"J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at jtanddale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I am a manager who regularly reads your column for insight into what employees and potential new hires are thinking. I have worked hard to build the trust of my team, but now I’ve been instructed to lay off four of them. Our HR department has given me some guidelines for doing the deed that are cold and impersonal. I’d love some advice from you guys on how I can go a bit further and minimize the negative impact on the self-esteem of my departing employees. — Carly Dale: The guidance managers get about layoffs typically is colored by the horror stories HR people tell each other, from employees collapsing to ones turning violent. Add in the fear of wrongful termination suits, and you have a spiral of worry that ends with departing employees being seen as potential enemies. That’s why we were so pleased to get your question — it’s often up to individual managers to add back the compassion and humanity that the official corporate guidance forgets. J.T.: Speaking of forgotten compassion, we recently received results of a survey of laid-off employees, published by Telonu.com. (It’s pronounced “tell on you,” and the site offers employees a chance to comment on their employers/workplaces.) Of employees who had been laid off, 88 percent rated “how layoff was handled” as Poor or Very Poor. Dale: So, thinking of you, Carly, we wondered about those few in the other 12 percent — what went right? The CEO of Telonu, Bari Abdul, took an interest in our questions and sorted through the data for us. As you might expect, an important factor was a generous severance package. However, among those few who felt that the layoff had been done right, Bari concluded this: “The companies are giving people time to find other opportunities inside the company. What this does is reduce the suddenness of the decision and convinces the employees it is not that someone wants to get rid of them, but that their ‘position’ has been cut.” J.T.: Here is one of the verbatim comments from one such employee: “Looks like the company is going to give the people on the layoff list a chance to look for other jobs internally — feeling a little relieved — I had a great performance review and was just stuck in a bad area.” You can see how that relates to employees’ self-esteem. Dale: But what if you can’t offer the employees the hope of staying on? There’s a solution to be found in another comment from a newly laid-off employee: “I am scared to death but my boss handled the situation well. She let me know a day before the ax fell, so I was prepared and did not freak out. She also offered to help me personally and gave me a positive recommendation note, and said she was willing to put a reference for me on LinkedIn.” There you see the manager respecting the employee while offering both hope and help. And isn’t that what we all want in this economy — a bit of respect, along with a little hope and help? Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
January 21, 2022
Some managers can motivate you from the moment they step into a room, while others simply cannot get employees to work for them at their full potential. The real problem stands in the fact that the effective manager does need to have some traits. Failure to have them will lead to failure for the entire company.
The successful business manager needs skills and talent.
Managerial skills can easily be developed as time passes through experience, mentoring, and training. However, when referring to natural talent, this is definitely something that cannot be obtained.
Productive companies will always invest a lot of money in developing and identifying truly effective managers. If this is the type of job that you are after, you should know that the following traits are necessary.
You Must Have Great Leadership Skills
This is one crucial attribute that so many managers actually lack these days.
Most companies will promote those employees that have great individual results. The problem is that a really good salesperson will rarely be a really good manager. The true leader will always be able to inspire trust, delegate responsibility, and provide direction. A manager won't be a "leader" if they cannot perfectly perform these three tasks.
While leadership skills can be gained in time, the innately talented manager will actually be able to gain all that he or she needs to be a true leader in a short period of time. This is something that is a lot more important than what many believe at the moment. Every single successful business manager out there is a leader who takes the team he or she manages and makes it work better, faster, and more effectively.
You Need To Have A Clear Communication Strategy
It is very important for the manager to have really strong communication skills. It is not enough to show that you appreciate your employees. You need to properly highlight what you want from them so that everything can go smoothly.
The effective manager has to be able to properly decipher, understand, and then relate the vision of the organization to the employees so that productivity is maintained. If communication is ineffective, employees will not understand what the manager tells them. This can lead to so many different problems in the future, and such a chain reaction can have a devastating effect on the profit of any company.
If you need help figuring out your communication style at work, take this FREE quiz. It helps you determine your communication style, and how you can use it to your advantage in the workplace.
You Must Have The Ability To Adapt
This is something that makes him/her really effective at the job. If the manager can adapt to the circumstances that are unexpected, the entire team will achieve more success in the future. This also means that a successful manager has the necessary creative thinking skills to find a new solution to any problem that may appear.
You Need To Focus On Developing Your Team
You cannot have employees that remain still when referring to the skills that they have. Any financial blog on the internet will tell you that an effective manager will make sure that employees improve and that they become better at the job that is done.
Developing other people basically involves cultivating talents and then motivating them to channel gained talents towards increasing productivity.
You Have To Build Relationships
It's a shame to see that there are still managers who do not understand the importance of networking. A manager needs to establish good relationships with potential clients and employees. Those employees who feel they are valued will always be more effective and will put in the extra effort that can bring in better results at the end of the day.
When building a relationship with an employee, it is really important that the manager showcases empathy and trust in the ability of the team. This is something that helps everyone enjoy working under the guidance of the specific team leader. Make sure that you know as much as possible about the employees—their strong points, and their weak points.
You Need To Constantly Develop Your Skills
The effective manager is the one who knows the problems that he or she has and constantly works on solving them. Career development is a huge part of career success in this job and in any other job. You need to develop in order to be able to lead employees.
If you remain at the same level, the entire team remains at the same level. That manager that continues to grow will eventually learn how to use the above-mentioned natural talents in order to make the team work flawlessly and even encourage the employees to do the same thing.
The manager who never develops is basically bound to eventually lag behind as he or she cannot adapt to the market. This and adaptability go hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other.
Try to improve as much as possible with every single project that you do and always be truthful to yourself about the flaws that you have. Work on them as soon as possible and your team members will see that you put in the effort to change.
It is so much harder to be an effective manager than we think. There is this belief that you can simply learn how to be a great leader in college. This is definitely not the case. Many of the really successful managers from around the world did not have formal training. You need to be sure that you constantly grow. That is, most likely, the most important trait to have if you want to be a great leader.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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