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The Manager's Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills

Book Description

No matter how you arrived at your supervisory position, you need a specific set of skills to work successfully with your employees. Feeling positive about yourself, making effective decisions, and solving problems are still a part of your daily life, but added to this are the challenging leadership skills of communicating, delegating, coaching, motivating, hiring, and leading. Your achievement is measured by your staff's performance. Knowing how to work with your staff increases your department's effectiveness: your employees can become your best support as you become one of today's successful leaders. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Leadership Skills concisely describes the skills you need to become a strong and competent supervisor or manager. This book contains information and illustrations as well as "Tips for Success" and "Action Plans." It is written for those who want to not only survive, but thrive in their leadership role!

Table of Contents

  1. Title
  2. Copyright
  3. Table of contents
  4. Dedication
  5. Preface
  6. Introduction
  7. 1 Understanding the Changing Role of Supervision
    1. Environmental and Economic ChangesOne of the best ways to determine how the role of the supervisor has changed is to study how organizations are being impacted by changes in the environment and the economy.
    2. Workforce Composition ChangesIn addition to environmental and economic changes, our workforce has also dramatically changed. Several major trends have contributed to this new workforce.
    3. Changing Workforce ValuesOne of the most striking ways to study how the role of the supervisor has changed over the last 50 years is to look at the values of the workers they supervise. A list of typical work values in the 1940s and 1950s is illustrated below, as well as some of the critical values of today’s workforce. What a contrast!
  8. 2 Building Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
    1. Self-Esteem AssessmentOn a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest confidence score, 5 being an average confidence score, and 1 being the lowest or no confidence score), rate how you feel about yourself in each of the 16 areas. Use any number between 1 and 10 to accurately describe your feelings. For example, if you feel just slightly above average on your communication skills as a supervisor, you might rate them as a 6, but if you feel more confident, rate them as an 8.
    2. What Is Self-Esteem?Self esteem is quite simply how you feel about yourself. How we feel about ourselves critically influences virtually every aspect of our lives. Our self-esteem influences everything from the way we function at work, to our personal relationships, to our role as parents, to what we accomplish in life. Every response we make in life and every goal we set, is shaped by whom and what we think we are. Thus, self-esteem is the major key to our success, our failure, and the level of our accomplishment as a supervisor or leader.
    3. What Are the Benefits of High Self-Esteem?With poor self-esteem, life can be difficult at its best. Fortunately, we can improve our self-esteem. If you are willing to take the time to work at developing your self-esteem, there are many benefits.
    4. Fifteen Steps to Higher Self-EsteemIn the preceding pages, we learned about self-esteem—what it is and the benefits of obtaining high self-esteem. Now let’s look at what we can do to raise our self-esteem. There are hundreds of little things you can do on a daily basis that will enhance your self-esteem.
    5. Tips for Success:Confidence and Self-Esteem1.  Recognize that your self-esteem and self-image impact every aspect of your role as a supervisor.
  9. 3 Leading Organizational Change
    1. Reasons People Resist ChangeThe following ten reasons best describe some typical reasons why some employees have a tough time changing their mindsets and behavior:
    2. Typical Employee Responses Regarding ChangeDuring times of organization change, you will notice employees reacting to change with a variety of responses. As a leader tasked with implementing organization change, it is important for a supervisor to be able to understand typical employee reactions. The following reactions are some typical responses to organizational change:
    3. Guidelines for Organizational Change1.  Involve employees in the change process. We are firm believers that employees are not so much against change as they are against being changed. The sooner you involve employees in the process, the better off you will be implementing the change. A formal communication channel will be more effective at implementing change than a negative informal one consisting of rumors and gossip. Involving employees helps employees move from a “Not me!” response to a greater understanding of why the change is needed.
    4. Tips for Success: Organizational Change1.  Be a role model for leading the new change. Gain a reputation for leading your team forward, not defending the past.
