Posts Tagged ‘management development’

Are You a Micromanager or Macromanager?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Are you a Micromanager?  Do others consider you to be?  Hopefully, the answer to both of these questions is “No.”  The term Micromanager is widely thought to be one of the most unflattering labels you can have if you manage people.  Micromanagers typically involve themselves so deeply into the smallest details of every project they manage it actually inhibits productivity and creates a very unpleasant workplace for the team as a whole.

Granted, not being a Micromanager is better than being a Micromanager. But is there something even better? Yes! A Macromanager.

Macromanagers deal with employees more efficiently, taking advantage of their individuality and contributing strengths to the overall team.  Macromanagers provide a work environment which allows a team to work together and empowers them to not only make decisions, but to also make mistakes and to learn from both.  This creates a bi-directional feeling of trust, while maintaining a sense of employee engagement and generating results.

Julie Giulioni, author of “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want”, explains some of the differences between Micromanagers and Macromanagers:

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How can you become a Macromanager?  How can you make the transition all the way from Micromanager to Macromanager?  Try implementing these four traits of a Macromanager:

Focus on The Big Picture – Micromanagers get too deep in the weeds of a project rather than looking at things from a 10,000-foot viewpoint.  To be a good Macromanager, focus more of your energy and attention on the organization’s direction and strategy for the future.  In doing so, you can develop creative ideas on how to get there and trust your team to use their collective strengths to work out the details for success.

Understand Your Audience – Micromanagers tend to micromanage everyone, even those who do not need it. Macromanagers may occasionally need to provide more detailed guidance to a team member who is less experienced. When you see that team member begin to “get it,” step back before entering “Micromanager Mode.”  Have a stronger member of your team work with and mentor the less experienced employees.

Observe – Watch the progress of your team, keeping your distance.  As an experienced manager, you will recognize the cues that tell you when to engage and when to hold back.  Your responsibility is the successful completion of the project overall, so you should always be involved as a manager, mentor, advisor and member of the team.  Successful people surround themselves with successful people.  Give your team room to succeed and let them know you are there if they need you.

Welcome Feedback – Find a way to ask questions regarding progress without coming across as “interfering.”  As the manager responsible for overall success, you have the right and the responsibility to know what is going on.  Make sure your team understands you are not there to judge or to criticize, but to offer help and observations if and when needed. Open communication should be encouraged.

As a manager, you have larger responsibilities to the organization.  If you ever find yourself getting too deep into the weeds of any one project, you should ask yourself, “What should I be doing in my job that I am not doing?”  Chances are there is something else you should be focusing more time on. Your employees will thrive and progress more quickly with your guidance rather than your direct involvement.

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CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

Managers…Don’t Avoid Conflict

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Of all the skills required to be a successful manager, the art of embracing, sometimes encouraging and then managing conflict is up near the top.  As a manager a good part of your job involves getting people to do things they may not want to do, or work with people they don’t agree with or even like, or discuss ideas that make them mad or go against their beliefs, and on and on. Conflict!  The ability to recognize conflict, understand what’s causing it, and then work through it swiftly will serve you well as a manager. Not dealing with conflict will bring you misery and health problems, and may ultimately lead to your demise.busbox

Conflict is a natural disagreement resulting from individuals or groups that differ in attitudes, beliefs, values or needs.  Some of the main causes include poor communication, differing values, differing interests, scarce resources, personality clashes, poor processes, or poor performance.  While we tend to think of conflict as a negative thing, it can be healthy when managed and can lead to growth, innovation, and new ways of thinking.

Determine Root Cause. Step one in managing conflict is to determine its main cause.  You cannot effectively deal with conflict until you know why it’s occurring.  I realize that statement sounds obvious, who wouldn’t know that right?  Well, as humans we are fast to blame the people involved for the conflict, when many times the situation we’ve placed them in would cause conflict for any two people.  If the situation is at fault, enlist the two people to help redefine the process, or adjust roles, or reallocate resources, or improve the technology, or whatever steps are necessary to move us forward.  Conflict caused by situations can be easier to fix, however you need to fix it.  Ignoring conflict caused by the circumstances of work can grow to a real conflict between people that can be very destructive.

