Most people think that they are a good driver, whether they are or not, and the same can be said for many managers.  Too many managers think that they are good at their job and able to motivate and get the best from their staff, when the reality is often very different.

Unlike driving, where you have to take a test to demonstrate your competence before being allowed to drive, anyone can be appointed to a management position without any formal management training or development.

So what are the essentials for success?  The following is a guide to the types of skills needed to be an effective manager:

  1. Communicate where the business is going.If you want your staff to be committed to your organization, they need to know where they are going and why.  People need to understand how their work contributes to the company’s success. After all, having meaning and purpose in your work is highly motivating and rewarding.  The ability to communicate effectively is one of the essential skills that all managers need.
  2. Set clear expectations.Be clear with your staff both in terms of ‘what’ needs to be achieved and ‘how’ it should be achieved.  Setting clear goals and targets with staff can help them understand what needs to be done and keep them focused.  However, it is also important to talk to them about ‘how’ they should go about achieving their goals.  For example it is not acceptable to achieve a target at any cost.
  3. Regularly review performance Employees need regular feedback about their performance to improve their skills and grow professionally. Make sure you regularly sit down with your staff (at least 6/7 times per year), to discuss with them what they do will and identify with them what they should do differently.
  4. Deal with problems immediately.Stay in tune to your staff so you can be proactive and resolve situations before they escalate. If you notice a change in an employee’s work habits, performance or behaviour, try to get to resolve the problem before it starts affecting the rest of your team.
  5. Recognize people’s efforts. Everybody appreciates being recognized for a job well done.  Monetary rewards aren’t the only way to thank employees for a job well done. In fact the easiest way to recognize someone’s contribution is simply saying “thank you” — simple words but too often overlooked.
  6. Delegate work.Don’t over control your staff’s work.  The more you control others work it will only encourage behavior that necessitates control.  Most people want the freedom to complete a task in the way that they think is best.
  7. Be a coach and mentor. As a manager, one of the greatest things that you can give an employee is by sharing your knowledge and experience. Showing your employees firsthand how you deal a task, what works and what doesn’t is far more effective than just talking them through it.
  8. Be firm but fair. For example, family emergencies other unplanned events will always arise, and its part of a managers role to show compassion by being flexible with work hours and time off so their staff can tend to important matters. Employees always appreciate a sympathetic boss, and as long as your work and business doesn’t suffer, make every effort to accommodate workers who have special needs.

Getting the ‘basics’ or ‘essentials’ right are critical to the success of any manager, and these elements should also provide the basic framework for all management training.

At the end of the day – you have to put in time an effort to be a manager.  Too often managers forget their ‘management duties’ and concentrate on completing their own tasks.  However, employees depend on their manager’s strength, guidance and support especially during tough times and this takes time, time to listen, time to discuss and time to coach.