  10. 4 Managing Time to Accomplish Your Goals
    1. The 168 Hour LimitThere are two facts we know about time. First, there are exactly 24 hours or 1,440 minutes in every day. That amounts to 168 hours in a week and 8,760 hours in a year. Second, we all have the same amount of time. So the question is not one of where do you find more time. You cannot do it. The real question we need to be asking is how do we manage the things that we do in the 168 hours that are available in the week.
    2. Conducting a Time Management AuditIf you are going to be successful managing your time, then it is critical that you know how you spend your time. If we are focusing on accomplishment, then it is important you realize when you are productive and when you are not. The best way to conduct a time audit is to record your time, activity by activity, as you progress throughout the day. To conduct a time audit, follow the seven steps listed below:
    3. Daily Time LogNote: Do not try to account for each minute of the day. Account for 15-minute blocks of time.
    4. Successful Time Management and Task AccomplishmentYou will find the following four steps helpful in managing your time.
    5. Tips for Success:Time Management1.  Organize your work environment. Does the environment you work in work for you or against you? The more your environment is organized, the more productive you will be.
  11. 5 Communicating Effectively
    1. What We Know about CommunicationThere are certain aspects of communication that impact our day-to-day lives.
    2. Making Communication WorkAll critical management skills require effective communication. Whether you are leading, coaching, delegating, building a team, making decisions, counseling, hiring, or just about any management activity you can think of, you will need to communicate. The following valuable communication tips related to speaking and listening will help you improve your ability to communicate effectively.
    3. Speak ClearlyAs a manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to get the right message to the right person, to get the results you expect. Because the communication process is so complex, getting your message across is not an easy task. Barriers or roadblocks can get in the way: lack of understanding (on your part or theirs), interruptions, noise, emotional state (yours or theirs), bias, prejudice, boredom, resentment, language problems, culture, physical environment, lack of trust, poor listening habits, mixed messages, and unclear priorities.
    4. Listening for UnderstandingCommunication is a two-way street. In addition to speaking clearly, the effective communicator is a good listener. Listening involves not only hearing the speaker’s words, but also understanding the message and its importance to the speaker.
    5. Fostering an Open Communication ClimateSpeaking clearly and listening for understanding are the first steps to being a more effective communicator. In addition, good managers, supervisors, and leaders take specific actions to create a climate that is conducive to open and honest communication. In this open communication climate, people feel free to give their input and ideas. Information is shared freely and conflicts are openly discussed and worked through. People are more willing to express innovative ideas and to take risks.
    6. Tips for Success:Communication1.  Think through what you want to say before you say it. Remember, you cannot not communicate.
  12. 6 Delegating to Succeed through Others
    1. How Are You at Delegating?How well do you delegate? As a supervisor, answer each question according to your current work structure by circling either a Yes or No response.
    2. Common Mistakes in Delegation andHow to Avoid ThemWhen managers do decide to delegate, there are often mistakes made that can negatively impact the employee’s ability to do the job. After reviewing the following common mistakes, determine how you can avoid making these errors.
    3. Deciding What to DelegateThere are four basic steps in deciding what tasks you presently do that could be delegated:
    4. Preparing for DelegationFirst, list ten of the activities you do on your job.
    5. Planning Your DelegationList the tasks you could delegate, to whom, by when, and the average number of minutes each day you will save if you delegate the task. In determining who to delegate the task to, consider employee development and learning. Are you selecting the appropriate person for the task?
    6. Planning to DelegateResponsibility to the EmployeeNow that you have determined what tasks to delegate to whom, take a few moments to plan for the delegation. To do this, you need to answer the following questions:
    7. Presenting the DelegationAfter you have planned for the delegation, you should be clear on your expectations for getting the job done. These expectations must now be made clear to your employee. Keep in mind that your employee is likely to have some good ideas to offer, so plan on soliciting ideas from him or her as well. Below is a process for ensuring delegation success. Be sure to follow each of the seven steps.
    8. Tips for Success:Delegation1.  To be successful as a supervisor or manager, you have to delegate.
  13. 7 Coaching to Improve Performance
    1. Preparing for the Coaching DiscussionCoaching is, in many ways, a negotiation. And, just like a negotiation session, the better you prepare, the better your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. Consider the following questions before you begin a coaching discussion. Your answers will provide a framework for conducting a win/win interaction.
