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Management Fundamentals Every Manager Should Excel In

This article was based on episode 180 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Get 35% off the book Bringing Up The Boss when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join.

“Management” is really a short-hand term that encompasses the dozens of activities a manager must do. When you take on the role of manager, you’re really accepting responsibility for a whole slew of behaviors, most of which you likely were never taught.

Rachel Pacheco’s recent book, Bringing Up The Boss, lays out the essential structure that all new (or experienced!) managers need to manage well. Her book recognizes the importance of learning how to manage each individual team member, the team collectively, and yourself. In our conversation, Rachel shares with me how to use goals, expectations, feedback, and motivation, to individually tailor our approach to each team member and build an empowered team.

SET BOTH GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS

Many managers love creating goals, and sometimes we go too far. We create so many goals that our team doesn’t know what to prioritize. Or we push our team to be so goal-focused that they dismiss other important tasks. We need to incentivize the right behavior and keep goal setting simple.

I prefer to set a limited number of strategic impact, outcome and process goals and often will set a goal that is simply “doing your work effectively” which encompasses all the small tasks that don’t ladder up to one of the strategic goals.

While a lot of people lump goals and expectations together, they’re not the same thing. Goals are what we’re trying to accomplish, while expectations are the framework for how we’re going to get there. To be clear about expectations, give your team examples of what “good” looks like. If you want your team to be proactive, give them examples of proactive behavior. Show your staff what a great agenda looks like. And explain the why of what you’re doing. What will the impact be when your goal is reached?

GIVE LOTS OF FEEDBACK

Feedback, according to Rachel, is one of a manager’s biggest responsibilities. Yet we shy away from feedback because we want to be “nice”. Yet the truth is that withholding feedback hurts our team!

While you might feel anxious about giving feedback, we don’t often think about how anxious a lack of feedback makes our employees. Our people want to know how they’re doing and what they think of their work.

A lack of feedback not only inhibits a person from performing their best right now, it can also harm their future career and job prospects. They will have missed the opportunity to learn how they can be or do better. If you avoid that hard conversation, your employees won’t get the chance to grow and flourish from it.

Positive feedback is also essential. When we praise or acknowledge good work, it reinforces those positive behaviors, too.

TAP INTO MOTIVATION

We all have different driving motivations that give us a sense of fulfillment at work. For most, money will never be motivation enough. Some are motivated by a sense of affiliation and feeling like part of a community. Others thrive off achievement and want to build new skills. We need to figure out what drives each of our teammates so we can connect their work to that specific motivator.

We can do this in many ways. For example, we can (1) ask each team member what they love about their current job, (2) create a motivation survey to learn what makes them happiest at work, and (3) observe our employees in action and build an individual profile of motivation for each one.

Most managers don’t receive much training in management. So we walk around, doing our best and hoping it's enough. But it doesn’t have to be like that. We can develop our skills to be effective managers. We can learn to give our employees enough structure to know how to move forward, but enough space to figure it out for themselves. We can deliver feedback and connect with their individual motivations, and by doing so, create a dynamic, empowering experience for our team.

KEEP UP WITH RACHEL:

Get 35% off Bringing Up The Boss when you become a member of the Modern Manager community at themodernmanager.com/join.


This article was based on episode 180 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.

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