The Manager's Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills

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No matter how you arrived at your supervisory position, you need a specific set of skills to work successfully with your employees. Feeling positive about yourself, making effective decisions, and solving problems are still a part of your daily life, but added to this are the challenging leadership skills of communicating, delegating, coaching, motivating, hiring, and leading. Your achievement is measured by your staff's performance. Knowing how to work with your staff increases your department's effectiveness: your employees can become your best support as you become one of today's successful leaders. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills concisely describes the skills you need to become a strong and competent supervisor or manager. This book contains information and illustrations as well as "Tips for Success" and "Action Plans." It is written for those who want to not only survive, but thrive in their leadership role!

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1 Understanding the Changing Role of Supervision

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D The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills

1. The most notable shift in our environment has been from an industrial-based society to an information-based society. In 1980, the amount of information entering our society was doubling every ten years. In 1990, the amount of information entering society was doubling every two and one-half years! As we near the year 2000, it is estimated that the amount of information will double every one and onehalf years!

2. The rapid increase in information flow is both creating new jobs and causing jobs to become obsolete. It has been estimated that 50% of the jobs being performed in 1991 did not exist in 1971. That rate of change is not slowing down. We can expect that by the year 2013 essentially all work will be “new.” If information is doubling every one and one-half years, 90 percent of the information available to workers in 2013 will have been created since

1993. Put another way, all of the knowledge utilized by workers in 1993 represents 10% of what will be available in 20 years.

 

2 Building Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

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Building Your

Confidence and Self-Esteem

“Our own attitudes have far more to do with how happy we are than do any external circumstances.”

Dr. Nathaniel Branden

Being a great supervisor starts with you. The way you feel and see yourself affects every aspect of your role as a leader. William James, the great philosopher and psychologist, once observed that the greatest discovery of our age has been that we, by changing the inner aspects of our thinking, can change the outer aspects of our life. Or as another sage puts it, "We aren’t what we think we are, but what we think, we are!" The higher your selfesteem, the better your chances are of being a great supervisor and a great leader. This chapter discusses the importance of self-esteem and what you can do to raise your self-esteem to an even higher level.

As a first step to enhancing self-esteem, we can begin with a self-assessment. This is an opportunity for you to take an honest look at yourself and assess how you feel about your abilities as a supervisor. In which aspects of supervision do you have a high degree of

 

3 Leading Organizational Change

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D The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills of it!” We have found that when change is introduced to an organization, or better yet, rumored, employees often resist change in a variety of ways.

Reasons People Resist Change

The following ten reasons best describe some typical reasons why some employees have a tough time changing their mindsets and behavior:

1.

Fear of failure. Some employee resistance to change is rooted in fear. During periods of change, an employee may feel the need to cling to the past because it was a more secure, predictable time.

2.

Creatures of habit. Doing things in the same routine, predictable manner is comfortable.

Asking people to change the way they operate or think requires them to move outside their comfort zone. “We’ve always done it this way, so why do we need to change?” becomes the rallying cry for people who have difficulty changing their routines.

3.

No obvious need. “If it has been working all this time, and working well, why do we need to change?” Like the old expression, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”, employees within an organization may only see a change from the perspective of the impact it has on them and their particular jobs.

 

4 Managing Time to Accomplish Your Goals

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Managing Time to

Accomplish Your Goals

“The only way there is true equality in this world is that we all have the same amount of time. Some people just accomplish more.”

Peter B. Stark

I just don’t have the time. How many times have you heard this comment? How many times have you used it yourself? Every time we do not accomplish something we should have, or intended to, this line seems to surface. Many managers and supervisors frequently feel the pressure of a lack of time. They literally run out of time. The reasons?

Lack of priorities, unclear goals, interruptions, unproductive meetings, disorganization, inability to say “no,” and possibly ineffective delegation.

The 168 Hour Limit

There are two facts we know about time. First, there are exactly 24 hours or 1,440 minutes in every day. That amounts to 168 hours in a week and 8,760 hours in a year. Second, we all have the same amount of time. So the question is not one of where do you find more time. You cannot do it. The real question we need to be asking is how do we

 

5 Communicating Effectively

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D The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills determining promotability. A manager’s number one challenge can be summed up in one word: communication.

What We Know about Communication

There are certain aspects of communication that impact our day-to-day lives.

1.

No matter how hard one tries, one cannot avoid communicating. Many times we think we are not communicating because we are not verbally communicating. That is simply not the case. We are always communicating, whether we want to or not. We communicate nonverbally—with our eyes, facial expressions, gestures—and even by the color of our skin.

