5 Resolutions That Every Manager Should Make
Most managers and leaders I meet often ask me how to get their team to work more efficiently. The struggles are multi-fold ranging from not being able to keep up with deadlines, to being overwhelmed by targets and also unable to keep up to the commitments they themselves made. However, what needs to be observed is that these are merely the symptoms and the real cause lies somewhere else. In almost all the cases, the employees or team members deny that they have any intentional lax in their performance. Hence, when managers try to pull them up or correct them, there’s naturally a disconnect.
Let’s look at this from the other side. Think of the number of times you have had to correct an employee for a certain task or work which they are supposed to do. Correction is not a one-time process but rather an ongoing activity. Until you ‘resolve’ or firmly determine to ‘lead’ your employees into the result you expect out of them. Similarly, until the employees or managers in your team ‘resolve’ to improve, bringing about a change is almost impossible. This New Year, how about having a set of resolutions that can free up your time from repeated corrections?
5 Resolutions Every Manager Should Make in the New Year
1. Make appreciation a top priority
All good things start with a resolution to be good. Let the same reflect in your corporate life as well. As a manager or leader, start appreciating your employees a bit more often in the New Year. How does that help? Let me explain this to you through an example that’s personal to you.
In the early days of your career, you hoped and wished that your manager would notice every task you did. There were times where you might have wished that they could have appreciated your effort rather than staring right through you. You don’t need to be that same manager to your team in this New Year. We all tend to appreciate when people do exceptionally well but the point is not that.
Thousands of employees have told me this either in their personal interactions or through the anonymous reviews after my workshop. Some of their most memorable moments included the ones where their managers appreciated and encouraged them when they were ‘good enough’. They said and I quote, “When you get appreciated even for the little effort you put, you want to put in much more.”
2. Practice Delegation
Nikita (name changed), a content writer, was extremely good at writing articles related to technology. Over the course of time, she got promoted as a team leader however, she was still writing a lot of articles by herself. She believed that she was comfortable at writing technology and didn’t trust anyone else in giving the same quality as her. As a result, she ended up working overtime on most days, trying to juggle between the duties of her as a writer and a team leader.
Thus, by choosing not to delegate Nikita didn’t just deny herself of bigger responsibilities but also deprived her team the chance of growing and improving in their writing skills.
The moral: start your new year by resolving to delegate more to your team. I understand that delegation isn’t as easy as it sounds. Nikita’s fear was about the quality and I’m sure you would relate to it too. A plausible way to work this out would be using the Principle of Comparative Advantage while delegating. In this, you do only the tasks that you are much better than your team and let them do the rest. It might initially have some rough patches as your team learns to adapt and improve but has a huge pay-off in the long run. Also, you end up having a lot more time to invest in other tasks that add more value to the business.
3. Give and gather feedback
Resolutions need dialogue. In professional life, one of the best and most-productive forms of this is feedback which you must only give but also receive from your team. This New Year, why not encourage more formal and informal feedback within your teams?
Every feedback MUST start with something you appreciate in the person or the task they did. This helps them to put down their defences and be more attentive to you. Follow this with genuine positive and action-oriented criticism and you’ll see the employee excited to not just accept but also work on your suggestion almost right away. Giving regular feedback (even daily if possible) can help the team in reinforcing the right methodology and better manner of operation.
Resolve to have a dialogue means you ask them feedback on your way of doing things too. Ask them if they have any suggestions or observations for you? Not all will speak up but there’s a decent chance of getting some exceptional ideas and suggestions on how you can be a better leader. Besides, knowing your employees are observing and giving you feedback will also help you keep up to your resolution of giving more feedback.
4. Hire at least one person who is better than you
One of the most crucial yet necessary resolutions you can make this year is to hire people who are smarter than you. Sounds easier said than done but trust me, as a leader optimising the team’s performance is more important than hiring with biases. Widen the talent bracket beyond your knowledge domain. You might even take help of external agencies/ resources/ contacts to help you hire the best talent. This will not just add a new perspective but also bring in the much-needed variety in business for the modern times.
For example: In a business of printing, hiring someone who is experienced in the market and knows printing is excellent. But would that make your business the best print-provider? To actually be the best in business and make profits, you would need someone with analytical skills, financial knowledge, accounting acumen, management skills, marketing (digital and offline) expertise, legal background and much more. While you may have most of it, having an expert on board for each would end up giving you an edge over your competitors.
5. Come what may don’t let go
Last but not least, resolve to reduce your employee attrition percentage in this New Year. Seems pretty obvious but like most of our other resolutions it gets easily forgotten amidst ‘other important work’. Everyone agrees towards the importance of having an organised retention strategy. However, not all leverage the power of having individual strategies for each employees.
Having a blanket policy is much like having a team lunch. Though you may broadly customise it according to Veg, Non-Veg and/or Jain food, not all people would like all the delicacies on the menu. Individual preferences would take precedence and you would also have some people having just the salad or the soup.
Retaining smart talent is equally important (if not more) than hiring them. It requires meticulous retention strategy that can help you persuade the employee to choose otherwise every time he/she decides to leave. Add this in your To-Do list and your monthly or quarterly plans. Attaching names to the list makes it all the more personal and important.
Names can change the game. It could nudge you from having the same blanket strategy for all employees to having an individual strategy for each employee that you value. The earlier one may or may not be able to retain but the latter will definitely help you hold the employee bit longer. Understanding the individual’s motivation, reasons for leaving and more importantly, the reasons for staying that long will help you empathise and come on a mutually agreeable solution. Having a regular and direct conversation with such employees on how important their contributions are to you and the organisation also help. One of the key phrases could be, “How do I ensure you stay for the next year too?”
The way you choose to manage those in your team can have a direct impact on their performance and overall productivity of the team. This New Year you can take up these 5 resolutions to make you a better manager and leader in your organisation.
At Yellow Spark, we help leaders become better managers by employing various techniques and skills to drive their employees. If you wish to know more, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.