Fine Tuning TalentsSix Essential Skills For Maximizing Employee Potential
The best managers always seem to know how to get the best out of people and see the hidden potential in everyone. But great managers don’t have Jedi mind-control powers. They’re just people savvy. If you’re looking to boost employee productivity, you might want to start by taking a look at your people management skills. Check out these six things that you can do to improve your management skills and help your employees unlock their full potential:
Know your leadership strengths. While talents are innate, strengths are
acquired. Your current strengths have likely been developed throughout your
childhood and young adult life. Perhaps you played sports growing up and
developed excellent teamwork skills. Or maybe you successfully balanced many
part-time jobs while in high school and college, building great time management
skills. Whatever your strengths may be, it is important to hone in on them and
utilize them when you’re managing others.
a list of your top five strengths and how you use them every day. Then ask a
trusted friend or peer to list your top five strengths. Compare the two lists.
Are you being honest with yourself? Maybe one of your listed strengths still
needs some work. You might even be really good at something you hadn’t thought
of as a strength before. Take these under-utilized strengths and start using
them in your management career. To get the most out of your talent, you have to
bring your best self to the table.
Build on your weaknesses. Identifying your strengths may seem a lot
easier than pinpointing your weaknesses, but finding these areas for
improvement is crucial to your success as a manager. Just like you developed
your current strengths through experience and education as a child or young
adult, you can continue to develop new strengths as an adult. Maybe you’re
great at customer service, but the way you give feedback needs a little work.
It could be you have always wanted to be better at public speaking to motivate
and inspire your employees. You can develop any of these skills to be a
of all the areas you would like to improve on and ways that you could use these
skills to be a better manager. Brainstorm on ways you could develop these
weaknesses into strengths. Reading self-development books, attending workshops
and conferences, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and taking online
courses are all effective methods to develop specific skill sets. Set SMART
(specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for each
skill, then get going on your list. Working on your own career goals will
improve your management skills and inspire your employees to set goals too.
Communicate effectively. We all communicate every day, yet many of us
still struggle with the skill of tailoring our message. What works well with
one person may be totally ineffective (or even offensive) to another. Employees
who feel like they are in the know are much more likely to meet deadlines and
are some tips on communicating effectively to keep your team working like a
Listen, then talk. This is especially vital if the situation is emotional or if there are ideas being shared by a team. It’s key to stop and be present in the conversation. Don’t let devices interrupt your conversation, and don’t think about what you want to say next.
Speak briefly. Long-winded explanations can make your point fuzzy and unclear. Keep it simple, and don’t stray too far off-topic.
Give clear direction. Make your goals easy to understand, and let them know your top priorities. By being more transparent, your employees will be able to make the right choices to get the most important things done first.
Ask questions. After an employee shares a concern, ask follow-up questions and get a clear picture of what is going on. Not only does this show you care, but it helps you to solve the problem faster. After you’ve given direction, make sure you give employees adequate time to ask you questions too.
Provide frequent feedback. Have you ever done something the same way
over and over again for months just to have someone tell you that you’ve
actually been doing it wrong the whole time? By this time, it’s become second
nature and it is a much bigger chore to correct it and do it the new, right
way. Wouldn’t it have been easier if someone had corrected you the first time
you did it wrong?
This is exactly why it is important to
provide frequent feedback. Your employees will feel uncomfortable and awkward
that you didn’t mention it sooner if you wait until months down the road. Plus,
the little things we do every day (right or wrong) quickly become habits; we
start doing them with very little conscious thought. Once a habit is formed, it
can be really tough to break. If your employees are doing something incorrectly
repeatedly and you fail to give them feedback to correct it, it just gets more
and more difficult to fix the problem if you wait.
When you give feedback regularly it
helps to create open and honest discussions with your employees. You learn what
they’re struggling with right away, and you can change course to help them if
you need to. Doing these little check-ins can also save you from feeling
blindsided by an employee’s sudden change in behavior/attitude or worse—unexpected
and poorly-executed turnover.
Focus on development. Your employees’ careers are not static. Just like
their current roles, their career goals and aspirations may change slightly
over time. Make their five and 10-year plans part of your performance
discussions. Even if their career plans are drastically different than their
current positions, there might be something they can do now that would be
mutually beneficial for the facility and for their careers. For example, if a
facility manager has goals of working at a marketing agency, suggest that they
take a more active role in managing marketing campaigns and designing marketing
materials for the facility. Just showing your employee that you care about
their future goals can make a huge difference in their level of engagement.
Have resources ready for these
conversations. Know your company’s policies, consider cross-training, or help
them find mentorships and professional certifications that are available. Many
companies also have partnerships with major universities and can offer
discounts, scholarships, or other financial assistance to help employees pay
for secondary education. Simply show a genuine interest in their career
development and that you care. The mutual respect pays off big time in reducing
employee turnover and burnout.
Advocate for your employees. If you want your employees to advocate for
your business, it needs to work both ways. Employees care more about their
company when they feel like their company cares about them. Investing in
employees starts at the top, so owners play a huge role.
of the most important ways to advocate for employees is by advocating for great
benefits. Let them know that you’re on their side when it comes to things like
health care, bereavement time, sick leave, retirement benefits, and childcare.
You can also help establish this culture at your facility by creating perks for
your employees. Perks don’t always have to be big. In the storEDGE office, we
have a snack bar and mini-fridge that is always well stocked with nutritious
snacks and beverages. This small investment is just one of the things I love
about my company, and it lets me know that my company cares about my wellness.
You can do the same for your employees by creating a snack bar or coffee
station in your facility office or break room area. By doing the right thing
and advocating for their physical and financial health and wellness, your
employees are much more likely to go the extra mile and do the right thing in
six tips should help you maximize employee potential and be a better manager
too. The most important takeaway: Your attitude sets the stage for your employees.
Build your employees up by being a positive boss who motivates and inspires
Jana Basler is a marketing content writer living in Kansas City. A graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in psychology and business, she enjoys bringing technology, web marketing, and industry news and tips to self-storage owners and managers by writing for storEDGE.