Have you ever been surprised to find out that things were going wrong with individuals or your team? Are you last to know if someone has a health issue, is stressed or simply dissatisfied with their working life?
If this sounds like you, you need to adapt a very simple management technique – Management By Walking About.
What? I just have to walk about? Well, yes and no. It’s certainly true that it’s about getting away from your desk and ‘visiting’your staff daily. That’s right, daily. Why? Because as long as you do it in the right way, you’ll be valued more by your staff and will find out sooner if any aspect of managing your people needs attention. And that’s better than finding out later when it can take a long time to sort out.
You may think it will take time out of your day, but remember managing staff is part of your remit and it is certainly true that you need to accept that time needs to be allocated to this important aspect of your work.
Six Tips for Successful Management by Walking About
- Make it part of your daily routine. That doesn’t mean that you go at the same time every day. If you do, your ‘visits’will have less impact. Instead, when you are planning your week, allocate a time in your diary for this walkabout. It is as important as any other appointment, after all.
- Talk to everyone. It can be very tempting to just speak to the people you like most, but I promise you, that will make any difficulties you have relating to people even more difficult because they’ll feel shunned.
- Know about your staff. Okay, I’m assuming that you do regular staff reviews so know what they want to achieve in the coming period. That’s important. But so is knowing some more personal things about them, assuming they’re willing to share. Do you know:
- If they are in a relationship?
- Where they live and how they get to work?
- If they have any strong religious or political beliefs?
- The names of their children if they have any?
- If they have any interests or hobbies out of work?
This is a sample list. You may think of other important things to know about your staff. Remember current issues too, such as ill health or family difficulties. Just a quick ‘How’s your cold today?’tells the staff member that you care enough about them to remember.
- Take an interest in their work. But this isn’t a time to criticise. If they tell you something is going wrong, don’t criticise, problem solve instead. It will pay dividends.
- Praise regularly. Some people feel uncomfortable praising or receiving praise, so it’s worth remembering that praise comes in many forms. These can vary from a simple ‘That’s great, thanks!’to a standing ovation in a team meeting.
- Follow up. Follow through on anything you promise to do during your walkabouts, you’ll gain a reputation for being reliable and thoughtful. And, let’s face it, people work harder for a good boss so your team will perform better and you’ll look good too.
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