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Timothy F. Bednarz

Quality Insider

Good Managers Create Better Employees

Realistic goals and adequate support are only the beginning

Published: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 10:53

At a sporting event, cheerleaders are present for the single purpose of providing support for their team. The same applies to the manager in the workplace. Once plans and programs are in place, it becomes the manager’s responsibility to provide the support his employees need to achieve maximum results.

The nature of most positions assumes that employees are self-managing and self-directing in the majority of their activities. The manager’s traditional role was to control and direct employees she supervised. Effective managers now support and motivate their employees by streamlining policies and procedures and by removing internal barriers to their productivity.

Managers must understand that by removing internal barriers and streamlining procedures, they make the employees job easier, allowing people to focus on more productive tasks rather than diverting their energy elsewhere. In this manner, the manager’s role is to keep his employees on track and motivated to reach their peak performance.

Managers should remove the roadblocks their employees encounter to enhance their productivity. Effective managers understand it is their primary responsibility to produce results and not just control and direct. Efficiency and productivity are the means to achieving results, and managers should focus on both these goals to help their employees. This is achieved by providing the following:

Attainable goals

One of the primary responsibilities of a manager is to ensure that her employees have realistic and attainable goals. This does not necessarily mean that goals should be easy; rather, they should always stretch the employee’s ability to grow. However, unrealistic and overwhelming goals and objectives are counterproductive because they frustrate and ultimately demotivate the employee.

Employees are responsible for developing their own work-related goals. In many cases managers accept these goals with little or no scrutiny. Managers should take the time to have a frank discussion with everyone concerning their objectives. For example, IBM built its success by ensuring that its employees had a series of smaller, attainable goals. When those were achieved, employees’ successes were celebrated.

Managers should likewise require that their own employees develop a series of smaller plans for the quarter, month, week, and day, all linked to the accomplishment of larger goals. In this manner, managers help their employees stay focused on activities that keep them moving forward toward accomplishing their objectives.

Without this critical guidance and direction, all unit or department activities for the year may prove wasteful and meaningless. When realistic and attainable plans are in place, the manager’s role is to support his employees’ activities and keep them focused on the results they need to achieve.

Adequate support

Employees must be given the necessary tools and resources to achieve the desired results. A lack of adequate support for an employee sends a mixed message and hurts motivation. During the heat of daily activities, employees need timely information, data, and support to keep moving forward.

When companies fail employees at these critical junctures, they are communicating their lack of concern for employees’ efforts. This often undermines the investment in time and resources made by the worker. If it means she can’t reach a particular target or goal, motivation to work hard toward the next objective will be eliminated. It is replaced with an “If they don’t care, why should I?” attitude. Once this attitude takes hold, it is difficult to reverse.

Realistic reports and policies

Employees can be burdened with scheduled reports that are generated more from tradition than need. Aside from the necessary expense and resource reports, managers should  request only the information they need to monitor the success of the employee’s plan. Beyond that, many reports just duplicate information and are simply holdovers from a time when documentation wasn’t done electronically.

With the advent of computers and business management software, yesterday’s report can easily be transformed into an action plan. This process provides both the manager and employee with an informational tool that directs and informs.

Managers need quality information to monitor their employees’ activities. This information can be obtained through a performance metrics system that reports key numbers to reflect employees’ activities. Typically, such metrics accurately report the progress of activities within process pipeline.

Effective skills development

Managers must ensure that their employees continually polish their skills, which requires providing quality training while monitoring an individual employee’s performance to observe what skills are in need of refinement. When necessary, additional training and coaching may be required. Training should not be considered merely as a reward, but rather as a requirement if employees are to grow in their professions.

Excerpted from Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, 2011).

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About The Author

Timothy F. Bednarz’s picture

Timothy F. Bednarz

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D., is an accomplished author, researcher, consultant, entrepreneur, and innovator. He has founded three successful companies and has more than 26 years consulting experience in business development. As a critical thinker and transformational agent of change, he has the ability to view complex issues, identifying specific causes to develop meaningful solutions in simple terms. He has authored more than 125 books as well as a wide variety of high quality learning content. His latest book is Great! What Makes Leaders Great (Majorium Business Press, 2012). He is the author of more than 85 books in the Pinpoint Skill Development Training Series.