    2. Suggestions for Dealing withPerformance ProblemsIf you manage people, no matter how well you do the job, from time to time you will be challenged with performance issues. The following tips will help you deal confidently with the challenges.
    3. Coaching Intervention ModelsIn working with employees experiencing performance problems, we have found two intervention models to be effective. Both models are discussed below.
    4. Coaching Discussion ModelThe purpose of the coaching discussion is to redirect the employee’s behavior. You want the employee to stop inappropriate behavior and start demonstrating appropriate behavior. It is a two-way process, a discussion. The intended purpose is for the employee to be engaged in a discussion as well. In fact, the employee should be talking more than the supervisor or the manager. Using the following six steps of the Coaching Discussion Model will make your coaching discussions effective.
    5. Corrective Action Feedback ModelUnlike the Coaching Discussion Model, the Correction Action Feedback Model is not a two-way discussion. While we prefer the discussion model because it is a two-way process involving the employee in both problem identification and solutions to resolve the issue, we find that most supervisors feel more comfortable with the corrective action model. This is a “telling,” not an “asking” coaching model. In fact, in this model you actually ask employees to hold their comments and questions until you have finished presenting your information.
    6. Tips for Success:Coaching1.  Focus on behaviors, not on the employee’s attitude.
  14. 8 Conducting Valuable Performance Reviews
    1. Understanding thePerformance Review CycleStep One: Clarify Your Expectations
    2. Performance StandardsAdministrative Assistant
    3. DocumentationIt is important to review the employee’s job elements and performance standards periodically and make notes throughout the year regarding the employee’s level of performance. This can be as simple as occasionally jotting down a few quick lines noting evidence of either exceptional or unacceptable employee performance. Date the note and drop it into the employee’s file.
    4. Self-AppraisalSome organizations encourage employees to be active participants in the appraisal process by evaluating and rating their own performance prior to the assessment interview with their supervisor. In such organizations, employees are reminded throughout the year to review their standards of performance and document areas where they feel they have exceeded the standard.
    5. Tips for Conducting the Interview1.  Create a positive climate. To help the employee relax, it is a good idea to begin the interview with a few minutes of light, easy conversation. Perhaps start with a comment about a recent event at work, a sporting event, or something in the news. Beginning this way helps build rapport with the employee and may help the employee overcome his or her initial nervousness.
    6. Tips for Creating thePerformance Improvement Plan1.  Make the plan simple, practical, and easy to understand. Target one, or possibly two areas, in which the employee needs to improve performance. Provide examples of how the work will improve. For example, “The employee will correctly file all correspondence, using standardized office procedures, within three working days of receipt of the correspondence.” When the employee is unsure about where to file the correspondence, he or she will ask a supervisor for specific directions regarding filing the document.
    7. Tips for Success:Performance Reviews1.  Gather examples of performance, both positive and negative, throughout the year, not just the two weeks before the performance appraisal is due.
  15. 9 Building a High-Performing Team
    1. Teamwork DefinedA team is a small group of people (ideally consisting of between five to seven members) with complementary skills who are committed to working with each other toward a common purpose. It is important to recognize that just because you are a supervisor with a specific group of people assigned to complete a specific organizational task, that does not necessarily mean you are leading a team. A team is not just any group working together. Groups do not become teams just because someone labels them a team. If any significant piece of the preceding definition is lacking, then what you have is a group of people who work together.
    2. What Makes a Great Team?In both our consulting practice and research, we have uncovered five characteristics that are common among all great teams.
    3. Stages of Team DevelopmentStage One: Formation
    4. Assessing Your Skills as a Team LeaderThe following checklist provides you with a quick assessment of your current ability as a team leader. The 15 items outline some key abilities required for leading a team.
    5. Checklist for Team Leadership SkillsRead each statement and then place a check on the line after the appropriate number to indicate your current ability. Ratings run from 1 (low) to 10 (high). Respond as you think a consensus of your team members would score your abilities.
