By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber
You’ve made it. You are now the store manager, head counter professional, in charge of the warehouse or running the shipping department. You now have people who report to you, it’s almost like having employees. More than likely the biggest issue you will face is communication and the motivation of your charges. Perhaps you may feel that a staff meeting is the answer. Be careful, because to most employees, staff meetings are boring! Usually the manager does all of the talking, tells us what we are doing wrong or what we need to improve. Somehow we need to work our staff into the meeting so that their attention will not wander.
Managing employees usually involves making sure that everyone is basically sustaining the status quo, however a true manager should be concerned with driving the performance of each individual employee. Today, most managers face overwhelming tasks, responsibilities and deadlines, while the dedication to their people sometimes gets lost in the overall scheme of things.
Are you the type of manager who waits for a problem to arise? If so, this management style will rarely allow you to engage your employee to reinforce a positive attribute. However, if you engage and reinforce positive attributes proactively, your management style will seek employees out to build trust and goodwill so when there is an employee issue you have already created an established relationship in which to work together. As a manager you have to breed engagement, attentiveness and true ownership of the material presented.
It is important to understand that the manager who always gives the answer will not develop employees who think outside of the box. Managers who proactively engage their employees will produce higher-performing employees due to trust, cooperative work interaction and higher visibility to employee challenges.
Why is this so important? Why is engagement so powerful? Engagement is basically about interacting with people cooperatively. This is often difficult because when we do not get what we need from others we can react emotionally. It has been proven that people will give 110 percent when they are properly engaged. As managers we need listen more, get to know each other more, help more and learn more about one another’s jobs.
A high percentage of employees do not feel appreciated, and there are a good number of workers who feel that they are just a number within their company. An observant manager realizes that his employees deserve credit for their successes. Recognition is important, whether it is a bonus, tickets to a ball game or simply a pat on the back for a job well done.
As managers, we have to create the openness that keeps our employees coming back to us comfortably, as opposed to avoiding us like the plague, while consequently we face the never-ending dilemma of nonverbally telling employees we do not care.
Proper managing is about teaching employees to ask questions, inspiring employees to think creatively, as well as challenging them with direct questions. Most managers state that they do not have the time to work so closely with their employees, while not realizing that this is exactly the process that raises employee performance.
Employee responsibility includes managers delegating various tasks. Unfortunately, most times we delegate the task or project but not the accompanying power to see it through. In most companies today the employee may have the responsibility but not authority needed with it.
Although we live in a world of e-mail, cell phones, instant messages, Blackberries, WiFi and, yes, even face-to-face conversation, there can still be a complete lack of communication. Today’s manager must instill in his employees that the office door is always open.
Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop. For more information, go to: www.autobizsolutionsllc.com or e-mail [email protected].