No matter who you're managing or what those people do, good people management has some common themes. Here are three of my favorites.
- Observe your employees in action. You can't coach what you don't see. If your employees build bicycles, you should spend time every day watching them build bicycles. You can reinforce and praise what they do well, and identify what they need to do differently, and help them adjust on the spot. (Just make sure you deliver the feedback about the adjustments in private, not publicly).
- Catch your staff in the act of a job well done. Give them specific positive feedback on what they did well, like "That was a great call. I really liked the question you asked about....because it showed...." or "You did a great job on that presentation today! I liked how you explained our pricing model". Find out why they did it thatway. You might learn something, too.
- Address small problems before they become big ones. As with a hole in a windshield, it gets bigger when you ignore it. So If you see an issue brewing, ask about what you are seeing. Don't assume you know what's going on; just ask what is going on. "I noticed during the meeting that you and Pedro kept avoiding eye contact and speaking over each other. What's going on?"
Maybe next time I'll make the list of the things managers should do less often. Or maybe what managers shouldn't do at all. Got any suggestions?