Managing a workforce can be testing. It takes a certain strength of character to run your own business whilst also managing multiple employees and subcontractors.
Excellent leadership skills come from years of experience, but what happens if you find yourself at the deep end sooner? These 5 easy steps are straightforward, but applying them might include some changes in your managerial style. However, if you stick with them, they will help you manage your workforce more efficiently; making your employees happier and more productive.
1. Get to know your team
Before you can manage your employees and subcontractors, you should understand them. Get alongside them and see where they are coming from. Different people are motivated for different reasons. What are their reasons for working for you? What is the best way of communicating to them?
Do you know why your staff are working for you? Is it because what they do gives them a sense of purpose or is it more about enjoying spending time with their colleagues? Whatever it may be, understanding their individual aspirations will help you allocate work to them that is best suited for their training and career ambitions. In turn, this will lead to improved performance, credibility and self-confidence.
Giving feedback is crucial to make sure your team are working efficiently. How you deliver feedback is a central part of managing a successful workforce. Some people crumble after a telling off whereas others might take it on the chin and perform better with their next task. Understand that you will have to be sensitive to these different approaches to various people. Above all, always be respectful and make sure you are constructive with what you say.
2. What you expect is what you get
As a manager you get to set the expectation. Think about what you want “the norm” to be in your organization. If you expect your colleagues to be lazy, then they will most likely be just that. However, if you position yourself and your workforce to always be outstanding at what you do as the norm, then people will be more driven to adhere to that reputation. Allocate tasks to people in line with their strengths and interests. Success in these areas will provide a confidence boost and more challenging tasks will seem more approachable and accessible.
3. Communicate with a glass half full
Is your glass half full or half empty. And more importantly is your glass clear? Communicating positively is essential, but you also need to have absolute clarity with what you are saying. Do you set your employees clear objectives every day or week? Always make sure your employees know what their responsibilities are and what exactly they are being held accountable for. Do your employees know what good results look like? Sometimes this is a stated number and other times it might mean receiving an industry reward.
Give performance reviews to consistently manage expectations. As stated before - be constructive and deliver criticism sensitively, but never forget to let your staff know what they are doing right. Celebrating their strengths will boost productivity, morale and commitment to the business.
4. Who’s responsible?
When managing a workforce it is important to collaboratively set realistic goals. Encourage employees to set their own goals and then hold them accountable for achieving them. By using this strategy, your workforce first learns to be responsible for themselves and second for the organization. Meeting their own targets means they will be inspired to accomplish more whilst creating a sense of pride about what they’re doing. Successfully managing a workforce means building up a good work ethic. Encourage the development of skills and making sure there is training available.
5. Encourage! Encourage! Encourage!
There will be many days where you workforce will feel demoralized and discouraged. They might have a terrible experience with a client that makes them want to quit. They may fail an assessment or receive bad feedback on a performance review. A successful manager will also be the cheerleader - they will be able to give that pep talk and teach them how to learn from mistakes. Encouraging your workforce means expanding them to increase their capabilities. In turn you will develop a sense of accomplishment and you will really see how your business blossoms.
For more useful insights on managing your workforce visit the Okappy blog.
Author: I believe business can be a force for good, but all too often work ends up being painful as companies are overloaded with admin, paperwork and masses of emails. My mission is to improve the working lives of construction companies, giving them complete control of every job every step of the way and have some fun!