I have spent the majority of my life as an entrepreneur, as did my father, grandfather and great-grandfather. It just seemed to be something in our genes that made us want to stretch out our wings and do our own thing.
But a few years ago, I sold my businesses and got tired of the golf 5 days a week. Not to mention that health insurance as well as other costs where going up and my income wasn’t. So I decided to take a job as a manager with a fortune 500 company. Here I would get income, benefits and a taste of corporate life that I had never experienced.
I lasted two months! In my opinion, the management style hurt productivity much more than it helped. As a manager, I was expected to rule my team with an iron fist. It was literally in their handbook that no matter how good an employee was, there was no such thing as a perfect employee so I was to address the most minor issues with the best employees. This never helped team cohesiveness and frankly created resentment between management and employee.
So after two months, I walked into the bosses office and said that I was not fit for the corporate culture at this company. Despite never telling me I had done a good job, he started offering me incentives to stay, more pay, a better position etc… But I knew that this was the companies culture from the beginning and it wasn’t going to change, so I politely declined and started my own affiliate marketing business.
Now over the years I have owned and operated many different types of businesses with the number of employees ranging from 1 (me), to over 400 and plenty in-between, I have tried many different management styles and while depending on the business and who your employees are, some management styles worked better than others. But generally, I have found ten relatively simple ways to improve team management skills and boost productivity.
I have found that if you’re an owner, high level executive or just a manager of a single team of people these ten tips can boost productivity in almost every situation:
1. Be Clear About Your Goals and Write Them Down
Now this part in particular needs to be written by the owner or CEO, as the lower level managers will take those goals and apply them to their own teams of people.
Note that this doesn’t mean writing down “We are going to make widgets and become the most profitable widget maker in the world.” Anyone could come up with that. Your goals must be clear and attainable and have ways to measure progress. A much clearer goal would be to increase profits by 10% in a year. You can then have specific goals for the managers of different departments.
For example the goal for the marketing manager may be to find new and more efficient ways of marketing so that your marketing efforts reach 5% more customers with the same budget. The production manager may have some good ideas about streamlining production to increase productivity. A goal for the sales manager maybe to break into a new or untapped market.
The important thing is that your overall goals are clear, all of your managers are on board and know what is expected of them and that you continuously monitor each departments progress. This process should be repeated by your managers to their team members.
2. Come up with Objectives
Now this may sound the same a coming up with goals, but it’s not.
Goals can be thought of as the end result, where you want to be. Objectives are the steps you must take to reach the goals. Take a look at this article to know their differences:
For example. a goal might be to increase customer satisfaction and the objectives to getting there might include faster shipping times, easier returns and improvements in customer service etc.
4. Hire Competent People, Then Get out of Their Way
As a manager, your boss or senior executive should have gone over the companies goals so that you have a good understanding of where the company wants to be. A good manager should set out clear goals for the department with reasonable, attainable and measurable goals. You can then take the goals that have been set for your department and give them to each employee according to their skill level.
Now you may have noticed the second part of the tip was to “get out of their way.” This is only if you hired the people who have the correct skills. Part of your job as a manager is to check on and measure progress of your employees. If you are finding someone who just can’t seem to keep up, try setting them up with a mentor, or even beak down their job responsibilities so they don’t seem overwhelming.
But the bottom line is that you have a responsibility to the company to get your part of the overall mission finished on time and done well, otherwise it reflex on you as a manager. While no one likes it, termination maybe the only solution.
5. Have Regular Meetings with Your Staff
Problems, issues and bottlenecks will inevitably arise in any organization. Part of your job as a manager is to identify the issues and correct them before they become problems.
Having regular productive meetings with your staff is key to identifying problems before they get out of control.
Let’s just say that your employees are having a hard time shipping items on time because they can’t get them from the warehouse soon enough. This is where you earn your money!