Reaching required targets and goals, fulfilling KPIs, conducting regular appraisals and getting work done from subordinates – are these only yardsticks to gauge a manager’s performance? No. Effective managers are ideal combinations of soft skills and numbers. If you are a manager or in a position where you are leading a team, use these yardsticks to find out whether you are really an effective manager or not.
Do you provide relevant and immediate feedback?
There are essentially two broad categories of employees. One category comprises the star performers and the positive learners who will specifically await feedback from their managers from time to time so that they can act upon the same. The second category comprises the procrastinators and the slackers, who exist to solely clock in their 9 to 5 hours and get their monthly salary. For both types of categories, prompt, well observed and well recorded feedback is essential.
This may not necessarily be the feedback in relation to achieving monthly sales targets or some such. This is kaizen type of feedback – the theory of providing feedback for continuous improvement. And how will this help you deal with your slacking and annoying employees? Effective managers keep their feedback well recorded for such employees so that when it’s time to fire or de-rank them, they have solid reasons and evidences to do so. As you can see, effective managers make relevant and immediate feedback work for them in more ways than one.
Do you allow your subordinates to make reasonable mistakes?
A manager who is arrogant, uptight, feared and inaccessible is not strong, but actually of no use. Effective managers must create a culture where employees can grow by making mistakes, correcting them, thinking about how they could have done something better, brainstorm innovative and creative approaches to problem solving and so on. To be able to handle failure, seek corrective and cooperative measures for other employees’ mistakes and be humble enough to admit their own, are some of the crucial characteristics of an effective manager.
Do you give credit where it is due?
The problem with most managers and senior executives is that they tend to micro manage tasks and take direct reporting to their up-line executives in their own hands. While that is how the managerial hierarchy is supposed to work, managers tend to take more credit for something done well rather than individually passing it on to the group of employees who have actually performed the task. They key is a simple acknowledgement. No employee wants a standing ovation at the annual general meeting or a gold medal for the report they make over 6 months.
A simple email from the manager with a CC to the supervising executives or a message left on the company’s intranet or its internal social media platform will work wonders for strengthening the loyalty, motivation and enthusiasm of subordinates. As a manager, have you tried appreciating your subordinates’ work in public?
Do you create short term winning situations?
As a manager, do you think your employees are really going to bother with a performance appraisal which is a year away? In any case, simply retaining employees or helping them achieve their targets is not the true yardstick of an effective manager. To create employees of good value, you need to train them by creating short term goals that you know are achievable.
These win-win situations could be anything – from letting your subordinates take lead in a negotiation to asking them to respond to a technical query that you are actually supposed to or to create a conflict that you expect them to solve. The rate at which your employees grow under the umbrella you provide them is a crucial yardstick in determining whether you are an effective manager or not.
Do you have a one-on-one relationship with your immediate team?
In SMEs, it may be possible for managers to have a one-on-one relationship with employees or teams that they work with. But in larger organizations, this is understandably not possible. An effective manager will take steps to ensure that there is at least one opportunity where he/she and the subordinate have interacted personally.
This will give the manager a chance to know the employee as a person, what their interests are, what their mindset is, whether or not they are long term types of employees worthy investing time in, do they have specific abilities, so on and so forth. While these are things that you will discover as you go along as a manger, having a personal relationship with your teammates will definitely hold you in good stead at the workplace.