Where to find time to be a good people manager?

There are numerous research studies that demonstrate that good people most often leave good jobs because of bad managers. I am not telling you anything new. But more important, you don’t want to be that manager, do you?

So in your – probably - busy workplace, with 200 emails to answer, deadlines to hit, clients to contact, what activities to choose to be a good manager? There are three things you best spend your time on to do it right: hire the right people, define a sharp vision and communicate.

Finding time for constructive communication is one of the most important factors for being a good manager. According to a survey by Robert Half Management Resources (2017), communication and diplomacy are the skills employees say their manager needs to improve most. And still, we don’t always take that time.

Maybe you are a people manager and you believe you’re good at it. But do you really know what your employees think? In your conversations with them, do you ask them the right questions? Before assuming, do you really explore their ideas?

No need to do soul-searching through profound coaching, if you are not sure about your answers, start establishing structured ways to communicate with your people throughout the week. Not to evaluate them. Just to talk about work, listen some problems, things that go right, know their suggestions, advice, worries and make them grow.

In the dialog, you will know their questions and you will have (or look together for) the answers to support them in their performance.

My experience as an executive coach has taught me that once a manager starts communicating with his/her team in a planned and structured way, performance changes for the better very rapidly. It is often surprisingly easy to improve motivation and performance through better communication.

The best leadership that makes people grow is listening to their ideas (not always concerns!), take them seriously, talk consequences, promote initiative, give them more self esteem.

People feel acknowledged, are well informed, are more aligned with the team objectives, can communicate their ideas in an early stage, share doubts. They become more independent, commit less mistakes, gain self-confidence and creativity.

‍Where to find time to be a good people manager?

It is really amazing how quickly structured communication pays back in an improved work environment and performance. Don’t we all want people to listen to us? My experience is backed by research. According to Dr. Bob Nelson, considered one of the world's leading experts on employee motivation, engagement and performance, the level of motivation of an employee has a direct relationship with the number of interactions with his or her manager.

Most people want consistency, a chance to be heard, clear direction and adequate support. They need their managers to be realistic about what’s going on in the organization and outside of it, and to communicate that information.

My advice is that, in case of lack of time, start organizing your communication channels with your team members! Structure your listening and support. Probably you will learn a lot and grow as a manager. Within 2-3 months you will have a highly motivated team, have earned a lot of respect and will be connected with your people on a superior level. The key factors for more independent and high performing teams.

And most of all, they probably won’t leave you!

Carlos Santín

Carlos is an Electrical Engineer with 20 yr. of experience in Software Development. He holds a Master in Mobile Communications and since several years he is a certified Project Management Professional and Scrum Product Owner. He has held several management positions in tech companies.

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