Four tips to hone your management skills
A manager’s task is to make sure that those that they oversee are performing to the greatest effect; you must get the best out of people. There’s no formula, no algorithm to good management; what works for one person might not work for another. Good management means responding to situations as they arise, each unique.
Faced with this sort of uncertainty, it can seem as if good management skills are either present from birth, or not. But this isn’t the case: try to work on these skills to help get the most out of those under your watch.
Set out a clear vision
One of the most common causes of underperformance in employees is when they are uncertain of the tasks that they need to accomplish. This can stem from a number of factors, from inexperience on their part to confused instructions. It is easy to take for granted what people know and know how to do, especially if you are well-acquainted with what needs to be done. Communicating clearly and simply is difficult, and refining this skill will reap dividends in your role as a manager.
Take charge of time
Among the key skills of any manager is ensuring that the work that needs to get done is done timeously. Some people are naturally good at spacing out their work across days, weeks, or months, but many are not. For bigger projects, it becomes essential to break down big tasks into smaller increments. This is somewhat of an art – harmonising a reasonable workload with time-effective delivery of work. Using shared calendars and having explicit deliverables will give your staff a good sense of what is expected of them, and will help you anticipate issues before they become trouble.
Seek improvement in all things
One of the great management philosophies of the 20th century, used most famously by Toyota, is kaizen, the Japanese word for continuous improvement. The essence of this approach to production is that workers are empowered to report any abnormalities in the work for which they are responsible at the moment of discovery, and in concert with their supervisors, find a solution to the problem. The consequence of this approach is constant improvement in the quality of product, and large gains in efficiency in the longer term. The kaizen approach extends beyond the production process – if you seek improvement in yourself, and your duties, you offer a model for others to do the same with themselves.
Create the best environment
People clash with each other, become distracted, lose motivation, face crises – all of which will have knock-on effects in how well they can perform their duties. When dealing with inter-personal conflicts and personal problems, your role as a manager of these issues must be irreproachable. Maintaining objectivity in these kinds of situations is far from easy, but if managed, will pay off down the line. Look to maintain a positive and inclusive working environment in which your staff can come to you when they have problems, and don’t hesitate to talk, if you notice that they are not engaging with their duties as they ought to.
Time is valuable: How to manage your time to maximise productivity
Learning and honing the art of time management is a skill and one that every person should strive to perfect, particularly those who work in the fast-paced business world. The challenge is that it’s often easier said than done. If you’re lucky enough to become a master time maximiser, chances are you’ll be more successful and productive in both your personal and professional life.
Learning and honing the art of time management is a skill and one that every person should strive to perfect, particularly those who work in the fast-paced business world. The challenge is that it’s often easier said than done. If you’re lucky enough to become a master time maximiser, chances are you’ll be more successful and productive in both your personal and professional life. Instead of complaining about the fact that there are only so many hours in the day, rather work on not just managing your time, but maximising it. Here are a few tips for how you can do exactly that.
Make a comprehensive list of all your “time-wasters”
You know yourself better than anyone and therefore you know exactly the things that you end up wasting your time on. Start by making an honest and extensive list of the various things that take you away from doing the work you really need to be doing. Keep the list nearby at work and each time you catch yourself doing something else that wastes time, add it to the others. This list will serve as a reminder of all the things you should try and stop yourself from doing, simply because they take up valuable time that could be spent on more important things. The idea is that over time, you’ll get better at avoiding those pesky “time-wasters”.
Remove those distractions
Leading on from the previous point, once you identify your “time-wasters”, you’ll hopefully be able to manage them better. It can also help to remove any glaring distractions from your immediate working space. For example, social media can often lure you away from the task at hand, especially because most people have easy access to it 24/7. Try hiding the social media applications you have on your desktop. You’ll still be able to access them sure, but doing so will require slightly more effort. Also consider leaving your phone on silent and out of sight – that way you’ll be less tempted to keep checking it more than you should. People will get hold of you one way or another if there’s an emergency.
