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Kimber Evans

Quality Insider

Becoming a Quality Boss

It begins with an open mind and the question, “What do you need?”

Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 06:00

Leadership by example is probably the hardest part of managing a group of people, although to date it remains the most effective management strategy. If you want your employees to work for you, then you need to work for them.

A great way to start is to find out what motivates them. Not necessarily in terms of money or rewards, but just what gets them to act in the best interest of the company. Make them want to do the things that will increase the performance level of all aspects of operations. Be sure to create easy ways to accomplish the goals you want them to meet. Surprisingly enough, the best way to find out this information is to… ask!

This may create additional tasks on your to-do list for the short term, but once you are working for your employees, they will start taking up some of the slack. You will spend less time cleaning up messes that could have been avoided or trying to reprimand an underperforming employee. Think of it this way: You might be spending more time creating easy-to-follow plans for your employees, but that will still take less time than trying to hire all new employees, hoping for a different response from new people.

For example, if your goal as a manager is to increase the number of reports generated, create a step-by-step outline for the reports, or even a template. Reduce the time employees must spend trying to put the reports together, and don’t make them waste time redoing work that can and should be quickly duplicated. Your employees will not only appreciate the ability to breeze through a normally time-consuming and dreaded task, they will also have more time to devote to other tasks.

If you have tried laying out easier paths for your employees to perform up to your expectations, and they still don’t seem to be responding, go back to asking. Now that you have laid out clear ways to increase their workflow, ask them why they didn’t follow those paths. Was the template unclear? Did it end up creating more of a hassle? Find out directly from the employees why your aids did not motivate them as you had hoped.

Employees want their jobs to be easy and clear. If you ask them the right questions, they will let you know how you can help them out. If you provide them with tools to make their jobs easier, they will perform better for you. If you understand their needs and try to help them out, they will try harder to understand your needs. Suddenly you will be working as a team.

When a boss and her employees become a team, there is no end to the improvements that will be created.

 

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Kimber Evans

Comments

"Boss"?

I think one of the first steps to becoming a team is for managers to stop calling themselves "boss" - more importantly, they should stop thinking of themselves in that way. The lean management model provides a better approach - coaching, mentoring, teaching, learning, facilitating... rarely being a top-down "boss" (only in special circumstances).