I’ve not always been in the SEO/Internet marketing industry. My previous careers include the commercial real estate and fitness industries. I was a multifamily broker with Sperry Van Ness and also a Personal Training Consultant with LA Fitness; and, even though I’d like to forget about it, I’ve had a couple stints working at restaurants as a waiter. Even though these industries are very different in many ways, the best managers from each share very similar qualities. Below are the three (3) characteristics that a great manager possesses. And the best thing? All these qualities can be learned and developed.
There is always a positive way to say something. If someone royally screws up, tell them how you expect it done next time-- instead of berating them for their failure. If they fail again and again, just fire them. “Be positive” is an overly mentioned yet rarely practiced cliche. I learned the “be positive” lesson a few years back while I was taking my dog Kimo to dog training lessons at Petsmart. I used to raise my voice and yell and say things like “no, bad dog.” I’ve since changed my ways.
Being negative just doesn’t work. Negativity very rarely achieves the desired effect. Ironically, negativity usually backfires and reinforces the bad behavior. When you say “Don’t do that again,” what the person hears is “[noise] do that again.” Negativity focuses attention on the undesirable action, whereas positivity leads to constructive outcomes.
The next time an employee mishandles a task, think twice before criticizing: “will the next phrase that comes out of my mouth help me achieve the desired behavior I seek?”
If you praise the positive behavior and simply ignore the negative behavior-- you’ll find that something magical happens: the negative behavior starts to disappear on its own. It works on dogs just as well as it does on humans!
"Micromanaging" is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and I feel it is misunderstood. Most people just say “don’t micromanage” without a full understanding of what it is.
Personally, I will micromanage the heck out of "the process," but leave people alone to do their work. That's because a refined process will produce predictable results-- so that as long as employees are following the process, they will be producing results.
Simplified, this means that all I really need to be doing is measuring results. If results are not up to par, that is the only time I'll step in.
Otherwise, time is better spent refining the process, and training people to do the process.
Employers have had the upper-hand for the last decade. It seems that through the recession, employers had all the leverage. There are more job seekers than jobs available. Employee wages have been driven down, and many professions have been commoditized. This causes employers to treat their employees as disposable. There is so much labor floating around that every person seems easily replaceable.
On one hand, I can’t blame business owners for taking advantage of the poor economy. On the other hand, everyone’s in for a big surprise when the market starts to shift. Once employees get back the leverage they once had and employers are forced to start raising wages across the board, poor employer behavior will no longer be tolerated.
If you love where you work and love what you do, it’s less likely you’ll see other job opportunities as attractive options.
However, if you’re constantly criticized and never appreciated, it almost doesn’t matter how much money you make, because you’ll constantly be yearning to leave.
So, better start practicing good behavior before the market completely shifts and employees have all the power.
1. Be positive,
2. Manage the process not the person (notice I didn't say "don't micromanage" but oops I just did), and
3. Show appreciation.
Do these things to become a great manager. Sometimes I forget to follow my own advice-- I’m writing this article today to reinforce these concepts into my own brain.
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