“The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.” -Agha Hasan Abedi
What one learns in school pales by comparison to real life people management. I have often said that people are the heart and soul of any organization. Your staff, colleagues, your people set you apart from the competition. Even management experts fail more than a few times before getting it right when it comes to motivating people and managing talents.
I have held senior leadership positions in education, health care and business.
I have advised, mediated and negotiated for organizations large and small internationally.
I now run my own business.
I don`t know everything, but I have made and seen plenty of mistakes. Here are some thoughts on the subject of people management for you to consider that will, hopefully, help you avoid costly people problems.
#1. Do your homework
This is really important. When hiring a new person, be clear regarding the job description and expectations. Define the formula for the employee’s success. Use the internet. Download some of the 100`s of examples. Cut, paste or craft one of your own.
I believe failing to do this homework is Number 1 in the Top 10 mistakes managers make.
#2. Hire for attitude, train for skills
If you can train someone to do the job in 2-3 days, then hire the person with the best attitude and train him/her! It is tough to un-train a skill/habit/behavior, especially when dealing with someone who already `knows’ how to do a job differently. So unless you are convinced their experience would benefit everyone, K.I.S.S. – use your established systems.
#3. The Gut’s got it – Go with your gut
You see a great resume, experience a great interview or hear and read some great references, but still as my granny used say, “have a bad taste in your mouth” or just “a funny feeling” about the candidate. What do you do? Reconsider the applicant, and unless there are some other mitigating factors, move on to the next candidate. Go with your gut.
If you‘re still not sure, interview them again; but as my old man used to say, “If it don’t feel right, it won’t fit. Don’t do it.”
#4. Personal and Organizational Systems should complement one another
Personal and organizational systems are essential foundation blocks for building success. It is the manager’s responsibility to align business goals and individual’s goals with the vision, mission and core values of the organization. This alignment can only be accomplished if the leadership of the organization makes certain that the operations and systems are also in alignment and that they support the achievement of the goals and the vision, mission and core values. If this alignment is not followed, individuals often tend to find a way to make a system work for their benefit not the company’s. If this happens, the manager is culpable, not the employee.
#5. If it is important, write it down
You might think, duh!, this is obvious; but I learned long ago that, too often, basic rules and plans are only verbalized. When you put something in writing it is incumbent to communicate clearly and succinctly. Remember, just because it is clear in your head, doesn`t mean the other person gets it. This is particularly important when you are not there to walk them through each step and provide guidance or interpretation in the training process. Think about it, there is no way a manager can always be available to guide and talk staff through all the steps of a process, procedure or policy.
#6. When in doubt, over communicate
If I had a nickel for every time I found communication at the heart of people problems, I would be a wealthy man. Wealthy enough I assure you, that I wouldn’t have to work.
There you have it. Six ideas to help you better manage your organization’s most valuable asset and investment – your people. Don’t sell yourself or your employees short.