Too often, when an employee is promoted into a management position, if they haven’t been given some coaching and mentoring around how to actively manage/haven’t got the tools to forecast, plan, measure and report against the work undertaken, they spend their days doing what they feel most comfortable with. This might be doing the work they used to do or hiding behind their desks undertaking administration, which adds little value. You might be reading this as a manager and can relate. You might be reading this as a member of the leadership team and can also relate, because you see this all too often with the managers who report to you.
Below are the five key things a manager should do each day:
1. Daily Scrum Meeting
Have a daily meeting at the beginning of each day with your team, for a maximum of 15 minutes. This should be where you review what happened the previous day, and what needs to be done for the remainder of the day/week. The purpose of a plan is to tell you when you are off it and what you need to do to get back on track.
2. Active Supervision
55-60% of your day should be spent actively supervising your teams. Active supervision means proactively walking around to each member of your team, or calling each person if they work remotely, and ensuring they have everything they need to be able to do their job and if they are facing any issues which may be preventing them from successfully completing tasks.
Active supervision also includes 1-on-1 coaching/mentoring which might be necessary if someone is struggling to perform their role, for whatever reason.
There is a distinct difference between actively managing and micro-managing. Leading by example, without intruding on the talents and work of employees, typically leads to management success. Micromanagers are in essence, hands-on managers who overstep the bounds of management and get overly involved in the work of their teams. A micromanager tends to assign tasks to employees and then hover over them while they complete the work. Rather than following up after the employee finishes the task, he closely oversees the work and offers constant feedback and critique. Some micromanagers struggle to delegate work, and they closely watch for mistakes or errors, causing people to lose confidence in their abilities.
3. Passive Supervision
It is imperative to create an environment where team members feel they can approach you with issues they are facing, so it is vital to be very approachable as a person. In addition, it is essential to educate people about what issues look like so they can come to you when they experience them. This might sound ridiculous, but many people don’t recognise they face issues, because they just see them as part of the job and it has ‘always just been this way’. Around 10% of your day should be spent passively managing.
Around 15% of your day will be spent carrying out various administrative tasks which cannot be delegated. To make the most of your time, you should filter emails and have specific folders to help organise/prioritise them, clearing ones which don’t require your input/viewing, because all too often, people can get bogged down with trawling through non-value adding emails.
5. Prepare for the Following day
Prepare the night before – reflect on what happened during the day, the successes and issues which arose impacting the utilisation and efficiency of employees and what the root cause was. Plan how you will remove those issues for good, if possible, and create a general to-do list for yourself for the next day.
The Remainder of Your day
The remaining 15-20% of the day will most likely be spent having to attend meetings/join conference calls/training part of or the whole team.
In some instances, it may be a requirement of the role to be a player/manager. Therefore, undertaking the same tasks as other members of the team cannot be avoided. In this scenario, up to 50% of the day may be spent undertaking manual work; however, this makes it even more imperative to plan the day accordingly, having the daily huddle and spending most of the remaining time actively managing.
Finally, it is vital to celebrate and relish success. Take the time to create an environment where employees can be successful and less stressed.