What Should A Failing Manager Focus Upon?
It’s not going as well as you thought it might and its becoming clear to yourself and others.
Time to put some clear actions into your routines to head off any unwanted criticism of yourself, your style and your deliverables.
If you have already been summoned for a chat with your Boss to discuss the situation, go armed with the points below and a plan to implement them!
- Set clear goals. Just keep them simple and precise so that you are not just waiting for things to happen and idling around and you are definitely NOT being pulled in different directions by a whole host of different people. What would success look like when you go for another promotion and use that to really shape what your objectives are! Are the goals that you have set actually what is needed? Review and then decide what they are, communicate them to the people concerned, stick to them and review them systematically.
- What are the distractions you need to avoid? There are lots of things that you could do in the role and with your team but what are the things to avoid, the things that are probably interesting but which are not going to be measured anywhere or anytime soon. Think of things as if you owned the organisation – what wouldn’t you tolerate from your managers in terms of outputs and decisions? Having identified the distractions, get rid of them and focus on 5 key tasks that really matter and impact in the right way.
- Set and communicate your standards. People at all levels want to know what exactly is expected of them in their roles and how they should deal with tasks and responsibilities. Failure to do so will result in lots of effort going into tasks and routines that are poor in terms of quality, timeliness and customer satisfaction, leaving staff demotivated when you have to tell them, belatedly, that the outputs were not what you wanted. Spend some time revising and refreshing the standards you need to see happening and then communicate these.
- Expect problems and seek them out – before they find you! If you are in a difficult situation it is likely that the problems you fear have already announced their presence Things rarely go smoothly, even for short periods of time, so it is far better to think ahead of the current situation and identify where problems will emerge. This may seem like a waste of time now, BUT, by thinking like that you can get ahead of issues and plan so that you limit the problems you will face in the future.
- Be a clear and effective communicator. If you know what you want to say, just (within reason!) say that. Never talk in riddles – be concise and measured in what you say and write so that it becomes obvious what you mean. We all like plain directions that we can all understand – not wishy-washy words that are hard to put into action.
- Be honest about successes and failures. There is simply no point hiding behind a failing situation – you have to recognise this for what it is! If you never sit back and really analyse what is going on then you will never see problems for what they are and you get sucked into a universe where everything is “OK”, Hardly high-performance and not likely to get you rave reviews either!
- Sort out under-performance as soon as it appears. The temptation to just let things slide because it is hard to point out weaknesses in performance is all too easy. If your car was not running smoothly would you use it to drive 1,000 miles? Unlikely! If staff are not delivering what is needed, then plan to remedy that immediately and never be tempted to let things stay as they are. Honest feedback that is balanced, fair and objective will always be welcomed by someone who probably already knows that things are not working as they should.
- Be ready to deal with the thorny issue of dismissing staff. Are there team members who have not, for probably some considerable time, not been performing? This is part of the job but it has to be done in the right way so this is a very important success factor for you, especially if you are committed to high-performance. Consistently poor performers will always drag down the performance of the team and they need to be dealt with appropriately. Evaluate your staff dispassionately and accurately.
- Have you given feedback? Always give lots of feedback. This is good if that feedback is sincere and meaningful, is well-timed and is objective. Staff will always appreciate feedback like that and as this costs you nothing, is a great way to improve morale and motivation. Conversely, a lack of feedback leads to poor, unreliable outcomes.
Nobody ever said that management was an easy job and even the most successful, high profile managers that you know will have gone through very rough waters and will have been on the receiving-end of many “Please explain” meetings and 1:1s.
Sort out your areas and come back stronger with a determination to be the very best that you can be!
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