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Leadership & Management
The heart and mind of a great manager
Mon, 31 Oct 2011 10:56
New managers are battling to cope with the immense responsibility of leading and inspiring employees due to a lack of training and experience. Management coach Lizanne de Jong shares her tips on how to become a respected and trusted manager at the People Management Skills for New Managers short course hosted by Alusani Skills & Training Network.
De Jong says that the practice of promoting people with good technical capabilities into management positions is growing. This means that new managers often have no prior exposure to management practices and have little or no experience in handling people, managing conflict and communicating with subordinates.
The inability to effectively interact with people is a common failing among new managers despite the fact that good people skills lies at the heart of successful management.
De Jong says that power is another attribute that new mangers are seldom prepared for, and they are often ill-equipped to handle their new found authority. “Inexperience in handling power inevitably leads to misuse or abuse of control to cover up insecurities.”
Untrained managers tend to follow one of two paths says de Jong. They either push their power aside or bandy it about at every turn to avoid titles like ‘softie’ and ‘push over’. This situation is exacerbated by the pressures of follower expectations.
Sound management begins with a thorough assessment and knowledge of self, asserts de Jong. “Knowing your weaknesses and strengths will prevent you from redirecting negative practices and behaviours onto subordinates”.
Becoming a respected and trusted manager means “setting clear boundaries, adhering to the organisation’s system and treating others with respect”. Respect is earned and does not automatically attach itself to a position of authority.
The belief that managers should know how to do the job is one of the greatest barriers to improvement. Don’t be scared to ask for help says de Jong. There are many role-players in the organisation that would be willing to assist.
She urges managers to take advantage of every informational source to empower themselves. Personal development should be an ongoing process. “Read up on the latest material and attend relevant training courses.”
The People Management Skills for New Managers hosted by Alusani Skills & Training Network is a good place to start to remain up- to- date and competitive. Reflection is another excellent tool for improvement. “Give yourself time to think about how you behaved and what you could have done differently”.
“Never be afraid to let subordinates tell you how to perform a task”. The mark of a great manager is one who is willing to accept suggestions and ideas and learn from others. This principle is linked to addressing people as equals. “Don’t treat people like kids and avoid talking down to your team.”
“The best way to motivate employees is through recognition”. De Jong firmly believes that monetary or material rewards are secondary to letting employees know that their efforts are appreciated.
Managers generally perform well in their planning and organisational functions but tend to lag in the controlling and monitoring department. Monitoring employee performance is a particularly complex aspect of management.
“Performance management is about conversations”. Managers should have ongoing conversations which take place throughout the year, advises de Jong. “If you are not there, and don’t know what’s happening in the lives of your employees, you cannot expect to measure performance accurately”, she warns.
Remember that the role of a manager is not necessarily to be liked but “to act fairly, to act with integrity and build trust”. This is the yardstick that every exceptional manager uses to assess their behaviour and practices within the work environment.
Lizanne de Jong has a Masters in Human Resources and has worked as an HR Manager in the retail, education and legal industries amongst others. She runs her own consultancy which specialises in HR, training, coaching and various other interventions in a variety of industries. Her vast experience in HR makes her the ideal candidate to present the ‘People Management Skills for New Managers’ training course for Alusani Skills & Training Network.
This People Management Skills for New Managers training course is packed with leadership and management tools that will build on your current strengths and capabilities and you will use what you learn for years to come. The training course will run on 24 & 25 January 2012 in Johannesburg, for more information call 011 447 7470, email faith @alusani.co.za or visit Alusani Skills & Training Network
By Cindy Payle