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Methods, Not Madness: Essential Advice for Managers Part One

At PEPworldwide we’ve observed that managers often struggle to, well, manage – to balance the diverse needs of their teams with the specific requirements of their own roles. So this month’s posts will focus on the key strategies that help managers both boost their individual performances and maximise the performance of their teams. We thought we’d kick off the month by sharing what, in our experience, are the two most important ways to improve your ability to manage effectively and ensure you are maximising your company’s biggest asset: your people.

We’d love to hear from you, too: what are the biggest challenges you face as a manager, team leader or decision-maker? Tell us your stories and we’ll explore these experiences and more in our final March post.

1. Ensure everyone in your team has clarity regarding their role and their contribution to the organisation.

You guessed it: clarity is key. As we’ve mentioned previously, one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is due to a lack of clarity (and a consequent lack of accomplishment). You’ve established your goals for the year and your strategies for achieving them – now you need to communicate these to your people. They need to understand your expectations, what their key objectives are and how they will be held accountable for delivering them. If your people achieve their targets, they will help you to achieve yours – and, ultimately, drive the growth of your business.

2. Schedule time for regular one-on-one meetings with each member of your team.

Arguably the biggest challenge managers face is finding the time to engage with team members. “What usually happens is that everything else comes first,” explains PEPworldwide managing director Kathryn Anda. “But your people are your most valuable asset, and you should be spending the majority of your time with them.” Ensure you have a regular appointment – be it weekly or fortnightly – to catch up one-on-one with each of your direct reports to review their progress and to deal with any issues head-on. “It’s very important that you don’t defer or cancel these one-on-ones,” adds Anda. “If your staff can’t rely on you, they will start interrupting you instead. Worse, they won’t feel valued.” So yes, you will have to schedule more meetings. However, explains Anda, this will improve your efficiency, not undermine it. “You will reduce interruptions and distractions, you and your team will be more focused and your team will be working both for you and with you.”

Can effective managing really be summarised into two such simple methods? Absolutely, says Anda. “Even if all you do is implement these two strategies, you will have your people working effectively.” Sounds pretty straightforward to us.

Don’t forget to send us your feedback so we can share your insights with our subscribers in our final March post.