Opposites attract, then attack. For any manager, one of the most difficult situations to deal with is when two very skilled employees just don’t mesh.  They are constantly at each other throats, or perhaps even worse they engage in passive aggressive behavior.  They are constantly talking to other staff members about the other person.  Before you know the entire office is embroiled in this clash, people are taking sides, other arguments start…work productivity suffers.  I’ve seen these situations get so bad that some employees leave because the workplace has become so toxic.  If you don’t think you have any personality conflicts on your team then you are simply not paying attention.  It’s inevitable when you combine so many different people together that you will have conflicts.  Here are some ideas to help you resolve the out-of-control conflict like I described above.

Recognize the conflict. Don’t ignore it and hope it will go away.  First, talk to both employees individually.  There are two sides to every story so get to understand both viewpoints.  Your job is to just ask questions and listen.  Don’t judge or argue.  You may get lucky and find that a misunderstanding is causing the conflict.  Or you may find that in fact one of the individuals is just plain wrong and if so you can address that situation.  More than likely, however, they are both right and both wrong and resolving this conflict will require give and take from both of them.

Set Expectations. Make it clear to both individuals that the conflict and resulting behaviors must stop immediately.  Ask for each person’s agreement to work to resolve the conflict. But one if one of them thinks they are so “right” they refuse to change?  In that case, you’ll need to face the reality that they may just need to go work somewhere else.  You can’t progress through the conflict if both individuals aren’t committed to resolving it.

Meeting of the minds. After talking to both employees individually and getting their agreement to resolve the conflict, it’s time to get them together with you as the facilitator.  Ultimately, you can’t force two people to get along, it’s up to them to either choose to work together or not.  Share your observations.  Tell them clearly what is expected of them in terms of how they need to behave towards one another.  If you have a conduct policy, remind them of that.  You have to be crystal clear on the behavior(s) you will not tolerate going forward, how they are affecting their own performance and that of the team.   You always want to avoid attacking personalities.  Focus on the behaviors.  Sometimes the realization that their livelihood is at stake will shock people back to reality.  Most importantly, make the two employees accountable for sorting out their differences. Get their suggestions on what they can do to resolve the conflict and improve working relationships.   Help them uncover ways to work together differently. Help them see unproductive and unhealthy behaviors.  If this meeting is going nowhere, you may want to enlists the help of another party like your Human Resources Professional or perhaps even an EAP if you have either.  Or you may be able to transfer one of the employees to another department if you’re larger, though that tactic is usually only a short term fix.  Ultimately, if the conflict can’t be resolved you may end up losing both employees, and you know that’s OK.  If they can’t resolve, the emotional toll this conflict is having on them, their families, and the rest of your team isn’t worth it.  Everyone will thank you for it.

One last word. Many times conflict in your workplace is caused by you not doing your job.  Avoiding problems, tolerating poor performers, not providing enough tools and resources for your people, creating confusing processes, not communicating and the like all lead to negative outcomes.  The best single thing you can do to have a healthy environment with lower amounts of negative conflict is to talk to your employees on a regular basis. Get to know them.  Show them you care.  Believe me it will make your life and theirs’ a lot better, and when problems do come up, they can be resolved faster and more effectively since you’ve already opened up the communication channels.  Don’t be one of those managers that’s too busy to manage.  Think about it!

If you need help working through a conflict, call our Advice & Resolution team.  They can facilitate a solution to your conflict issue.  Also, sometimes an outside perspective can help break a log jam.

doug

Doug Blizzard brings a wealth of knowledge to CAI, serving as Vice President of Membership. During his first 15 years at CAI he led the firm’s consulting and training divisions and counseled hundreds of clients on HR and Employee Relations issues. If he isn’t speaking at North Carolina conferences, teaching classes on Human Resources or consulting clients on EEO and Affirmative Action, Doug is leading the company’s membership services.