    6. Leading Your Team Out of a CrisisFrom time to time, every supervisor or manager will find they are in charge of a team in crisis. Crises come in many shapes and sizes. A few we have seen supervisors struggle with include: team members who do not get along, company financial problems, morale or motivation at an all time low, quality problems, customer service problems, departments at war with each other, and top management not supportive of a team or department.
    7. Tips for Success:Team Performance1.  Great teams have a clear mission, vision, and great goals. Make sure your team has a common, challenging goal that makes team members stretch to reach it.
  16. 10 Selecting and Hiring Winners
    1. Interviewing Skills Self-AssessmentThere is no grading scale for this assessment. If you circle a high number of “Yes” responses, you need to practice and learn effective interviewing skills.
    2. Conducting the InterviewWhen conducting the interview, an organized approach must be followed if you want to get all the information you need in the allotted time. The following organizational format will ensure that you get to the most critical questions.
    3. The Art of QuestioningThe primary goal of the interview is to get the best information possible so the interviewer can make a good selection. The best tool for getting good information is to ask good questions. There are two different types of questions: close-ended questions and open-ended questions.
    4. Avoid Common ErrorsIn preparing for the interview, it is helpful to be aware of some of the most common errors that interviewers frequently make.
    5. Making the Hiring DecisionNow that you have taken the time to plan and conduct a thorough interviewing process, you are ready to make the selection decision. Because you have carefully analyzed the job, you will be able to screen out unqualified applicants quickly and select from the most qualified candidates.
    6. Tips for Success:Selection Process1.  Take time to understand your organization’s hiring process.
  17. 11 Facilitating Productive Meetings
    1. To Meet or Not to Meet?The first step in planning a successful meeting is to make an important decision. The decision is whether or not to even hold a meeting. Many meetings should not occur at all. Meetings that are called because a manager is unable or unwilling to make a decision are examples of meetings that should not take place. Another inappropriate reason is to call a meeting simply for the sake of meeting. In today’s world of information overload, to meet without a specific purpose is inexcusable.
    2. Planning a Productive MeetingStep One: Creating the Agenda
    3. The Role of the LeaderAs a leader of a group, you are responsible for creating an environment in which people can and do contribute to discussions that lead to recommendations. You are in charge of creating and maintaining conditions in which people feel free to contribute, arguments are minimized, and focus remains on the objective.
    4. Rational Decision-Making ProcessYour role as a leader of a decision-making or problem-solving meeting will require that you have an understanding of the Rational Decision-Making Process. This process provides a structured order and keeps participants’ attention focused on the problem.
    5. Brainstorming EffectivelyThe following tips will help you use brainstorming to generate possible solutions to problems effectively.
    6. Ideas for Generating orStimulating DiscussionWhen a group is trying to reach consensus on a solution, it is important that all the participants engage in discussion. Participants must feel comfortable and confident that their contributions will be heard. Facilitating a meeting in which participants have the confidence to contribute is challenging. Understanding the following techniques will help you lead the group in an atmosphere of free exchange and will maximize participant discussion.
    7. Meeting Planning ChecklistWhen preparing for a meeting, review the specific tasks and then check each one off as it is completed.
    8. Tips for Success:Meeting Facilitation1.  Before you plan to call a meeting, ask yourself this important question, “Do we need to meet, or is there a more efficient way to accomplish our goal?”
  18. 12 Managing Conflict
    1. Common Misconceptions about ConflictMany relatively successful supervisors and managers have a fear of conflict. Much of their fear stems from misconceptions about the subject of conflict. One way of diffusing that fear is to explore and shatter some misconceptions that are commonly associated with the subject of conflict. Learning more about dealing with conflict will help reduce your fear of conflict and enhance your business, family, and social contacts.
    2. Stages of ConflictWe find it helpful to view conflict in three different stages. By viewing conflict in stages, you will find it easier to determine the severity of the conflict and its impact on the organization. Once the level of conflict is determined, it becomes easier to determine a plan of action and work towards a realistic solution.
    3. Stage One ConflictConflict at Stage One is real, but often not intense. Typically, people working together will have different goals, values, and unique individual needs. In Stage One conflicts, people feel discomfort and possibly annoyance, but do not get very emotional about the conflict.
