Since time began and particularly during the industrial age, having managers organise and co-ordinate teams was seen as a way to increase productivity.
Some basic principles are the same and yet as our world changes at a rapid rate, certain management strategies need tweaks as we are all exposed to different ‘things’ in our environment that impact our values and beliefs.
How is this currently playing out? A while ago I talked about Gen Y employees and how their motivations might be different. The newest group are called Gen X; original hey! This group are even younger and for ambitious recruitment directors are likely to form the majority of your new trainees.
Both new generations expect to be managed by great managers.
Business growth will always come through your people so where do you start?
I’d suggest reviewing these time tested management principles. They are that important I have spread them over two articles.
These 6 principles are based on what is working today. At a recent conference I attended one of the speakers talked about his experience in a billion dollar organisation of ‘managing’ his team to improve performance. How are you measuring up when it comes to implementing these specific strategies?
1. Know your consultants
Your consultants are human beings not just billing machines. They have wants and needs and friends and families. The only way to manage and lead your billing team is by understanding them. Stephen Covey talks about seek first to understand as a path way to improving results. Before you say you don’t have time, you do and as a manager this is a key priority for you.
You don’t have to be mates with all your team. What I am referring to here is knowing more about them, in order to inspire, influence and motivate.
A few questions for you. Do you know?
- What is important to them
- What is their personality style
- What are their beliefs about work and life
Quite often I come across billing managers and recruitment directors who are totally driven. Nothing wrong in that, only it tends to go hand in hand with being task focused as a preference rather than people focussed.
To know you people you will need to take an interest in them. The only way to truly lead a team is to understand them. You do that by establishing an open and safe environment where you are seen as being approachable. Over 65% of employees who leave organisations cite the reason as their relationship with their line manager. Ouch. Why? Because most managers don’t bother to work on this step.
Recently I was with a consultant who had joined an organisation I was working with. The reason they moved? I am sure you can guess, lack of interest from their past manager. This was a high performer and an above average biller, month on month. They were managed by email and couldn’t remember ever being thanked. They were counter offered to stay; they didn’t, the damage had been done over the preceding three years.
This is a common scenario, though not in your company is it? All sorted here? What next then?
2. Develop develop and develop your team!
Having sat in on literally thousands of interviews over the last 18 years, one of the most common questions I have heard is;
- “What is the training like? “
- “Is there a career path?”
- “Will I be able to train for a new position?”
For driven high performers this is a question they will always ask. Hint: This is important to listen out for when you are interviewing.
This is a key module from my billing manager programme and one that the delegates are blown away by.
For those of us that are parents we all want our children to grow and learn new things don’t we?
Why? Because we know it’s going to help them. It’s no different to the work ‘family’ you are responsible for.
A reminder, as human beings we are ‘wired’ to succeed and develop. The world is expanding and us along with it. By definition if we aren’t growing or developing we are going backwards. This fact also applies to all of your team.
The truth? Every one of them is capable of much more than you or they realise.
How you then identify and unlock this potential is an important part of being a great manager.
If you had told me a few years ago that I would be able to switch businesses, start a company from scratch, which would turn over multiple six figures in a few short years; on my own, I might not have believed you! I am driven and I know that development works because I see its results on a daily basis.
Your team hopefully will also be driven, though they will need your help and support to learn new skills. Help them with this and you might just be astounded at the results.
A good friend of mine is Ali and she and I run the 750K billing blueprint. Ali freely admits that she hit 750k a year billings when she was a consultant, by being developed by her then manager and organisation.
Make it your goal to facilitate each of your consultant’s development. Create opportunities for learning. Yes they may make mistakes, that’s life. This is where you can help take them to the next step through feedback and coaching.
These two principles are foundational that is why I always start here. Next time I am going to cover the important final 4.
Want to find out more about how to manage you team to deliver more ? If the answer is yes watch my free webinar – ‘The 6 Step System to Convert Your Under Performers to High Billers in 14 days or Less’