There are always going to be things that suddenly come up and need to be dealt with, but it’s important to have as clear a plan as possible at the beginning of the day. Prioritising certain tasks over others is a crucial factor when it comes to managing and maximising time. By knowing exactly what requires your attention from the start, you’ll have more direction, making it easier to complete the important tasks that have to be completed by the end of the day. Focus on those high priority jobs and commit to finishing them – if there’s time left over by the end of the day, then you can get started on those less urgent tasks. It can also help to narrow down the times during the day when you are at your best and performance will be at its optimum. Sometimes it’s a good idea to try and prioritise tasks around your “golden hour” – that way you’re almost guaranteed to perform at your best.
Set short-term goals
Short-term goals are important because in most cases it’s easier (and faster) to achieve those things that need to be done more urgently than others. They play hand in hand with the act of prioritising and because they need to be achieved in a shorter period of time, they will automatically be viewed as being more urgent. It’s this sense of urgency that will hopefully lead to a more focused approach and the completion of the jobs at hand faster and more efficiently. Having too many long-term goals with no stepping stones in between can often lead to a lack of focus and the resultant “putting off” of certain things (simply because it seems to be too far down the line to warrant immediate attention).
Stop multi-tasking and start uni-tasking
Contrary to what many people think, attempting to do too many things at once isn’t always a wise decision. It’s only a small handful of people who can successfully multitask – the others try to do so but have their work suffer as a result. Our brains were designed to focus on one thing at a time so it’s best to tackle one task instead of many at the same time. Trying to do too many things at once usually results in the finished product not being as high of a standard as it could be.
Time is of the essence in the world of business and the reality is that time is money. Being able to manage time correctly means you’ll be maximising it, and this can only lead to good things within your business. Sage One Software allows you to manage the financial side of your business quickly and efficiently, which means you’ll have more time to dedicate to the other areas of your small business that require it.
You may be interested in also reading How to Stop Wasting Time at Work
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Don’t let procrastination ruin your business
In any business, time is one of the most precious things. Deadlines come and go almost at the speed of light, which is why it can often be incredibly challenging to manage time effectively. There just never seems like there’s enough of it to go around and ensure that everything gets done as and when it needs to.
In any business, time is one of the most precious things. Deadlines come and go almost at the speed of light, which is why it can often be incredibly challenging to manage time effectively. There just never seems like there’s enough of it to go around and ensure that everything gets done as and when it needs to. However, at the end of the day, if deadlines are not met and if time is not optimised, businesses can and do fail. Not being able to deliver work to clients within the promised time frame can give businesses a bad reputation, and when it comes down to it, reputations are what matter. There are, of course, several ways in which to ensure procrastination isn’t the reason your business doesn’t make it – read on to find out what they are.
Set a deadline and stick to it
Meeting deadlines, no matter how big or small, are a vital part of running a successful business. From time to time priorities do shift, but it’s important to make every effort to ensure deadlines are met on time. Not only will this keep your clients very happy, but it will also force you to manage your time more effectively. Deadlines are put in place to give clients what they pay for but also to give you and your team some structure – without them, we’d likely never get anything done.
Remember the repercussions
When you were in school or university, you knew exactly what it was like to wish you hadn’t left everything to the last minute when you has projects due – you should think of the working world in the same way. Do the work as and when you need to, and avoid those moments of wanting to kick yourself for not having started sooner. Furthermore, never forget what it feels like to make a client wait for something – they’ll only end up upset and you’ll end up in hot water.
Implement effective systems
Effective systems make streamlining work much, much easier to do. Make sure you have systems that work well for everyone across the board. For example, make use of Sage One Accounting and Payroll software that will help with the smooth-running of your business’s finances and payroll, or a reliable traffic system through which all work can be briefed and completed timeously. Finding systems that are fast, effective and efficient is crucial to any business.