    4. Stage Two ConflictConflict at the Stage Two level becomes characterized by a win/lose attitude. The wins and losses seem greater because the people involved are emotionally tied to the problem. At this level of conflict, people keep track of their verbal victories, witnesses take sides, and sides begin to keep track of their wins and losses.
    5. Stage Three ConflictWhen conflict escalates to Stage Three, both being right and wanting to punish wrong become increasingly important. Sides are drawn and people rally around their cause. The conflict becomes all-consuming and parties involved make it the focus, expending a large amount of their effort and energy in their commitment to their cause.
    6. Handling Conflict PositivelyOne of the challenges of dealing with conflict is to help people maintain healthy relationships during and after periods of conflict. Simply resolving the problem is not enough. The people involved must be satisfied with the outcome and attention must be given to their emotional well-being. If these two areas are not addressed, chances are other problems will surface within time. The following tips will help you maintain healthy relationships during periods of conflict.
    7. Tips for Success:Conflict Resolution1.  If you work with people, there is potential for conflict. This is no reflection on your ability as a supervisor or manager. What will distinguish you is your ability to deal confidently with workplace conflict.
  19. 13 Creating a Motivating Environment
    1. What Is Motivation?Motivation can best be described as the internal drive to fulfill a need. Each of us has specific needs. These needs translate into drives which we act upon through specific behaviors. Drives are action-oriented and provide an energizing thrust toward goal accomplishment.
    2. Creating a Motivational EnvironmentThe best supervisors have the most productive people who are also happy. The real challenge for supervisors is to design incentive systems that encourage high performance and also engender high employee morale. The following steps related to positive reinforcement will help raise levels of employee motivation.
    3. Meaningful RecognitionFeeling appreciated and recognized are two of the most powerful motivators available to the supervisor. The question then becomes, “What is meaningful recognition?” Recognition is meaningful when tailored to the individual being praised. Instead of the usual “grip and grin” so many managers employ to thank someone for the job they have done, the manager should tap into the uniqueness the individual brings to the job.
    4. Recognition SuggestionsThe following recognition suggestions were generated by seminar participants. It is well-documented that two of the strongest motivators available to supervisors are recognition and praise. If you are able to customize these ideas or suggestions, they will help you build a more motivated workforce and it will cost nothing more than your thoughtfulness and time.
    5. Ensuring High MotivationThere are several helpful suggestions to ensure that motivation is high in your department. You can develop an environment that makes internal motivation a reality in your employees’ lives.
    6. Tips for Success:Motivation1.  Remember, motivation is something internally generated. It is impossible to motivate someone else. But, you can create an environment where people find it easy to become motivated.
  20. 14 Setting Goals and Planning Actions
    1. The Goal-Setting ProcessStep One: Create a Vision
    2. Goal Setting Action Plan1.  Is my vision crystallized? ____ Yes ____ No (Can I clearly see myself achieving this goal?)
    3. Setting Goals with EmployeesIf you are setting goals that involve your employees, here are some suggestions that will help you create successful goals that employees will feel motivated to achieve.
    4. Tips for Success:Goals and Actions1.  Set goals. Most people do not set goals. Those that do are far more likely to accomplish what they want in life.
  21. 15 Earning Followers in Your Leadership Role
    1. Leader or Supervisor?Over the last 20 years, there have been countless attempts to define and differentiate leadership and management. Some have made statements such as “managers manage things, whereas leaders lead people” or “management is about efficiency, but leadership is about effectiveness.” Other differentiations have stated that leaders possess “charismatic” or “heroic” qualities that allow them to influence people to positive change. In contrast, managers maintain the status quo.
    2. Types of PowerThere are four distinctly different types of power a leader or manager may possess. Each type of power has different qualities and carries different weights in our efforts to lead people.
    3. Type One: Power of PositionThis is formal authority which gives you the sacred right to tell someone else to do something. There are times when we do not agree with our boss and we may even state our disagreement to him or her. But, then we go ahead and bow to our boss’s demands. We may have responded to the power of the position. Most people respond to this power base because they practice a simple management concept called, “I want to keep my job!”