Ongoing Training Helps Managers Reach Success

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO, discusses the importance of managerial training in his most recent edition of his News and Observer column, “The View from HR.” In his column, Bruce informs his readers that less than half of the companies he surveyed had no budget for managerial training. Bruce argues that without training, managers are unable to improve their soft skills, which are necessary to lead an organization. Communicating effectively, working well in teams, empathizing with colleagues and keeping calm in stressful situations are examples of soft skills that lead businesses to success.

Making sure your managers are adequately trained to handle their projects and supervise people is important no matter if your budget is large or extremely limited. Considering multiple budgets, here are a few ways to train your managers:

Training Classes

  • Employers’ associations and similar organizations offer companies several training options for their managers. While training programs range in price and length, they offer participants valuable information and leadership practices to take away and use for supervising their staff members.

Webinars

  • In addition to training classes, managers can learn key concepts from webinars. Many times managers want to attend training classes, but their demanding schedules make leaving the office hard. Webinars allow managers to sharpen their skills and improve their leadership without leaving their desks.

Reading

  • An inexpensive way for managers to advance their skills is to invest in managerial literature. Many non-fiction books offer managers solutions for solving people management issues or ensuring the success of a project. These books are often available at public libraries.  In addition, reading blogs like this one that share tips on increasing retention and company morale is an effective way for managers to strengthen their leadership qualities.

Mentors

  • A meticulously organized company mentor plan is another budget-friendly method to train your managers. To make this program successful, match new managers with experienced and high-performing managers. The seasoned managers will have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to help their newer colleagues tackle and conquer tough workplace issues. These employee pairs should meet regularly for an extended period of time to be effective.

Managers juggle many tasks and are responsible for multiple people. For these reasons, it’s important to ensure that they receive proper training. Giving them several opportunities to improve their soft skills will help your company see more success. If you’re interested in CAI’s training courses, please contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Ryan Holst

Do Your Managers and Supervisors Have the Skills They Need to Succeed?

Friday, June 18th, 2010

The skills that make an employee an excellent individual contributor or practitioner do not often translate to success as a supervisor or manager.  Being responsible for the motivation and performance of a person or team requires a whole new skill set.

The resulting skill gap is highlighted in a survey conducted by the Tracom Group in 2007.  That survey of 166 executives, 337 managers and 377 staff focused on how managerial responsibilities, specifically communication and conflict management, affect company performance.  In the study, 84.8 percent of executives said communication skills were deficient among first-level managers, while 81.9 percent of managers and 85 percent of staff pegged poor communication as a cause of poor productivity in the workplace.  In addition, 69.4 percent of the managers surveyed said their ability to better handle conflict would improve their team’s performance.

Of course, management development training is one of the most effective ways to enhance the communication and conflict resolution skills of managers.  Unfortunately, one of the areas companies cut to minimize expenses during the recent recession was employee training.  As a result, many supervisors and managers do not have the skills necessary to properly drive business performance and lead their teams to success.  In a late 2009 survey conducted by the American Society for Training & Development of 1,179 companies, 31 percent of those companies cited managerial/supervisory skills as one of their greatest skill needs.

A March 2010 study done by Rainmaker Thinking further demonstrates the impact supervisors and managers have on overall performance.  In the research, those companies that focused their efforts on increasing supervision and management, and creating a performance-based culture driven by supervisors and managers, had better results throughout the recession than companies that pursued other strategies such as cost cutting or innovation.

It’s clear that without the proper training, supervisors and managers will not be set up to succeed in their role.  Many will become frustrated with their inability to produce results.  Even worse, their techniques may leave the company liable to lawsuits.

As the economic recovery takes hold, organizations will be relying heavily on their managers to meet new customer demand and to keep their employees engaged so that they will stay with the company.  To meet that challenge, employers must evaluate their supervisors and managers and invest now in the skills they need to excel in their role.

Photo Source: DSR