|An employee is hired to help the company make a profit|
Introduction (A manager is an employee that represents the company.)
Traits of a Manager (Even managers get caught up in thinking they are better than they are.)
Being a Manager (Just because you are in management, it does not mean you don't need to improve)
Planning & Decision Making (Making good decisions reduces the number of problems you have to solve.)
Company Policies (Policies are the law except when they get in the way of getting the job done.)
Managing Employees (This job would be enjoyable if there was not need to deal with employee issues.)
Strives to Reduce the Compounding of Mistakes by Employees (Why does it take so much effort to correct a direct report staff's mistake.)
Confidentiality (Keep your mouth shut even if the listening ears belong to a good friend.)
Budget (Be smart in calculating your budget and pay attention to how you spend your budget.)
Impact of a Poor Performing Manager (A poor manager creates problems for his staff.)
Identifying Employees for Promotion (A little luck helps making these decisions.)
Dealing with Poor Performing Employees (Their lack of ability challenges my ability.)
The Peter Principle Is Alive and Well (I hate it when a promotion I approve activates the Peter Principle.)
Your Comment Is Wanted (Your opinion is important to Dale. )
It is an exciting time when you are promoted to your first management position. You have the authority to tell your employees what they are to do to achieve the tasks assigned you and them. You have the opportunity to be creative and find new and better ways for your staff to perform their duties which will make you look good to your boss. You may be involved in the process of management developing new procedures, staff reorganization, new directions for the company, etc. Being a manager has job perks and more freedom of controlling your time at work which more often than not involves putting in more time at work.
For the purpose of this article, a manager is defined as having responsibility for the productivity of employees.
A manager has to walk the tight rope that enables you to represent the company’s regulations, goals, procedures, etc. to your employees and you to represent your staff’s concerns, needs, problems, etc. to your management. The company through, its management staff, works with the non management employees to produce the company’s goods and services that are sold to produce income. All employees should have the best interest of the company as the top aspect of their work values, because the company provides the employees’ jobs.
As a manager, you are responsible for what your staff does which includes the good things they can do and the bad things they can do. You may be surprised when you find out that you have a direct report employee that does not always do what you tell him to do and when to do it. Often a manager will find out that dealing with employee problems takes a lot of his time, and the problems emphasize the reality of the limits of your actual authority.
In theory, you do have the right to tell your direct report staff what to do. The staff that does what you tell them causes the theory to function very well. The staff that does not follow your directions is another issue. As you put pressure on the troublesome direct reports to get them to better perform their job’s duties, you find out how much authority the Human Resource Department’s rules actually allow you to exercise. You may get the idea that the HRD staff is employed to make you keep a poor performing employee.
The management staff has to keep a close watch on the budget. All costs related to employing an employee are expenses to the company. Employees that are not performing at the acceptable level are lowering the profit of the company. No profit ends up supporting no company.
The effectiveness of a manager can have a direct impact on the productivity of his staff. A manager makes decisions that affect how his direct report staff conduct themselves as they perform their job’s duties. A manager can be so focused on other duties that he neglects supporting his direct report staff. There are managers that are poor at performing their duties which impacts the employees that are in their chain of command.
A poor manager can limit and restrict the performance of their staff which can cause an employee that has potential to become a great employee to not reach his potential. The poor manager causes the employee to lose and the company to lose.
A manager’s job is to help the company make a profit.
The following are lists of traits that identify good and poor managers. Look at each of the traits and realistically evaluate how you fulfill each of the traits. Identify which trait you are successful in accomplishing and which trait is currently difficult for you to achieve. Identify what you need to do to be more successful with your weak traits.
Strive to improve your management skill set so you can be promoted.
The higher you advance as a manager, you become more of a generalist and less of a specialist.
Written and verbal skills are important.
Work to achieve the goals assigned to your staff.
Support your direct report staff, because it is their efforts that make you look good.
Hold your direct report staff accountable for their actions.
Support your manager(s).
Conduct yourself in a trustworthy and ethical manner at all times with all levels of employees by being dependable, accountable, truthful, faithful, reliable, conscientious, scrupulous, etc.
Work hard to be promoted, but do not conduct yourself in a manner that you receive a promotion due to “stabbing co-workers in the back” so you look good to your management.
Treat other employees in the same manner that you want them to treat you.
Work to help direct report staff deal with the impact of changes that affect how they perform their job’s duties.
When dealing with a problem about which you are not sure what to do, always identify a potential solution before taking the problem to your manager.
Strive to perform your duties from a proactive perspective instead of being reactive.
When you are invited to participate in working on the company’s future direction and plans, think outside the status quo and be creative in thinking how the company’s goals can be achieved.
A manager needs to understand how computer applications operate and how new computer applications or revised applications can be used by your staff to better perform their duties.
The critical time to make sure a new application will perform the desired functions is when it is being designed (developing user requirements) and not after it is implemented.
Enforce the company’s rules, procedure, regulations, processes, etc.
