d identify several secrets to successful manager performance.
But first, it might be helpful to identify why manager performance is so important in a company.
Managers can be effective sticky paper
In companies that have owners, managers, and employees, managers are often the intermediary between the company’s mission, vision, and goals and the methods to accomplish them. This can even be the case with companies that are not reliant on traditional organizational structure.
In this role a high performing manager is able to effectively convey role value to employees, gain their commitment, be aware of other employee’s feelings and opinions, and is able to understand their motivational needs.
Managers are good at finding the secret sauce
Employee selection, development, and retention go a long way to helping companies perform better. Effective managers are very good at finding, developing, and retaining the people that are vital to both his and his company’s success. Training managers to improve their performance in these areas helps the manager, employees, and company be better aligned and focused.
Related: 5 Tips For A Great Job Interview Process
Managers are great planners and organizers
One of the central roles for any manager is her ability to organize and help her employees set direction. Managers who are effective in these areas are skilled in long-range planning ability, concrete organizing, proactive thinking and being able to see the big picture.
Managers know which fork in the road to take
Managers are not like the famed New York Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra who opined once, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Effective managers are able to manage human and physical resources using their talents in project scheduling, problem/situation analysis, problem solving ability, results orientation, quality orientation, and problem management. Effective use of these talents helps identify the correct road and direction to move themselves and their team in.
Managers know their inner drivers
Every person has a differing level of motivation towards success, in both their professional and personal lives. An effective manager has a keen understanding of her needs and balance in the areas of material possessions, personal relationships, self-improvement, sense of belonging, sense of mission, and the need for status and recognition.
Related: Motivating a Manager for Success
Managers know themselves first
I’ve provided executive coaching to a lot of managers who are episodic, that is, at times they’re great managers, and at other times they’re horrible. This inconsistency leads employees and owners, as well as customers to keep their distance, to not fully engage with the manager.
Over time managers become more effective when they are better able to handle stress, develop a strong ability at personal accountability, can set realistic personal goals, have a good assessment of their personal management strengths and weaknesses, have a well-developed and focused inner strength and self-confidence, can remain rational and objective when faced with a stressful and emotional situation, and can be consistent and true to himself in his actions.
How do managers know what and where they need to improve?
When I’m asked to work with a manager (or group of managers) I will ask a series of questions that seek answers to these six areas. As I go through the discovery process I’ll ask them (and/or their owners and employees) how much they think their performance deficiencies (if they acknowledge them) are costing the company.
Once we identify their concerns I advance several possible reasons for their performance deficiencies and offer to provide a diagnostic assessment to really find out the root causes (why guess when you can know?).
Once the assessment results are in, we review them and chart a course of action to help them improve. It’s always helpful to engage others in the evaluation process, so I usually ask them who they want me to consult with during the course of their executive coaching program. Oftentimes they will select other employees, managers, or even customers. Yes, owners as well are often included.
If you are a manager and want to assess your own level of talent in these areas, click on this link for your free assessment. Managers who excel in performance are those who understand their strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to do something about it.
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