Six Things You Should Be Doing When Managing People
Our management approach should have evolved beyond the practices we read about or saw in practice in the previous decades or centuries. Unfortunately, the internet is replete with stories about bad management behaviors.
In my previous articles, I've spoken about skills that a service desk manager should develop and become proficient at. In this article, I am discussing six positive things you should be doing when managing people. There are, of course, things that you should not be doing, and that will be the topic for my next article.
We live in the third decade of the twenty-first century. Our management approach should have evolved beyond the practices we read about or saw in practice in the previous decades or centuries. Unfortunately, the internet is replete with stories about bad management behaviors.
There are more than six positive things to do. I have selected these as the set the foundation for improving both people and team performance.
- Empower your personnel. Why? Because it builds trust between you and your staff by boosting their confidence as they are allowed to make decisions and learn from their mistakes. Tasks are performed fasters, and more efficiently hence effectively supporting the ITSM goals for the Service Desk as they relate to incident, request, and problem management for example. Your staff will feel more valued and engaged.
- Mentor your personnel. Why? Mentoring is highly effective for developing the knowledge and skills of the people within your team, for supporting their professional goals. Effective mentoring focuses on the relationships, commitments, and resources needed to help the less experienced person find success and fulfillment in their professional pursuits. A mentor is not a coach. A mentor assists in the career development of the individual.
- Develop talent. Why? Concentrate on someone’s potential for future greatness. Offer development opportunities that focus on the skills they will need as the leaders of tomorrow. You see, development (career plan, succession plan) not only needs to address the organization’s core competencies, but it must also support the individual’s needs for career advancement. This will benefit employee satisfaction, morale, and retention. Plan you losing your (top) talent to another part of the organization.
- Coach. Why? Coaching assists you in developing your personnel's skills and abilities, in addition to boosting their performance. People typically prefer solutions when they are active stakeholders rather than being what to correct by others. A coaching session helps discover three things.
- What went well? Focus on the positive.
- What did not go so well? Get the personnel to admit what task or activity was not performed properly.
- What can be done to improve? Come to an agreement about the next steps.
- The personnel will continue doing what goes well.
- The personnel will avoid or correct what did not go so well.
- Educate and train your staff. Why? Developing talent is about long-term requirements. Educating and training your staff is about what they need to perform their current job. Education can be summarized as the acquisition of new knowledge while training is about practicing this new knowledge and becoming proficient (skilled) at it. Attending a 2-day course on customer service in a classroom is education. Practicing, and performing the concepts learned in the classroom in real-life situations while supervised by a more senior peer is training. It is important to not only have an education plan for your personnel but a training plan as well.
There are many ways to educate your personnel. You can use lectures, webinars, reading, classrooms, shadowing, for example. People learn in different ways at different speeds while preferring a style such as being more visual, more hands-on, or more auditive. Try getting people out of their conform levels.
- Repeat the above five steps above. Why? Now, let me branch out to a sports analogy here. Have you ever noticed that even on the day of the big game, players are still practicing fundamental drills? Why would they do that? They are professional athletes. They have been doing this since they were very young. They should know what they are doing. All true. Except they have embraced continual learning and training as a philosophy. They learn about their opponent, prepare a game plan, and keep on practicing until the start of the game.
You see, you can’t rest on your laurels. The above is not a one-and-done. I know you are busy. They are busy. The phone is ringing. There are emails to answer. The tickets are coming in fast and furious. Projects introduce new technologies and software to support them. People come and go.
Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.
I used to be like that. Until someone took me aside and mentored me on the necessity of the above. The above is not a nice-to-do. It is a must-do. Here are a few tips.
- Create a plan to mentor and coach your personnel.
- Create an education plan.
- Block time in your schedule for mentoring and coaching your personnel.
- Block time in your personnel schedule to attend the mentoring and coaching sessions.
- Mentor and coach, your personnel. Do not cancel the sessions.
- Block time in your personnel schedule when they will focus on learning something (education).
- This should be part of the education plan. Ensure they do it by “testing” them afterward. (Not a real test, but ask them questions about what they learned.)
- Make sure that all projects introducing new technologies or new software include education and training for your personnel as well as support documentation.
- Ensure education and training sessions take place when scheduled. Ensure people attend when scheduled.