Look for ways company’s procedures, processes, regulations, etc., can be improved.
Written procedures can be used to direct how staff performs their duties.
Represents the company to his direct reports.
Represents his direct reports to his management.
Promotes and encourages employees to perform each task the correct way the first time.
Provides the leadership needed to get direct report staff to perform their duties in an effective, accurate, and timely manner.
Make sure your staff know their job’s duties, are adequately trained, and have the necessary resources to perform their duties.
Make sure your direct report staff correctly perform their duties.
Provide proper management support so direct reports can conduct their job’s duties.
Conduct fair and accurate yearly evaluations of your direct report staff.
Identify quality employees and strive to develop them for future promotions.
Continuing concerns for a manager are his employees’ productivity, promotions, downsizing, reorganization, hiring new staff or transferring staff, etc.
Work to identify how your staff can improve the company’s profit margin.
Encourage direct report staff to improve their work related skill set.
Encourage direct report staff to identify ways they can improve the way they perform their duties.
When a manager has managers reporting to him, he accepts accountability for his direct reports’ direct reports.
Strives to reduce employees’ errors as they perform their job’s duties, because correcting errors often involve management staff and more employees than were involved in creating the original error.
Strives to keep employees’ from taking credit for what other employees have accomplished.
Reward employees for their creativity and what they accomplish.
Making a mistake when performing a task creates an incorrect result. When the incorrect result is passed on to another employee that use it to perform a task causes the mistake to be compounded. How long it takes to identify the mistake determines how the mistake is compounded and affects the work of employees? After the mistake is identified, determining what to do to correct the mistake and make the corrections can involve several levels of managers. The cost to correct the mistake can be more expensive than the cost to the company of the original mistake. Good things can be said about doing the task right the first time.
Confidential business and employee related data should not be shared with any unauthorized people until appropriate authority is given for the release of the data.
Gossiping and feeding the rumor mill are bad traits for a manager.
The budget is an important part of a manager’s job’s focus.
The approved budget guides a manager’s decisions, because it governs the expenses associated with salaries, resources, training, future planned needs, etc. for his direct reports.
Preparing a future budget includes all anticipated expenses and any new expenses that will be incurred during the future budget time period.
When making decisions that affects an outlay of money, the budget must be observed. If there is to be an unexpected expense, higher level management will need to be involved in approving the expense.
Poor managers can make their direct reports look bad because of the poor decisions made by the manager. A poor decision can impact his direct reports and other employees, because they have to work with results of the poor decision.
A poor performing manager can create problems for his direct manager by not competently carrying out the duties assigned him and his staff.
It is to the benefit of the company and employee that the duties assigned to an employee are kept to the current abilities or to the perceived potential abilities of the employee. Disservice is done to the company and the employee if the employee is placed in a position for which he cannot perform at the acceptable level. This situation is always a possibility when an employee is promoted without having already shown that he can perform the required duties.
An interesting situation can occur when a person is given more responsibility without being given more salary. The management is giving the person the opportunity to prove that he is worthy of a promotion. The employee may not be happy with having the extra duties when other employees at the same level are not having to do as much work. This is an attitude problem of the employee and a communication problem for the manager.
A poor performing employee is a major problem for a manager. Correcting an employee’s performance requires the manager to confront the employee which is often difficult for many managers. Some managers will strive to ignore the problem as long as they can. This actually creates more problems in the long run. When other employees see a poor performing employee look like they are “getting by” with the poor performance, they can question the value of “working hard” or doing a good job. Employees watch how a poor performing employee is treated by their boss which is why quick effective action by the manager is needed when a problem is detected.
A poor performing employee seldom turns himself around without his manager’s involvement. A good manager will, when he notices a problem with an employee, talk with the employee to find out what is generating the problem and take appropriate action.
If the employee cannot be rehabilitated, action is to be taken to terminate the employee. The process of terminating an employee at some companies is a long and tedious process that requires a lot of effort on the employee’s immediate manager. The complexity of the termination process at some companies causes some managers to limp along with the poor performing employee or try to get the employee transferred to another department. Transferring the employee can relieve the current manager of a problem employee, but it causes the company to still have a poor performing employee on its payroll.
A paraphrase of the Peter Principle: “An employee will advance to a position of responsibility at which he is not able to adequately perform the position’s duties.” There is a lot of truth in the Peter Principle developed by Laurence Johnston Peter.
When an employee reaches the position that fulfills the Peter Principle, he becomes a detriment to the company and is a liability to the employees that report to him and work with him. The practice of having an employee perform some or all of the duties of the position to which he could be promoted is an attempt to find out if the promotion will move an employee to his Peter Principle incompetency level.
A manager should strive to keep his direct reports from becoming live examples of the Peter Principle. His most important goal is to keep himself from becoming a Peter Principle live example.
If you have a question or comment about the content of this article written by Dale Lee, notify Dale. When you send an e-mail, be sure to include the article in question's title, your name, and your comments/questions. Dale is interested in hearing from you.
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August 7, 2005