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How Can Managers Get the Best out of Their Employees?

29 October 2013

A question I am often asked when working with team leaders and managers is how do I get the best out of my team? Before delving into a whole heap of management theory, a useful starting point is to consider the following questions:

What is your understanding of the purpose of management?


This question can easily be (and often is) confused with “what does a manager do?” but the two questions are very different. A manager does a lot of things yet what is the point? Well, for starters, managers need to be clear about the goals of their Organisation and department, before considering what each team member needs to deliver on in order for these goals to be achieved.

Once this has been clarified, to quote John Adair, “the purpose of a manager is to achieve results through other people” and not in spite of them.

Here are some suggestions for achieving results through other people:

  1. Clarify what your Organisational and departmental goals are before handing out individual objectives. How relevant are these objectives to the bigger picture and to what extent has your employee made this link?
  2. Be clear on behavioural objectives, or standards. Best practice often focuses on SMART performance objectives yet managers often have more cause for concern around behaviour. For example, does a 09.00 start mean start work at 09.00 or does it mean turn up at 09.00, make a cup of tea, say hi to everybody, catch up with social media and then finally get around to doing some work?
  3. Be a manager, not a friend. Sometimes you have to tell somebody what they need to hear as opposed to what they would like to hear. Do you want to be liked or respected as a manager?
  4. Don’t be afraid to delegate. This is not a sign of weakness and as long as it is done properly, can be very motivating
  5. Allow high performers to move on, but on your terms. If in your heart of hearts you know that somebody has genuinely outgrown their role and are ready to move on, tackle it head on with them and create a succession plan. Don’t bury your head in the sand and delay the inevitable.
  6. Consider your management style and be prepared to be flexible. Look out for a blog on this in the near future.
  7. Your role as a manager is not to solve every problem but to get problems solved. Now read point 6 again!
  8. Recruit sensibly. Your job is not to be the best in your team at everything, but rather, to surround yourself with people who are better at their job than you could ever be.

For further information or to discuss any specific management challenges that you currently face, contact us on 07887 994300.

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