Identify the issues at hand
Whenever you find procrastination in the work place, think about what could be causing it. Identifying these issues and dealing with them as soon as possible will help combat them all in good time. If the problem stems from something like boredom or tediousness, find ways of making tasks more exciting. You can also delegate certain jobs to more junior staff, instead using the opportunity to become the teacher instead of the doer – this role reversal can help you view a task differently. Not only is this a more enjoyable way of doing things, but you will also end up improving someone else’s skillset.
Procrastination is one of the biggest challenges that individuals within businesses face, but by finding the source of it and in turn devising ways to prevent it, business owners can save a lot of time and money for their business and its clients.
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Storage and organisation solutions to make any office run smoother
Time is money in the world of business, so business owners know just how important it is to make every minute count. Apart from perfecting the art of time management, it also helps to have processes and plans in place that allow for the smooth-running of daily office occurrences. Of course, overall organisation also plays a vital role in ensuring that things run efficiently.
Time is money in the world of business, so business owners know just how important it is to make every minute count. Apart from perfecting the art of time management, it also helps to have processes and plans in place that allow for the smooth-running of daily office occurrences. Of course, overall organisation also plays a vital role in ensuring that things run efficiently. This extends to all areas of the business, including the environment. A well-organised office space means less time spent searching through stacks of papers and rummaging through messy drawers, and more spent on the things that really matter. Instead of wasting hours looking for that one document or stapler, find things quickly and easily with these office storage solutions.
Space can very often be an issue in an office, in that in most instances, it tends to be rather limited. The key is to maximise the space you have and to use it as efficiently as possible. Desk and floor space can run out quickly, but that’s when you go vertical. Yes, you guessed it: we’re talking bookcases and shelving. Not only will they help you utilise the vast space that is your empty walls, but they will also help elevate things to eye-level, helping you to spot what you need faster. This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but you’d be surprised at how many people overlook this storage option.
Divide and conquer
This must be one of the easiest and most affordable ways to maintain “drawer order”. There are so many ways you can divide drawers (be it the ones that are part of your desk or those in the copy room) and having everything have their own designated space, is guaranteed to save time. You can try:
- Metal or wooden dividers
- Cardboard dividers
- Plastic containers or dividers.
Nothing will be more satisfying than sliding open that desk drawer and having everything (from stationery to notepads and elastic bands) at your fingertips. Drawer organisation is essential for daily productivity and knowing where you can locate what you need in a flash.
Write those wrongs
One thing that, without a doubt, is at the centre of office organisation, is clear labelling. The more things are accurately labelled, the easier it becomes to find what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to take a sticky label to everything, from drawers, to shelves, folders and files. There’s nothing worse than being in a blind panic minutes before a meeting because you can’t find a highlighter (or worse, that important document). Sorting is the first step, with labelling bringing it all together.
There’s nothing wrong with combining organisation with fun. Having a corkboard close by is the perfect way to ensure that reminders remain front and centre, while checklists stay top of mind. You can easily pin up everything current or pressing (that is paper) so that you can always see things and access them when you need to. Once a task is complete, you can simply unpin and file or throw away – nothing could be easier. A few personal touches can be added as well (such as family photographs), making a corkboard the perfect mix of storage and personal décor fun.
It’s a wrap
One thing that people in office everywhere have the displeasure of dealing with is the continuous issue of tangled cords and cables. When it comes to attempting to try and detangle, guaranteed there have been one too many frustrated people, not to mention bruised heads and hours wasted. Luckily, there are such things as twist ties and cord covers that help to get wires more organised – once sorted, you’ll never have to worry about fighting with those cords again.
Despite the physical toll that a lack of organised storage can have on employees, there is also the mental burden. Working in a chaotic office environment can breed unnecessary stress in an already potentially stressful space. Minimise stress and reduce the amount of time spent wading through untidy boxes by introducing some of these nifty storage solutions – we promise you’ll never look back.
Featured image: Courtesy of Sage One Asia
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