In Management (and in Many Other Endeavors) – Don’t Forget the Basics in this Complex World

This story is a constant reminder to us of the power of a very simple principle of human performance:  people like to be recognized for doing their best.
Encouragement increases the chance that people will actually achieve higher levels of performance.
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Pozner, Encouraging the Heart:
A Leaders Guide to Rewarding and Encouraging Others


It’s all so complicated.

It’s all so simple.

We live in a complex world.  The complexity is growing almost by the day.  Managing is tougher than it used to be.

We live in a simple world.  Managing requires learning, and mastering, the basics – over and over again.

Business Week has a click-through article, Twenty Tips for First-Time Managers. It is a good, quick reminder of many of the basics.  I have pulled a few of the tips out.  But it’s worth the time to take a look at the full list – especially if you are managing people. Here are some of those tips:

1.  Learn the Business
2. Meet with Your People Individually
6. Develop Each Person (Including Yourself)
It’s the universal question: How can I take my employees to the next level? Like anything, it requires planning, attention, and commitment. Start with recognizing each person’s strengths, goals, and areas for improvement. From there, establish individual plans, no different from your department plan. Seek out opportunities where they can learn and contribute (and move out of their comfort zones). Check in regularly on their performance. Face it, your reports won’t all stay in their jobs forever. Know where they want to go; motivate them by helping them get there.

9. Build Bridges with Other Departments
14. Treat Them Like Adults
15. Care About Them Personally
No one aspires to be a lousy manager. It’s often the accumulation of little things—careless comments or hypocritical acts—that erodes camaraderie and trust. Fortunately, little things like a private gesture or kind word also set managers apart. So how can you strengthen your relationships? Start by learning what makes them tick. Are they looking for money, recognition, influence, or meaning? Who are their family members and pets? What are their interests? Most important, accept them for who they are. You won’t mold everyone into a superstar, but steady performers bring equal value over the long haul.  (Kouzes and Posner tell us to personalize recognition).

18. Provide Ongoing Communication
19. Be Consistent

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