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Posts Tagged ‘being a good manager’

Effective Management Requires Asking Questions

If an employee quits and the manager is surprised, shame on the manager. Employee turnover – literal turnover (he quits and leaves the building) or figurative turnover (he quits but continues to come in everyday and do his minimal best) – are extremely predictable.Effective Management

Most employees need only a handful of things to be satisfied and productive at work. The key is getting employees to tell you what those things are. And they might just tell you, if you ask.

An employee’s first few weeks at a new job often involve a lot of training. Managers tell employees what they need to do and hopefully why they need to do those things. I recommend balancing telling with asking.

Effective management involves asking the seven questions below during the interview process, after an employee starts, and again 90-days to six months into the job.

Effective management question number one: “What brought you to this company? Why did you accept this job? What are you hoping the job will provide?” Ask one of these three questions. Pick the one you like best.

Effective management question number two: “What would make you leave this job? What are your career deal breakers, things you just can’t tolerate at work?” Ask either of these questions.

Effective management question number three: “What type of work, skills, and/or areas of our business do you want to learn more about?”

Effective management question number four: “Tell me about the best manager you ever had. What made him/her the best manager?” This will tell you what the employee needs from you as a manager and is a much better question than, “What do you need from me as your manager?” That is a hard question to answer. Telling you the best manager s/he ever had is easy.

Effective management question number five: “Tell me about the worst manager you ever had? What made him/her the worst manager?”

Effective management question number six: “What are your pet peeves at work? What will frustrate you?” Why find out the hard way what frustrates employees when it’s so easy to ask. This question demonstrates that you want your employees to be happy and that you will flex your own preferences, when possible, to meet employees’ needs.

Effective management question number seven: “How do you feel about being contacted via cell phone or text outside of business hours? How do you feel about receiving emails during the evenings and weekends?”

If you’ve participated in one of our effective management trainings and received a box of Candor Questions for Managers, you know I could go on. But these seven questions are a good start.

Regardless of age, gender, or work and educational background, all employees have a few things in common. Employees want to:

• Work for someone who takes an interest in and knows them
• Feel valued and appreciated for their contributions
• Be part of and contribute to something greater than themselves
• Feel respected as a person. Managers respect their time, expertise, and needs

Taking the time to get to know employees throughout your working relationship accomplishes many employee needs.

If you have long time employees, it’s never too late to ask these questions. Regardless of for how long employees have worked for you, they’ll appreciate you asking. There is no need to feel that employees will raise an eyebrow and wonder why you’re asking now. They’ll just be happy you’re asking. You can simply say, “I realized that I’ve never overtly asked these questions. I just assume I know. But I don’t want to do that. You’re too valuable to me and to the organization. During our next one-on-one meeting I’d like to ask you these questions and you can ask me anything you’d like.”

If you have a manager who will never ask you these questions, provide him/her the information. Don’t wait to be asked. You’re 100% accountable for your career. Tell your manager, “There are a few things about myself I want to share with you. I think this information will make me easier to manage and will help ensure I do great work for the organization for a long time.”

Managers, the better your relationship with your employees and the more you know about what your employees need from you, the organization, and the job, the easier employees are to engage, retain, and manage. Stop guessing and start asking.

Effective Management


Hug Your Boss Day – 6 Ways to Thank A Good Boss

Having a good manager is key to a happy life. A good manager can make your job (and life) a happy experience. A bad manager can make your job (and life) hell. If you’ve worked long enough to have both good and bad boss’s, you already know this. Having a good manager is worth a lot.

If you’re lucky enough to have a good manager, say “thank you” on National Hug Your Boss Day, this Friday. Don’t physically hug her, of course. She isn’t likely to appreciate that. But there are lots of other ways to say “thank you.”

I don’t think it’s appropriate for employees to buy managers gifts. But there are lots of ways to show appreciation without spending money. Think about what’s meaningful to you. I’m sure an email containing positive feedback, a handwritten note, or a positive verbal comment all feel good to you, and they’ll feel good to your boss as well.

hug your boss day

Here are six ways to show your boss you appreciate her on hug your boss day:

Hug your boss day idea #1: Send your boss an email, telling her some of the things she does that make you feel valued and that make your organization a good place to work. Be as specific as you can. Specific feedback is more meaningful, authentic, and helpful than vague generalities. For example, rather than saying, “You’re such a great boss! I really appreciate you,” considering saying something like, “I really appreciate the time you take teaching me about our business. I’ve learned a lotl in the past six months.” When you give specific feedback your boss will know what she does that’s meaningful to you, making it more likely that she’ll replicate that behavior in the future. If you provide specific feedback, you’ll both get something out of the recognition you provide.

Hug your boss day idea #2: Write her a handwritten note. A handwritten note is more impactful than an email. It’s so rare for anyone to get a handwritten note, let alone from a direct report, it’s something your boss will appreciate and keep for a long time. Like the suggestion above, be sure to provide specific feedback about what your boss does that you appreciate.

Hug your boss day idea #3: Equally impactful to a handwritten note is to talk to your boss in person. Giving verbal feedback may feel a little weird if it’s not something you do often, but she’ll appreciate the risk you took in being honest and vulnerable to make her feel appreciated.

Hug your boss day idea #4: Have your team write and act out a skit for your manager. This may sound corny, but skits are a fun and unique way to thank your boss, and something she likely hasn’t experienced before. During the skit, demonstrate some of the things your boss does that team members appreciate. Ham it up. It’ll be fun and she’ll learn a lot about what’s important to the team.

Hug your boss day idea #5: Write a song that tells your boss what you appreciate about her and have your team perform it. Like skits, this is a fun team activity that will be memorable for everyone. Have whomever on your team  loves stuff like this spearhead the effort versus the person who is tortured by it.

I realize that skits and songs may not sound fun. In fact, some of you might now feel physically ill. In my experience, people typically roll their eyes at first and then end up having a great time. Try it! Teams that post a picture of themselves performing a skit or a song for their boss on our Facebook page will be entered in a contest to receive free Candor Bars (very delicious chocolate bars) How’s that for an incentive?!

Hug your boss day idea #6: Have a pot luck lunch. This is a good opportunity for the team to spend time together. Just make sure you pick food she likes. If my team brought in Mexican food (I’m not a fan. I know I’m weird), I’d know that they really didn’t like me. Are you guys reading this???

Don’t take a good boss for granted. Find a way to say “thank you” this Friday that will be meaningful to her.


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