    4. Type Two: Power of CompetenceTo be successful as a leader or manager, you need the competence to do the job. Competencies are gained through industry and organizational knowledge, relationships in the firm and industry, reputation and track record, and even formal schooling. The more competent others perceive us, the more likely they will be to follow us.
    5. Managerial-Oriented ActivitiesManagement, by definition, is getting things done through others. The science of management developed during the 20th century because organizations grew incredibly large. Without order and consistency, outputs such as quality, productivity, and profitability are adversely affected. To control these outputs, “managerial” functions such as planning, budgeting, organizing staffing, controlling, and problem solving are critical. As much has been written about the technical aspects of managerial activities, we will move on to discuss leadership-oriented activities.
    6. Leadership-Oriented ActivitiesWhile management focuses on coping with complexity, leadership is about creating positive change. Part of the reason leadership has become such a needed quality in the last 20 years is because of the rapid changes and innovation we discussed in the first chapter. The net result of these changes is that doing what was done yesterday—or even doing it 15% better—is no longer a prescription for success. Major changes are necessary to survive and compete effectively in today’s environment.
    7. Developing a VisionLeading an organization, whether it is a company or a small work unit, to positive change begins with developing a vision. A vision is a clear mental picture of a desired future outcome. If you have ever put together a large 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, the chances are you used the picture on the top of the puzzle box to guide the placement of the pieces. That picture on the top of the box is the end result or the vision of what you are trying to turn into a reality. It is much more difficult—if not impossible—to put the jigsaw puzzle together without ever looking at the picture. An organization without a vision is like a person trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle without ever seeing the picture on the box.
    8. Aligning PeopleIn management, we staff the organization to fulfill certain functions. Leadership involves connecting and aligning people to the true purpose of the organization. This means communicating the vision and helping the employees see how they fit into the vision. The employee is a piece of the puzzle and he or she helps to create the overall picture. He or she needs to know how critical each piece is to the overall success of the organization.
    9. Motivating PeopleGood leaders create a motivating environment. They articulate the vision and help align employees to the role they play in fulfilling the vision. They also give employees the power to be involved and make decisions that affect their work. Leaders solicit and value the feedback of their employees. And, leaders help employees realize the vision by providing coaching, feedback, and role modeling. These activities help employees grow professionally and personally, which enhances their confidence and self-esteem.
    10. Empowering PeopleBy definition, empowerment means to give another person the authority and power to act. This means that the employees who work for you actually have the ability to get things done themselves. The opposite of empowerment is “micro-management.” When we “micro-manage,” we oversee every action and decision our employee makes.
    11. Clarifying ValuesThe values that you carry with you are the basis for governing your decisions and behaviors. Values influence the relationships you enter into, the careers you develop, the family you raise, and millions of other decisions you are faced with each day. In many ways, values are like a moral compass that guides you through life. As a leader, it is important to clarify what values your organization or department is going to represent. What will you be known and remembered for?
    12. Building TrustIt sounds so simple: all you have to do is build trust with your employees. But, we know that this is no easy task. The following five points are some suggestions on how you can develop trust.
    13. MentoringMentoring is just a fancy word for a coach. The power of mentoring is two-fold. It not only builds up the esteem of the person being mentored, it also builds the esteem of the mentor. The reason this concept works so well is that most of us have a deep-seated need to help someone else. By helping someone else grow, we feel good in the process. And, to share something we know costs us very little except our time.
    14. Willingness to LearnIf leadership is about creating positive change in the organization, then being a leader is about continuous learning. As fast as things are changing, it is almost impossible to maintain any type of expertise. As long as we have a willingness and desire to learn, we have the ability to adapt to new environments.
    15. Becoming a Better LeaderThere are many practical reasons for becoming a better leader. After reading the following paragraphs, you will be able to cite additional ideas that are even more relevant to your work structure.
    16. Tips for Success:Leadership1.  Recognize that leadership is not a formal position, it is a relationship. If you want to be a leader, you need to earn followers.
  22. Bibliography
  23. Index
  24. About the Authors