During 30 minutes of discussion, people can exchange approximately 800 different nonverbal messages. The messages we send without words have a greater impact than when we speak.

2.

Communicating does not necessarily mean understanding. Can you think of a time when you were convinced that you got your message across but later found out quite the opposite?

3.

Communication is irreversible. Once you have communicated a message and it has been received, either verbally or nonverbally, it is irreversible. Have you ever said something that you have regretted? Or, have you ever wished you had said something and did not?

 

6 Delegating to Succeed through Others

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2.

Delegation frees up our time to get the most important things accomplished.

Many of the tasks that supervisors and managers do can be completed by their employees.

By delegating routine and ongoing tasks, managers will have time for more critical tasks, for leadership activities, and for innovation and problem prevention.

3.

Delegation develops our employees. When we delegate tasks to employees, we in effect say, “You’ve got what it takes to do this job.”

This will enhance levels of trust between the employee and supervisor. Delegation is a critical employee development tool.

4.

Delegation helps to empower our employees by taking the decision-making process to the appropriate level. Decisions involving problems at different levels of the organization are often better if they are made by the people who are actually doing the work.

Making decisions at levels where employees are making the product or dealing with customers fosters motivation and a sense of ownership for the task at hand.

 

7 Coaching to Improve Performance

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Preparing for the Coaching Discussion

Coaching is, in many ways, a negotiation. And, just like a negotiation session, the better you prepare, the better your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. Consider the following questions before you begin a coaching discussion. Your answers will provide a framework for conducting a win/win interaction.

1.

What is the problem? Identify the specific problem. Exactly what is happening that shouldn’t be or what should be happening that isn’t? Some typical problems may include

(a) coming in late, (b) excessive absences,

(c) sales down, (d) customer complaints, or

(e) incomplete reports. Make sure you define the problem in specific “behavioral” terms.

Remember, a bad attitude is not a specific behavioral problem. However, ignoring customers or not providing follow-up within

24 hours is.

2.

What is the cause of the problem? You may not know for sure what the cause of the problem is until you have the coaching discussion. However, you can begin to identify possible causes. For example, sales may be down because (a) the salesperson is no longer calling on new accounts or (b) maybe existing accounts are not being asked about additional services that may be needed. A clear understanding of the cause of the problem will speed up the problem-solving process and will allow for realistic and practical solutions.

 

8 Conducting Valuable Performance Reviews

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Understanding the

Performance Review Cycle

Step One: Clarify Your Expectations

The first step in the review process is to select the significant job elements particular to the employee’s position for review and rating. Typical performance appraisals will have five to seven categories, or elements, used to rate employee performance. These job elements should be jointly reviewed and agreed upon by both the supervisor and the employee.

Step Two: Set Performance Standards

Job elements describe what must be done to accomplish the job. Performance standards describe how the job will be done. Together, they provide a guideline for the employee’s performance and a basis for reviewing the employee’s success on the job. When setting standards for performance, it is important that the employee be involved in the process. This helps ensure that the employee understands the standards and also helps motivate the employee to achieve or exceed the standard. What follows is an example of performance standards for the position of administrative assistant.

 

9 Building a High-Performing Team

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D The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills because you are a supervisor with a specific group of people assigned to complete a specific organizational task, that does not necessarily mean you are leading a team. A team is not just any group working together. Groups do not become teams just because someone labels them a team.

If any significant piece of the preceding definition is lacking, then what you have is a group of people who work together.

What Makes a Great Team?

In both our consulting practice and research, we have uncovered five characteristics that are common among all great teams.

1.

Great teams have a common, shared goal.

Team members are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. As a supervisor or manager, you have the opportunity to set the goals for your team. This technique is used by the majority of supervisors. The supervisor tells the team what needs to be accomplished and how to accomplish the task, whether on this shift or in a specific work period. People need to know what needs to be accomplished.

 

10 Selecting and Hiring Winners

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Interviewing Skills Self-Assessment

There is no grading scale for this assessment. If you circle a high number of “Yes” responses, you need to practice and learn effective interviewing skills.

