It’s interesting to compare the differences between managing the future and managing your people. On one hand, the future is largely predictable, and yet completely unknown. Experts can predict what the market will do in terms of shifting technology, changing consumer trends and marketplace finance, but we can’t know for sure how things will turn out.
On the other hand, humans are completely unpredictable, but still, we can bet that some things will happen. We don’t know what a person will do from one moment to the next, but we can pretty much guarantee that there are certain things every single person will present.
I always recommend that business owners build systems and processes to help them deal with the “human factor” in their growing company. It’s vital to provide for the things you know will come up when you’re managing your team. Having well-maintained management systems and processes will help to mitigate the times when your staff struggle with:
People will always have moments when they forget what to do and how to do it. Now, let’s be honest, we all have those days that we forget even the most simple of things. The reality is that human short term memory can only actually hold a maximum of seven items at any given time. And these items can only be held here working for about 20 seconds.
An effective manager helps their staff by creating systems to fall back on. Set up processes to allow your employees to work out of well-organised systems and processes. This will ensure that things keep on running like a well-oiled machine, even when people forget exactly what needs to be done.
Even the most stable, mature human beings have emotional ups and downs that can throw them off their game. For some, making it to work involves overcoming significant hardships and obstacles in their personal lives. And to be truthful, sometimes people are just going to get up on the wrong side of the bed. It’s all perfectly okay.
One of the things I love doing in my work is helping to prepare business owners to support the people in their care. As a leader, you guide your team through the ups and downs of real-life by creating certainty and stability at work. Develop cultural norms which bring out the best in your employees by creating a safe, predictable workplace environment. Well maintained systems will support your staff through hard times.
The next thing that we can know is that sometimes humans are going to struggle with motivation. All people can get tired or even lazy, sitting back to watch the days roll by. Humans are not always going to feel like showing up and doing the absolute best work at any given time. Most of the time it’s hard to motivate other people. It’s easy for them to take the shortcut, or do a quick little job instead of investing in taking a thorough approach which always results in excellence.
Motivating people to their best work is something of a mandate for an effective manager. This is something that you can guarantee is going to be a bit of a challenge. Make sure idle, unproductive moments are kept to a minimum in your business with processes to keep people on track and accountable.
Human error happens to the best of us, and if people are tired, stressed or distracted mistakes are more likely to occur. There is no possible way to create a workplace that is 100% free from error. Even automated systems have glitches and faults. Whilst ever you have human beings on the tools, mishaps are inevitable.
Well, documented steps will give your staff clear steps to complete their daily tasks, and if they do make a mistake you get to improve the system by updating process steps. Developing systems for performance management and accountability will also help your staff to stay focused and pay attention. There are so many practical ways to support your team and minimise the mistakes they make. Keep the mistakes at bay by setting out clear steps to follow.
The final thing that you can guarantee in your workplace is that people will not all get along every day. There will always be moments of misunderstanding because people don’t always say exactly what they mean, and they don’t always see eye to eye. Your staff will inevitably have moments where they miscommunicate or even openly disagree. Reducing these moments and their impact of them often comes down to how things are managed daily.
Business owners must get behind interpersonal problems at work to develop tools and strategies for effective communication. This is how you can ensure that everyone knows exactly what they’re meant to be doing at any given time. Having expectations in plain black and white will solve plenty of arguments before they even start.
Your business growth will offer you and your team ample opportunity to address these types of issues. If you’re smart, you will use these moments to improve your company culture from the ground up. Everyone in your team, (including you) will have days where your memory fails you, your emotions get the better of you, or your motivation wanes. We have all made mistakes and we have all felt the sting of conflict. You never know when these moments will come up, but if you prepare your systems and processes to support your team, at least you will know you are prepared for when they do arise.