4 Fundamentals of Management
Managers have the most impact on an associate’s day-to-day experience, and the most influence on whether an organization retains or loses their top talent. Think about your current work situation. What three words would you use to describe your manager? Those words have a significant impact on how you view the company and why every organization should care about developing their management teams.
This is why organizations thrive or die based on their mid-level management.
It is imperative that leadership development programs are intentionally developing the competencies managers need to create a culture of trust and accountability. When that happens, managers show up with authentic confidence, team members are more engaged, and customers always receive a better experience.
Below are four fundamentals every great manager must demonstrate consistently if he/she wants to earn the right to lead someone and also earn the right to let someone go.
STEP 1 – BUILD AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Great managers understand they have to earn the right to lead people regardless of their title and position. Their primary focus is on building meaningful relationships rooted in trust. To do this, they let people into their world, spend time learning about others, make themselves visible, and they invest in relationships over the long-term.
STEP 2 – SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
Great managers are transparent with their expectations. Their expectations are clear the first time so they minimize (as much as possible) rework and frustration. These managers clearly state WHAT they want done. They focus on the end result, not HOW the end result gets done (unless there is a specific process that must be followed). They are transparent on why they are asking, encourage others to ask questions, ensure individuals have the tools, resources, and knowledge to meet their expectations, and occasionally check-in to see where they are and what support is needed.
STEP 3 – COACH FOR PERFORMANCE
Great managers are great coaches. Coaching is about moving people forward so they can perform better. It is not about giving people the answers. You will know someone needs coaching when you can identify the gap between where the individual is today and where they want to be in the future. Coaching for performance requires you to create a safe space for others to be vulnerable, ask empowering questions that challenges the individual to look at themselves or the situation in a different way, acknowledge their feelings and perspective, get them to commit to action, and hold them accountable.
STEP 4 – RECOGNIZE WHAT IS RIGHT
Great managers find meaningful moments every day to recognize and highlight individuals who are living the culture, adding value to the organization, and creating a better experience for the people they serve. You can recognize others through a verbal thank you, recognition cards, an email to someone higher up in the company, social media spotlight, or a personalized gift.
These four fundamentals highlight that great managers lead with both their head and heart. Great management is not an inherent trait. It is learned through experience and intentional development, and it is reinforced through accountability and genuine recognition.