As I am getting ready to retire from a 25 1/2 year transit career, I want to take this time to reflect on the types of Managers I have worked for and their style of management. Now!, before you think I am going to just say negative things about these individuals, that is so far from the truth, Just hear me out, and if you are so inclined to indulge me in conversation in the comments about your experiences with Managers or Supervisors,does not matter if it’s positive or negative,but be professional, as any upper-level management position does not come without its set of problems and challenges. The objective is not to bash but to shed light on ways that managers can do a better job of managing the people who report to them.
If you are just coming into a Management position, your first staff meeting should be to discuss the expectations you want the team to rise to. By doing this helps to build morale, because as with any change a company goes through it seems that morale is affected dramatically, and it’s not always positive, most of the time it is negative as employees are uncertain of how the change is going to impact their job, and the ability to perform it. When clear and concise expectations are set from the beginning your team will know what they need to do to rise to meet them.
Setting expectations from the beginning will allow your reports a chance to correct any behaviors that may not be acceptable under your leadership that they may have been allowed to do under the previous one. It’s important to let your direct reports correct their behaviors on their own before making them “the example” before beginning disciplinary action. Set an expected goal that measures their progress within a reasonable amount of time, to see if the goal has been met, then proceed with discipline as necessary until the goal is met.
Before setting your expectations, check to see what is working and what is not. Observe what is happening within the dynamics of your group, are there rules in place that your reports may have been working under before you came to see if they make sense, as this will give you a starting point to make the necessary changes that are needed to make good decisions about the goals you want for your group. Decide what needs to stay and what needs to go, and if they should continue as they are, or if they should be changed. It is important to provide clarification regarding the rules and behaviors that you want to change.
Managers, your team is looking to you for direction, when you meet with your them, provide clear, and concise direction as to what your goals are, and make them S.M.A.R.T. Remember these? yeah, you remember, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Review these goals at every meeting involving your team, give the team a chance to let you know how they are progressing toward meeting the goals you have set. I think you will find they will respond well if they feel that their efforts matter.
Training, is there any? I would like to take some time to tell of a recent training experience I had during my recent employment. I am going to try to keep this as positive as possible because when I stop and think about what was missing, I find it ridiculous that any employee should be subject to the kind of training I received, which for this position was seriously lacking. With that being said, I accepted a position as a Supervisor with a company in another State. I knew there would be challenges because I did not know the area, I had never been there before, but I never dreamed in a million years that I would struggle as much as I did, especially when I don’t feel it was necessary. With a proper Supervisor Training program in place, It would have been a bit smoother transition, but anyway I was determined to make this work, no matter what I need to do to become successful.
I started on the road with other seasoned supervisors, to learn the area to which we would be called to respond to keep the system running as smoothly as possible, with limited disruptions in service, It was important to be familiar with the area, and I was trying to absorb it as quickly as possible. I drove and drove, and drove around this town until I could respond as quickly as possible, I would time myself to see how fast I could get across town within a reasonably without getting lost and made a game out of it. I have to say the response time got better every time I played the game. I would drive the routes from start to finish, I would drive them backward, dart in and out of back roads to see where they would take me and lo and behold I began to find my way.
I was then required to be a Dispatcher and it was my job to get Buses on the road with minimal disruptions,to make sure that Operators arrived ready to work on time to provide this service in a timely manner, and to observe that they were in full uniform that they were required for them to wear every day, and to take the appropriate action if they were not. hmm, this has been a real experience I had no idea what that job was going to require. What an eye opener, so many extra board rules, let’s see, Redline Order, rule after rule after rule, before assigning the work, oh and if don’t know the rule, and you get the operators’ assignments wrong, well guess what, you get if from all sides. I do have to say that some of the Operators were very kind and patient with me through all of my mistakes, and did what they could to help me learn, and for that I am thankful. Bless you, all, you know who you are. Needless to say that It has taken a long time to get all of it straight, but I think I finally understood enough to keep employees assigned to their proper assignments without too many mistakes unless it gets extremely busy and then it’s questionable, but I do my best. Anyway, I could go on, but the point I am trying to make is, Clear Expectations, and a proper Training Program would have made the transition smoother, for an employee that is starting from a different state.
I want to encourage employers to save their companies time and money by working to eliminate employee underperformance by providing your new hire with what your expectations are when the first start in their new position and provide a “World Class Training Program” that will make their transition successful and eliminate needless stress and downtime that is frustrating for both the employee and the employer.
Until Next Blog