Yes

No

1. Have you ever hired a person who did not have the skills you thought they had?

Yes

No

2. After the interview, have you ever thought of something you wish you had told the candidate?

Yes

No

3. When the interview is complete, are you still confused about the candidate’s qualifications?

Yes

No

4. Of the five people you have most recently hired, have any left for employment elsewhere?

Yes

No

5. Have you ever asked a question of a candidate and then later found out that the question was not legal to ask?

Yes

No

6. Do you ever find that you do not have time to prepare adequately for the interview?

Yes

No

7. Do you tend to do more talking than the candidate?

Yes

No

8. Have you ever found you did not hear the candidate’s response because you were thinking of what question to ask next?

 

11 Facilitating Productive Meetings

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Facilitating

Productive Meetings

“Meetings do not need to be punishment. After all, gatherings to discuss a subject of common interest are what parties are all about.”

Philip B. Crosby

Ask any group of managers and supervisors to list their top three most time-consuming activities and

“unproductive meetings” always surfaces in their lists. These same managers and supervisors regretfully admit that about half their time in meetings is wasted. Unfortunately, we never know ahead of time which half of the meeting is going to be the productive half. If it were known, we could plan accordingly and better manage our time!

To Meet or Not to Meet?

The first step in planning a successful meeting is to make an important decision. The decision is whether or not to even hold a meeting. Many meetings should not occur at all. Meetings that are called because a manager is unable or unwilling to make a decision are examples of meetings that should not take place. Another inappropriate reason is to call a meeting simply for the sake of

 

12 Managing Conflict

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Managing Conflict

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Oscar Wilde

As a supervisor or manager, no matter how carefully you plan, periodically you will have to deal with conflict. Wherever you have groups of people working together, you are going to experience conflict. While it is unrealistic to think that you can create a conflict-free environment, you can learn more about how to resolve issues so that conflict doesn’t overwhelm you and impact your company’s productivity.

The intent of this chapter is to give you the tools that you need to understand what causes conflict, how to deal with conflict, and how to keep conflict under control in your organization. With practice, you will become confident in your ability to resolve conflicts that typically arise in the day-to-day operations of an organization.

Common Misconceptions about Conflict

Many relatively successful supervisors and managers have a fear of conflict. Much of their fear stems from misconceptions about the subject of conflict. One way of diffusing that fear is to explore

 

13 Creating a Motivating Environment

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D The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills and it causes us to act. As supervisors, our focus should be on how we can develop an environment and a relationship with our employees that fosters the action of motivation.

What Is Motivation?

Motivation can best be described as the internal drive to fulfill a need. Each of us has specific needs. These needs translate into drives which we act upon through specific behaviors. Drives are action-oriented and provide an energizing thrust toward goal accomplishment.

As we act on the behaviors (through drives), we satisfy our needs. As our needs are satisfied, the intensity of the drive subsides. A more succinct explanation is that “people do what they think they have to do in order to get what they think they want.” As supervisors, if we truly want to create motivated individuals, we have to fully understand their needs and goals. If we can understand the needs and goals of our employees, we have a good possibility of showing them the appropriate behaviors that will help them satisfy their needs. And, those appropriate behaviors will be the behaviors that satisfy our needs and goals.

 

14 Setting Goals and Planning Actions

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Setting Goals and

Planning Actions

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”

Benjamin E. Mays

In working with thousands of supervisors in diverse settings, we have noted that great leaders, among other positive characteristics, always have a set of clearly defined goals. We have also noted the reverse. Supervisors who struggle in their relationships with their employees and have difficulty getting their team motivated often have only one goal: “Just let me survive one more day!” It’s a known fact that individuals and teams that set and achieve goals accomplish more, feel better about themselves, and are more confident in their abilities. Goals can be powerfully motivating.

The accomplishment of anything great begins with clear goals. There is a procedure for setting and reaching your goals. The following pages describe the goal-setting process. You will learn what it takes to be a great goal setter and goal achiever.

Whether your goals are financial, business, educational, family, physical, social, spiritual, or recreational, you will be successful if you follow this process.

 

15 Earning Followers in Your Leadership Role

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Earning Followers in

Your Leadership Role

“Management techniques are obviously essential, but what matters is leadership. Leading the whole organization needs wisdom and flair and vision and they are another matter; they cannot be reduced to a system and incorporated into a training manual.”

Anthony Jay

The title makes an interesting point. It is difficult to be considered a leader if you have no followers.

What makes this point so significant is that you can be a supervisor or manager and have no followers—all you need is employees. To take this point one step further, you can still be considered a supervisor, even if you are ineffective in your ability to direct the actions of your employees. But, this is simply not the case for a leader. A leader must have followers.

Leader or Supervisor?

Over the last 20 years, there have been countless attempts to define and differentiate leadership and management. Some have made statements such as

“managers manage things, whereas leaders lead people” or “management is about efficiency, but

 

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