Managing Forward

Management Training Motivational Speaking Leadership Development Goal Setting Performance Appraisal

Welcome to Managing Forward

Steering newborn managers away from the pitfalls of "management" to rewarding challenge of managing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Are you a fair manager?

In a recent management class the topic of fairness came up as an attribute of leaders. The debate that ensued challenged whether fairness was practical rather than appropriate. Procedural fairness i.e. decisions relating to recruitment, promotion, workplace respect and dignity are essential (see why here) and are usually formally documented in contracts, codes of conduct etc. We would all like to think that we treat people and are treated fairly in the workplace. In reality though, do we spend the same time coaching individuals in our team? Do we listen in the same way? Do we delegate and appraise fairly?
It’s hard to tell, whilst we like to think so most would agree that it’s highly unlikely that we could answer the previous questions with a firm yes.  Firstly, our team may be a cohesive, high achieving group but it is made up of individuals who differ in how they work, motivation, experience, ability, education and so on. John Beeson described a delegating manager as having to “assess each subordinate’s ability to operate independently”.  Roy Spence Jr.suggested “Purpose based leaders treat people like they want to be treated.” So now fairness becomes much more complex as we try to manage equitably and remain cognisant of individual needs.
Leaders need to be consistent in their purpose;  they need an over-arching style backed with substance. For example; if a leader  develops their people by delegating challenging projects they must follow-up with supporting guidance, recognition and appraisal. That’s how leaders are effective  How unsatisfying would it be to know that despite your extra effort and progress your manager failed to market your contribution to their colleagues and superiors?
We can aim to be perceived as fair, we’re not splitting hairs here, we want people to feel that the same considerations are evaluated rather then simply receiving the same outcomes as their colleagues, here’s how we do it;
  1. Be consistent – in how you approach your management duties be they coaching, delegating, problem-solving etc.
  2. Base you actions on your insight – if you spend a lot of time guiding and helping a member of staff it should be because you have recognised the need for it.
  3. Give your people a voice – research suggests performance appraisal is perceived as being fairer when staff can have an input, you can do the same.
It may be unrealistic to be scientifically fair to everyone but if you are consistent and assess needs fairly then a perception of fairness will grow, and research shows the perception of fairness in work positively affects performance.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Your reputation is for sale, but who's buying?

I was recently asked by a manager how to handle somebody in the workplace that constantly interrupts when being asked to do something. A great question I thought, and suggested they walk in this person's shoes for awhile and ask themselves why if they were them, would they react so negatively? We explored and agreed that although it may appear at first to be an aggressive act it may actually be born from fear and used as a defence mechanism. That maybe this worker is afraid of being exposed in relation to their knowledge, understanding or ability. In effect, this person is looking for help but their fight or flight response is camouflaging their need.

Friday, January 4, 2013

How to avoid Change leaving you in the dark

I recently went to the cinema to watch recent Danish film The Hunt, twenty minutes into the film the “projector” went awry.  A person twice came into the rear of the auditorium to inform us it would be fixed, before finally a manager informed us the “server was down” and we could get a refund at the front desk.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Know your audience

The seminar presenter held aloft a company embossed memory stick and triumphantly proclaimed  how it was pre-loaded with all the information we required thus avoiding note-taking and handouts. Whilst memory sticks are no longer the forefront of technology, I was impressed that they had gone to the trouble of pre-loading them. Unfortunately, this presenters pride dwindled away as word made its way to the front of the conference room to note that only encrypted memory sticks were permitted by this staff grouping.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Decision making decisions

In a recent discussion about decision-making, I was enthralled to hear about a scenario where a customer entered a car sales forecourt with the intention of buying a van, only to come out with a sporty hatchback! The car sales environment is one we can all relate to, think how you've entered their premises looking for practicality only to be seduced by alloy wheels, leather seats and that new car smell!!
We can try to separate how we make decisions by identifying two approaches;