The first step to perfecting your management skills is a step back. Try to see yourself through your employees’ eyes and ask yourself these questions:
1. How’s the stress?
There’s a difference between the kind of stress that keeps you on your toes and the kind that forces unscheduled downtime. Anger, a tendency to take unsafe shortcuts, failure to remember important things. . . these are signs of unhealthy levels.
2. Who has my back?
Ask a trustworthy associate to help monitor your reactions and provide that much needed reality check. If your ally confirms you’re over-stressed, start by looking at your schedule.
3. How many hours can I reasonably commit?
If you think the more hours you work, the more you’ll get done, you’re wrong. Your productivity declines when you’re overworked. Determine the number of hours that equate to a week’s peak performance and stick with that number no matter what. Successive weeks of top-notch results soon add up to a job well done.
4. Can I delegate?
Delegating takes courage if you’re used to thinking you’re the only one who can do things right. Pick the most qualified candidate, expect a learning curve, provide guidance, then reap the rewards of qualified staff who back you up when you need them most.
5. Do I communicate?
Communication works both ways and regular meetings create the format for open and honest discussions. Management pros recommend monthly meetings for all employees, weekly meetings for teams, and daily meetings between top management and team leaders.
6. Do I know what’s important?
It’s easy to get distracted from core problems when they lead to crisis situations, but a successful manager always stays focused on the big picture. While anyone can pick up a bucket to douse a fire, only the boss can ban flammable materials from the storage shed.
7. Am I open to advice?
Besides your personal stress-management ally, and your communicative staff, you can reach out to the experienced pros at the Service Corps Of Retired Executives. You’ll find this free service at SCORE.org.
Remember, managing yourself successfully is the key to being the manager your employees need and deserve.