The ethos behind the development of PARiM is to help managers free up time from the repetitive, boring or mundane aspects of their work such as:-
- emailing work schedules,
- scheduling itself,
- timesheet collating,
- tracking and monitoring absences or holidays,
- working out what’s happened to employee held company assets.
We joke that PARiM “minimises the mundane” or removes the “white noise of business” but it should do. It should make your business more efficient, remove repetitive boring tasks from personal face to face communication meaning:-
- You have is more face to face time with staff and clients and
- What you talk about is more important or key to the business
Whilst I sat here writing this blog I spent a considerable time mulling over the points below trying to decide how to prioritise them and what order they should go in. I believe they can be placed into two broad categories; Learned Skills and Standards & Expectations
Flexibility & Consistency
Train yourself to have a flexible mind and a flexible approach. It is always better to be able to adapt your approach to a situation or problem. Recognizing that your approach might not always be the best approach, is also a good thing. After all, one of the standard management mantras is to always try and hire your own successor. If you have followed this then you must accept that they are, can or will be capable of being as good as you, coming up with as good ideas or solutions as you. So why wouldn't you listen to them.
Be consistent in the way you deal with your team and your peers. If you are, then they get to know what to expect from you and you're being consistent engenders a confidence in your abilities.
Communication & Feedback
One of the key communicating skills isn't talking, its listening – so become a good listener. Your staff, who are actually doing the work, are more likely to come up with good ideas how to do things better or more efficiently. You won’t hear the good ideas if you aren't listening. Once your employees recognise that you do listen, their respect for you will increase and their listening skills will also improve.
Become really good at giving and receiving feedback in a positive and constructive manner. As with many of these skills the more frequently you give feedback the easier it becomes and the better you get at it!
Whatever industry you are in, when you are a manager, you have to learn to rely on other people, your staff, to get the job done. You have to be accomplished at delegation. This should be easy if you have hired “successors” to form your team.
Possibly harder if you have inherited a team, but it is something you need to master otherwise you will disappear up the rabbit hole! Remember it is your responsibility to ensure whether through hiring or moulding that you ensure you have capable employees within your team.
Learn about negotiation and the negotiation framework. Practice negotiation and become good at it. So good, that in meetings with customers or staff, you know what their wish, want & walk positions are likely to be, how far you can push them, where you are on the negotiation framework during the meeting so that you can successfully conclude it and everyone feels they have benefited.
The better you become at negotiation and communication the fewer conflict situations you should encounter because you will have already made everyone clear about their objectives, what is expected of them, their performance and you will all be “be on the same page”.
As with all aspects of life these days, time and time management is critical. Time is becoming an even more precious and valued resource because life is busier. With the advent of the internet, the speed and ease of connectivity and the drastic shortening of expected response times, the demands on the modern manager’s time has dramatically increased. You need to manage your time and protect it. When a new task comes in, you need to be able to immediately ascribe it a priority value so that you can schedule it within your ever lengthening list of tasks. Don’t stick everything to the bottom of the list. One of the most frustrating people I ever managed didn’t assess each task as it came in, he just stuck it at the bottom of a long list, to be done when he got to it. Quite a few of these tasks were for clients and would only take a few minutes but ended up waiting over a week to get done!
There are many tech tools to help you save time managing your tasks as a manager and managing your staff or workforce.
- ToDoist – Lists of tasks with deadlines
- Trello – To do boards
- PARiM – managing staff and their data, tracks schedules, shifts, timesheets, assets, absences & holidays
Standards & Expectations
Set yourself standards for the work that you do and expect the same for your staff. Communicate and be clear with them what you expect. Set clear reasonable objectives. Involve the relevant staff member in the setting of objectives as these are then more effective. Employees are much more likely to strive, or go that “extra mile” to achieve a goal, that they feel responsibility for setting. Put these objectives in writing and discuss them frequently. That way, if they aren't met, the consequences won't come as a rude awakening or surprise. As a note of caution, it’s unreasonable to expect all of your staff to be as motivated or as intelligent as you. However, it is fair to expect them to maintain standards of work. Make sure that your employees are also aware of the standards you set yourself. Better managers are not normally your best friends nor are they your mortal enemy but they are able to get the best out of their team on a consistent basis.
It is often said that to be a better manager you need to be part psychologist, part diplomat, part policeman and part accountant because at some stage you will need all of these skills!
You can become a very good manager and be very good at the skills above but when you have remote staff across multiple sites the challenge becomes greater and requires more work to master. Use technology to overcome this “extra challenge”. At PARiM we use Skype, GoToMeeting, Parim, Trello to help us.
Becoming a better manager should not only lead to career advancement but an easier life and a better work life balance with less stress. (if you want to dig even deeper into how to become a better manager then we came across another great article that lists another 55 ways as well! )