Management Practices to Live By (at work and at home)

Whether your management role lies primarily in your home or in a more professional environment, there are some key techniques and rules to live by that will strongly contribute to your success and the success of those around you.

I have had years of management experience ranging from a fast food company, a technology company, and the banking atmosphere. These three industries could not be more different, but the same concepts built to my team’s achievements.

Training your replacement

At work, it is most likely your goal to either excel to the next promotion to your current role or a transfer to a more favorable lateral role, and it should be! As someone who has had a hand in choosing appropriate candidates, I can confidently say that someone who actively develops at least one other person is going to stand head and shoulders above their peers. It shows that not only are you willing to invest time into other people, but your department will be in capable hands whenever you move on. I’ve also found that I learn even more about something whenever I am teaching someone else about it.

Once you begin to mentor someone, they will also begin to feel more important and, therefore, begin to produce more. This ripple effect is so essential to growth in any company.

At home, this translates into never being the only person who knows how to do something. For instance, if you’re the only one who contributes to cooking meals. The reason for this habit may be because your spouse is unfamiliar with the kitchen or maybe your spouse feels as though you don’t enjoy their cooking. This is an easy fix, because you can make it a couple’s activity by teaching them how or you can encourage them to cook their favorite. It’s as simple as, “Hey, babe, can you make that delicious pasta that you made a while back? I’m dying for it.”

I’m also a big believer in children learning and contributing to household chores as they grow older. It can start out as small as wiping the bathroom or kitchen counter, later adding learning to sweep, etc. A household is a team, and a team cannot operate without all of its players.

Coaching to behaviors instead of numbers

It is easy to understand that if you feel stressed and pressure, you will perform more poorly than if you feel focused and at ease. If employees feel as though their job is in jeopardy if they don’t reach a specified numbers goal (such as selling twenty units of something), this will cause them to either behave unethically to meet it, cause them so much stress that they fail to meet them, or they will work honestly but begin to hate their work.

Now imagine that employees feel as though their jobs are safe as long as they follow specified behaviors. These employees have had ample opportunity to practice and learn them, and their manager coaches them in a constructive manner that helps them grow. These employees will feel more confident, more focused, and in turn more productive.

When I began my first sales position, I had an excellent coach. He never told me that I had to make two sales of a particular home security system per month; he only told me that I had to ensure each customer that I assisted knew that we offered it. That began as me awkwardly inserting the description of the security system into conversation before my customers left our branch, which then developed into me confidently talking about it and assumptive selling. Finally, I was one of the top-performing sales agents for this service in the area, and it was all the result of behavior-coaching.

In the household environment, this means different things for different families. My mother always taught us that if we pick up after ourselves, we can have friends and cousins over more often. She could have said, “Either complete this list of chores, or you’re going to get a spanking,” but this did not build long-term pattern. What made sense to us as kids and teenagers was that if we shared the household burdens that we could spend time with our friends. (That’s not to say that I never received well-deserved spankings, but this was not due to my mom’s inability to lead!)

Learn everyone’s favorite drink and snack

This one may sound like an elementary schoolteacher technique, however, it is actually a very powerful and fun way to operate! Whether it is for an incentive program or “just because,” knowing your team’s individual favorite candy, ships, or soft drink is an effective way to make someone’s day and ultimately increase their happiness with their work. Maybe you bring the snack on that person’s birthday, work anniversary, or after a very productive work week. Or maybe you just grab your cubicle neighbor a Sprite whenever you grab yourself a Dr. Pepper at the gas station on the way to the office.

Nothing used to make me and my siblings more hyped than if our mom got home from the grocery store and announced that she bought us candy. As we unloaded the minivan and sorted through the bags, she was produce Hershey’s Cookies and Cream for myself, Sour Skittles for my older brother, and regular Skittles for my little sister, etc. If she had gotten us all classic M&Ms, there would have been a problem because me and my older brother hated M&Ms, whereas, our little sister and three little brothers liked them. She customized the choices, we felt special, and everyone won.

The impact of connection meetings

One of the most important pieces of advice that I’ve given to new managers that I mentored was to have connection meetings during your first two weeks in the store or office. This doesn’t mean that you need to pull each person into an hour-long meeting. In fact, I have found that limiting them to fifteen minutes causes the things that are most important to the employee to come up and be discussed. The things that I make sure to learn about them during the meeting are their short-term goals, their long-term goals, and what they are working for.

The answers for short-term have varied from wanting to buy a car to less materialistic answers, like wanting to train the newer employees. The long-term response is often either an ambitious career in a different industry or a drive to grow in the existing company. As far as what they’re working for, everyone has different things that motivate them to go to work every day and do their best. It may be fulfilling to them, or their family may inspire them, or maybe it is just a paycheck.

The meetings are meant to allow your employees to feel heard, as well as give you the tools to begin working for your employees while they work for you. Now obviously, the day you meet each member of your household, you didn’t hold a connection meeting. But recapping your day together with your family is such an effective way to make sure everyone feels included and important. Make time this.

The power of delegation

This is an essential part of training your replacement, but it can also involve more people than a mentee. One of the more common mistakes that managers make is overloading themselves with the whole workload. This causes a very stressful working environment.

But do you know what a win-win looks like? Whenever a manager recognizes the team’s strengths and weaknesses (perhaps during their connection meetings), and they assign various tasks and responsibilities to their very capable employees. Now the manager can breathe and monitor the growth of the team. At the same time, members of the team have been empowered and are growing through this practice. This relates back to the question, “What are you working for?” If they are the type to feel fulfilled by their work, this works especially well. If their family motivates them, then gaining experience and working hard toward a promotion is a great decision.

Dividing up the household chores is something that we have already talked about, so I won’t continue to preach the benefits. Just remember that children and teenagers who are brought up sharing the housework are very valuable members of society as they grow older. I’m not saying that any member of the family should shoulder the entire workload, in fact I am saying the opposite. Operate as a team, because you’re the most important team each other has.

As always, I’m very interested to hear your thoughts and feedback around the topic of management! Please share with myself and others. 🙂


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