4 Things You Thought You Knew About Managing People
Even good, solid managers that really do know to run a business well can fall prey to a few common misconceptions. Whether you manage a group of clerical staffing agencies, world-class fine-dining restaurants, or a small group of administrative professionals; if you’re following these myths you may not be standing out as the excellent manager you strive to be. If you are one such manager, don’t worry – it’s probably not your fault. We’ll show you how to avoid these blunders and give a nice boost to your management skills.
Did you know that low turnover is the single strongest indicator of successful management? Well, hopefully you thought to yourself “No, I didn’t know what…” because it’s not exactly true. This is an article about managerial myths, remember? Anyway, low turnover isn’t a bad thing in its own right but you may need to take a closer look at why. Low turnover that’s too low might mean that you’re letting sub-par employees remain in place when they really should be let go. If you set your standards high, not everyone will meet them and you’ll experience some turnover, which is ok.
If you want your employees to know you appreciate them, throw them an appreciation party!
Nothing says “I value you as an employee” more than inviting your star performers to a non-optional (you might call it optional, but is it really?) event where they either have to stop working or take away from their personal free time. Besides that, some employees really don’t want to socialize with their coworkers. If you want to do something rewarding, let them wear jeans for a week or take a Friday off – or both! Almost anyone would appreciate that.
Don’t let people work from home, you’ll lose accountability. I’ve been an advocate of telecommuting for years but it never fails, there’s always someone in the office that just can't see the value in ditching the commute. Many managers find it difficult to envision a situation where they can't see everything that's happening all the time. If that sounds like you, let me invite you to watch this TED talk by Jason Fried entitled “Why work doesn’t happen at work”.
The bottom line for managing telecommuters is this – focus on the results. If your employees can manage their work load from home, then let it be. In fact, that flexibility may be part of what makes them so successful. There’s a great article on the Fast Company Blog full of advice on how to get work done at home. Read it here.
The best way to find out what your employees really think is to conduct an anonymous survey. It’s true that there are a lot of great things to learn from internal surveys. But don’t be fooled, a lot of your employees still won’t tell the whole truth. Why? Because they simply don’t believe their results are anonymous and fear the repercussions of negative comments. Other employees have specific complaints about other co-workers or job-specific issues that would easily identify them, even in a truly anonymous survey.
All the myths above contain nuggets of truth, so they may not sound so crazy to you. But that’s why they’re so dangerous. It’s easy to believe that good managers should conduct anonymous surveys, throw appreciation parties and continually maintain accountability. But if you take a closer look you’ll see that great management goes below the surface to find what truly motivates their people. The goal isn’t to follow a set of steps to happier employees, rather the goal of a good manager is to build and train better employees in a way that creates intrinsic motivation and results for everyone.