7 Vital Functions for Managers
The following list of† functions is vital information for managers who want to assert themselves as a strong leader and valuable asset for a company or business. These 7 vital functions focus on proactively seeking opportunities to lead your employees and set them up for success.
Itís true that the best managers are proactive about everything:† pursuing their own learning; creating their professional image; making decisions; inspiring employees, managing †time, planning projects; foreseeing problems; dealing with loss; and anticipating change.† Proactivity is essential if you want to succeed and you want to last.† Passivity isnít going to serve you.
That said, you have to embrace the following seven functions if you are a manager.† You canít step around them, jump over them, or simply ignore them. †They are as vital to you as your arms, hands, legs and feet.
†1.Set clear expectations.
Communicate what you need and want as clearly and specifically as possible.† In some cases it may be best to put this in writingójust for the record.† Consider more than the end results.† Discuss priorities, processes and procedures, particular approach, voice tone, and time frames.† The point is that you can avoid misunderstandings and bad outcomes.† Make sure other people grasp your instructions, guidance, and expectations.† Ask them to tell you what they think they heard, especially with issues that are critically important.
†2.Model the behavior you want to see.
Remember that people are watching you even when you think they arenít.† Because this is true, you need to be conscious of what folks are observing.† Employees notice your body language, listen to your voice tone, and inspect your appearance.† Most of this occurs silently without you knowing it.† They see how you deal with conflict, how you handle stress, how you facilitate meetings, how you integrate change, how you give feedback, and how you probe to gain more information about a topic or situation.† Not only do they see it, but they imitate it.† Periodically ask yourself if youíd be proud to have staff copy most of your behavior.
†3.Serve as a resource.
While you donít need to have all the answers to every problem, you do need to know where to go to find them.† You also need to know how you think and feel about various types of circumstances, possibilities, and challenges.† Be available to provide input to employeesí questions.† Be ready to show them how to move forward with a project when theyíre stuck.† Be willing to expand their view about something.† Be able to help them transfer certain skills from one situation to another.† In short, support your staff in ways that have meaning to them.
†4.Solve problems as they arise.
Problems donít automatically dissolve.† You must address them.† And you have to address them sooner rather than later to prevent them from growing.† Sweeping problems under the rug simply doesnít work.† If an employee hasnít delivered projects on time for three weeks in a row, you have a problem to confront.† Schedule a private meeting with the person, share the facts, discuss the impact, and partner with her to create a viable solution.† If you choose to ignore it, you only end up getting more of the same poor performance.† Donít let that happen.
Truth can be difficult.† Life is easier if you look the other way, isnít it?† But as a manager you canít afford to do that.† You need to stare at everything straight in the eye.† Itís the best way to be effective.† For example, if sales are down 25% during the last quarter, you need to face this and then find out why.† Pretending the drop in sales didnít occur is irresponsible, and the game of pretend isnít in your job description.† Examine the truth about each situation, each employee, each issue.† Take action accordingly.
†6.Develop your staff.
Your employees really are your most valuable asset.† Treat them as if you believe that with your whole heart.† Employee development may include sending them off to conferences across the country, but it includes a great deal more.† It involves an investment from YOU.† This investment takes the form of training, instructing, guiding, coaching, mentoring, empathizing, correcting, stretching, assessing, evaluating, praising, and rewarding.† You reap what you sow.† Nothing inÖnothing back.† Unquestionably, investing in your staff is THE BEST use of your time and energy.
†7.Establish appropriate boundaries.
As a busy manager, you need to set boundaries around your emotions, your time, your relationships, and your work.† Boundaries keep you healthy.† Boundaries send certain messages.† Boundaries allow people to feel secure.† Here are examples of some reasonable boundaries:† You control your anger; you end the day at 6:00 PM instead of 8:00; you close your office door for an hour each afternoon; you donít socialize with direct reports; you let people know they canít interrupt you for the next thirty minutes; you† donít tolerate a stafferís degrading remarks.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sylvia Hepler, Owner and President of Launching Lives, LLC, is an executive coach based in South Central PA.† Her ideal clients are persons in management positions:† corporate, nonprofit, and business owners.† Her company mission is to support executives as they solve problems, develop leadership skills, and increase balance in their lives.† Sylvia offers three programs, any of which may overlap depending on client need:† First Class Management Program; Change, Loss, and Grief Program; and Career Development Program.† Her professional background includes:† extensive nonprofit management/leadership, public speaking, business writing, retail sales, and teaching.