Let’s face it: Our current economy has put more pressure than ever on our managers. Not only do they need to do more with less, they must keep everyone motivated and engaged at the same time. Managers can feel caught in the middle between what the organization needs, and what their employees need. If you are a manager, struggling with these challenges, your role is critical now. The following 5 key skills, when mastered effectively, can help you succeed even in today’s tough economy.
- Identify and Align with Key Organizational Priorities. It's important to understand how the current economy has impacted your organization. What's most important for your company to succeed right now? Make sure you know. Then identify how this should impact your priorities as a manager. Communicate these priorities to your staff and communicate them consistently. Make sure everyone is aligned and understands how their role helps the organization navigate through today's choppy waters.
- Manage Your Time to Focus on These Priorities. It's hard to disconnect from all our communication devices: text messages, voice mail, constant emails, interruptions, and all sorts of staff crises. However, the challenge every manager faces is the need to prioritize what is REALLY important from what is just urgent. When the going gets tough, it is more important than ever to make sure you are accomplishing your most important priorities. So, remind yourself often what your critical objectives are. Don't let all the pressing demands of the day keep you busy, instead of effective.
- Coach Your Staff to Succeed. Your key role as a manager is helping your staff to succeed. That means that you have got to help them stay focused on accomplishing their key priorities as well. You need to be so clearly tuned in to them that you know when they are slipping. Then you will need to coach them in the most effective way possible when they get off track. Help them to take ownership when they need to improve and find the best strategies for success.
- Create a Motivational Environment. Your staff can also be facing additional pressure and work demands right now. You need to do everything in your power to keep them engaged. Don't ever underestimate the power of gratitude and appreciation. Let your staff know what you value about each individual. Be sincere and communicate it often. You'll be amazed at how powerful the strategy of expressed praise can be.
- Become an Effective Change Agent. The only constant we have is change. To survive in today's economy, you need to embrace change and help your staff do the same. Communicate openly when a change is about to occur and explain the benefits to the organization and/or your employees. Help everyone understand how their actions can benefit the company by implementing the change. Although difficult at first, they'll follow your lead and the new change will be accepted.
You can lead your staff through today's economic challenges to be even stronger when the economy finally improves. You, too, will become stronger in the process as a result. Remember that your staff will watch how YOU step up to the challenge. They will model your attitudes, actions and beliefs. So, use any challenge you experience as an opportunity to model what you want to see in others. When you do, you will have mastered key elements of effective leadership, even in a tough economy.
Learn which skills your best performers should be practicing now. Download our whitepaper How to Help Managers Develop Leadership Skills.