Because people are your most important resource, you need to be mindful of how you manage them. You need to be careful about who you are going to recruit to your team, and even more careful about who you hire. Your future is almost always determined by the talent you have on your team, and how well you have prepared them for competition as you coach them.
You need to lead your people, and coach your people so that they can have a great experience at work, and learn to interact and collaborate at the highest level with the other people on the team. You have to equip everyone on your team for success in every situation, every day of their career.
If you’re not yet considering that People Management is your biggest priority, you need to embrace that concept immediately. Frankly, when you get the People Management right, and you hire the best talent, get them in the right jobs and equip them for consistent, predictable success, you can screw up almost everything else, and still find your way to the Victor’s Circle. It’s the strength of the People on your team that makes the difference. When you hire the right people and get them ready to succeed in the field of commerce, by preparing them better than anyone else, they will find a way to carry you to victory.
If you’d like to raise the level of your People Management game, read on, my friends…
Relationships Are The Key To Success
Your relationships with People are almost always the key to your success. Sales Professionals are often convinced that their ability to build the right kind of relationships is the most important skill that they possess. They’re probably right! And, Oh, by the way, it isn’t just Sales People who need to become highly skilled at building relationships with their connections, everyone else benefits from their relationships as well!
Begin to build relationships with your People and keep working at it as a high priority forever. Make your meetings count, and use frequent one-on-one conversations to discuss expectations with your People until they’re crystal clear about what success is going to look like. Talk about progress, and performance and how you can contribute to their achievements with them in those one-on-one conversations. Communicate with everyone you meet, your co-workers, your prospects, your customers, your business partners, and vendors with absolute openness and transparency.
Make it your goal to avoid surprises of any kind, unless they’re positive surprises! Make sure that your team meetings with your People are about contributing to their success, not about covering your backside and checking the box. Create value for people around you, at every turn, and keep doing it as often as possible. Give feedback early and often, and ask for feedback early and often, as well. Be the sort of person that everyone can count on, and create value for people every chance you get. If you do this, you’ll be astounded at how many valuable relationships you possess. You’ll also be astonished by the balance in your relationship capital with each of those relationships.
Get Comfortable Talking About Performance
Don’t leave performance to chance. It’s too important. Your role as a leader is to invest in your People so that when they compete in the arena, they emerge from every contest victorious. Your job is to coach, and you cannot do that effectively with practice and without teaching and yes, without some very open conversations about expectations, and results, and the reasons for any gaps between expectations and results.
Carefully discuss expectations and describe what success is going to look like, feel like, sound like, taste like, etc. Carefully document your team’s performance, by tracking leading indicators as well as lagging indicators of success. Make sure that you make employee performance reviews a high priority so that the experience is a positive and transformational one for your People. Be present and mindful about being very constructive with your People as you talk about performance in a psychologically safe space.
Give them concrete examples instead of vague or specious feedback. Get serious about making a very aggressive long-term investment in each and every one of your team members, training them, debriefing with them, encouraging them, and yes, even challenging them to aim higher from time to time. Show up for your People. Lead them to improved performance, and celebrate it with them when they achieve victory. Exhaust all avenues to improve the performance of your people every chance that you get. If someone on your team struggles, work closely with them to try to help them to find their way to performance and only use punishments or termination as a last resort after you’ve given your People the right number of chances to succeed.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
As a leader, you need to create structure and organize your people thoughtfully from the top down to allow them to avoid suffering chaos and confusion in their work. A decisive leader and manager can demonstrate strong decision-making capabilities on a consistent basis. When doing so, you ensure that everyone on your team will recognize that you leverage experience and wisdom to make great decisions that are balanced to ensure they endure.
What should be balanced in your decisions? Well, fast and slow, facts and intuition, data and feelings, and many other elements need to be balanced to ensure great decisions are made. All of your decisions need to be made from the perspective that you’re trying to do what is right for all concerned, not just doing what is best for you. When you’re 80% certain that you’re about to make the right decision, pull the trigger and make the decision, because getting from 80% to 99% certainty about your decision takes up too much energy and time to be worth it. If you get the decision wrong, you can change it in short order. Don’t let analysis paralysis set in and ruin your ability to model great decision-making behavior for the People on your team.
Let Go Of The Vine
Imagine someone who’d fallen off the edge of a cliff holding onto a vine on the side of the cliff. Perhaps there is a nice soft, sandy beach beneath you that will soften the blow of your fall. You’ll never know what your future can become until you let go of the vine. The vine is holding you in place, and often, the situation is not excellent. Remember that as a manager, you got promoted for your strong work, but now that you’re a manager, you cannot work your way to success all by yourself.
You are not getting paid to do the work by yourself now that you’re a manager. You’re getting paid to recruit, select, hire, train, and motivate a growing team of People, who will do the work successfully and efficiently, so long as you let go of the vine, and allow them to do their best work and collaborate as they do it. The truth is, that you cannot work your way to success as a leader all by your lonesome; you must now realize that your ultimate success or failure rests on your ability to inspire your team to accomplish the results that the organization expects from your People.
Let go of the vine, and release the hounds! Once you’ve given your people the chance to succeed, they will show you that they like competing and winning together, but you have to get out of their way first and trust them to find their way (with your expert guidance, of course…) to the winners’ circle.
Well, there you go. Another episode in our series is about People Management Skills. We’ll leave it there for today. This is the second in our series of blogs about the best practices of People Management. We hope you found something of value in today’s installment. Furthermore, we hope you’ll come back for the next several weeks to have another helping from our People Management hospitality.
Whatever you do, please don’t be tentative about making People Management one of your top priorities, if not your very top priority. This is one of those moments in your career, where you need to embrace change. Embrace this change with rigor, because it will make a difference in the trajectory of your leadership career, and better yet, it will make a huge difference in the trajectory of the careers of all of the People you’re managing today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your career. Let that sink in a bit. Yes, this is a very good thing to become very confident with, and skilled in.
Michael is a Master Coach who has been developing Executives and Emerging Leaders for many years. Michael’s Coaching and Consulting firm have five coaches who work with clients all over the world, assisting them in developing their leadership acumen and their Executive Presence. Michael’s team of coaches is located in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota, and the firm works with Business Founders, C-Suite Executives, and Emerging Leaders. Michael and his coaches work with fast-growth companies, often in the technology industry, and his team helps them to narrow the gap between their current state, and where they would love to be in a tremendous future state.
If you’d like more information about Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting visit the website at www.michaelbeachcoach.com, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael hosts a podcast about Leadership and how to develop Emerging Leaders, called “What Are YOU Doing?” and you can find it wherever you listen to podcasts or on Michael’s website.