Written by Karen Gately
Great results are achieved when talented people invest energy and behave in ways that enable success. Your ability to develop the capabilities of your team and influence successful behaviours drives the level of performance ultimately achieved. Successful people managers not only inspire people to follow; they effectively leverage the tools available to them to build the human capabilities and strength of spirit needed to drive results.
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Included in a people manager’s toolkit are the systems, processes, policies, programs and approaches that underpin an effective approach to human resource management. Ultimately however these tools are valuable only to the extent they are effectively applied. While there is no magic wand to make easy work of managing, a focused, courageous, ethical and compassionate approach will go a long way to creating success. Ten essential ingredients of a successful approach to people management include:
1. Hire well
Look for people who are excited by the opportunity your role and organisation offer. Hire those looking for more than a job but a career and organisation they can feel a part of. Make sure every person you bring into your team shares your corporate values and is likely to behave in ways that enable both their own success and that of the people around them.
2. Set clear expectations
Clarity is an essential starting point to influencing performance. Your team needs to understand what is expected and accepted, important and a priority. Explain what you need members of your team to achieve as well as how you expect them to go about it. Make sure everyone knows what success looks like and how he or she will be measured. We live in a world that’s constantly changing – make sure you keep people in the loop when things shift.
3. Be observant
Contemplate how often you stop and reflect on the depth of talent you have on your team or in your business? To what extent do you pay attention to the way people behave and the impact they have on one another. Take the time to observe your team in action and form opinions about the success of each person’s approach. Notice what people do well and ways in which they need to improve.
4. Coach and support
Effective performance management requires that you provide feedback, advice and guidance to enable results and the ongoing development of your team. It is every people manager’s job to proactively guide people on their team to grow and succeed. When you aren’t the right person to help, point your staff in the direction of where they can find the support they need.
5. Hold people accountable
Delegating responsibilities, appraising contributions and applying consequences are vital elements of holding someone accountable. To hold someone to account at the end of the day it’s essential you make your expectations clear up front. Align the rewards people receive with the contributions they make by fairly appraising their performance against agreed objectives and standards.
6. Grow your team
Deliberately grow the capabilities needed to achieve your strategic objectives both now and into the future. Place priority on business needs as well as each individual’s career aspirations. Know what specific areas of knowledge, skills or experience you need on your team and set about developing them. Provide honest and constructive feedback with respect and sensitivity.
7. Create a healthy workplace culture
Building a cultural environment that inspires engagement and enables success is only possible when the people in charge choose to really make it matter. There is no point espousing values you don’t apply and setting behavioral expectation you don’t enforce. The ways in which every member of your team behaves create the culture in your business so choose carefully what to accept and encourage. Reward and recognise behaviours that enable team success and address conduct that is not aligned with your business values.
8. Encourage strong relationships
Appreciate the impact relationships have on the happiness and success of people at work. Observe the strength of your own relationships as well as those of your staff. Take steps to influence strong relationships people have with you, their colleagues, customers and anyone else they regularly interact with through their work.
9. Inspire performance
Give people reason to sign up for the mission to influence the decisions they make about the depth of energy they invest to achieve an objective. Creating a compelling vision for the future, one people want to be a part of, will go a long way to winning their buy-in and long term engagement.
Provide your team with regular and up-to-date information about important objectives, strategies, priorities and progress. Make sure you communicate the potential and actual consequences of decisions reached and proactively influence their awareness and understanding. Leverage the full potential of your team by not only listening to their ideas but also acting on them.
About the author
Karen Gately is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people. A highly regarded leadership and people-management specialist, Karen is the founder of Ryan Gately, an HR consulting and Leadership development practice. For more information visit www.karengately.com.au or contact [email protected]