Good leaders and managers are always tasked with juggling multiple priorities. While sometimes they perform high risk tasks, at other times, they are trying to decipher people’s needs. While balancing team cohesion with achieving organizational goals, managers may find it challenging to coordinate responsibilities seamlessly. In this article, we shall look at some ways in which you can organize your priorities and be a better manager in 2021.

Hiring and onboarding priorities

Many organizations struggle to hire the right candidate. They invest enormous amounts of time and money on onboarding team members only to neglect them in the initial 90 days of employment. Set your hiring priorities straight by putting people first. Ensure that you are hiring not only to fill vacant positions, but also to consider who would be a good fit with your organization.

To achieve this, keep your team’s communication style, work culture, and values in mind while searching for the right candidate. Since many positions became remote in 2021, it is even more necessary to consider the kind of communication strategy that your team follows remotely and whether a new person would easily adapt to it. When you are conducting interviews and learning more about candidates, try to determine who would be a good fit culturally and would add value to your organization.

During the onboarding phase, regularly check-in with employees. Organize a check-in meeting every 30, 60, and 90 days to see how your employees are doing. Organize lunches or team meetings and introduce your newest team members to everyone else. Facilitate opportunities for interactions between your new hires and senior staff members who can support their growth and advancement.

Organizing goals and overcoming challenges

Being able to handle challenges is a skill that every manager should possess. In times of uncertainty, the ability to adapt and transition to new systems and processes while directing the team is something all managers should be able to handle deftly. To achieve this, it is important to have clearly defined goals and a contingency plan for the future. Goals should be measurable and must also provide advancement opportunities to employees.

As a manager, develop specific methods using which you guide your employees toward success. Help your employees set individual goals, and see that those goals are connected to the mission of your organization. If you are struggling to find time to work with every employee, use technology to help you with the process. Connect with your human resources team and get software for goal management that can help multiple members of your team set, track, and attain goals. You can also get help from a third-party organization like TalenX, which helps with talent acquisition and managing workforce planning.

While guiding your employees through the goal setting and achievement process, make sure that you are giving your employees space to exercise independence and leadership over their projects. An essential quality of a good manager is the ability to strike a balance between providing guidance to an employee and allowing them to have the freedom needed to learn and grow. Though you may initially be skeptical of a newly hired employee’s performance, it is important not to be overly demanding in the first few months and let the employee become slowly adjusted to the organization.

As you work with your team in setting objectives, it is usual to encounter obstacles. As a manager, it is your responsibility to think and plan ahead. Anticipate what potential problems could be coming up as you transition to a different modus operandi. How could moving to a new office be beneficial or an issue? What conflicts could arise if you were to ask two separate departments to collaborate on a project? Would remotely working create additional challenges that you can address ahead of time? Thinking about possible issues that can come up following a transition and finding solutions to them quickly is an important quality of a good manager.

Using feedback to guide growth

Focusing on attaining organizational goals is a crucial role of any manager. It is important to remember that goals can be achieved only when employees are mentored through the process. Coaching every employee makes them feel that they are cared for and enables them to feel motivated about their work. Providing constant guidance helps them in doing good work consistently.

Depending on the size of your team, schedule weekly meetings with your team members. Make these meetings casual and a regular part of everyday conversation. Ask how your team is getting along with their goals and offer feedback if you find your team struggling. Such meetings will strengthen the relationship you have with your employees while making them more dedicated to the organization.

Good team leaders and managers also provide constructive, actionable feedback. As a manager, make sure you are praising and recognizing the efforts of your team publicly and frequently. Deliver constructive feedback quickly and intentionally as a way to show that you care for your team. When you have difficult feedback to deliver to someone, make sure you are saying it in a manner that encourages the employee to do a better job next time. This will provide room for growth and allow their skills to develop through hard work.

Though it may be difficult to give critical feedback, it is essential to encourage growth and not negativity. Your employees will understand that the feedback they get is rooted in the belief that they have the scope to do better work next time. If you want to know more about how you can encourage your employees to grow, check out TalenX’s competency-based development programs for professionals.

Supporting your team’s well-being

In addition to professional development, it is vital to take care of your employees’ emotional well-being. Using your emotional intelligence can go a long way in boosting the morale of your co-workers. Emails, text messages, and even good performance reviews can help you recognize your employees’ work better.

The best way you can support a team member’s emotional well-being is by incorporating a healthy work-life balance for you and your team members. You can do this by adopting simple steps that protect the boundaries between people’s professional and personal lives. If you have a worker who is taking care of an elderly parent or a young child at home, be considerate, and allow them to have flexible work hours. Also, avoid conducting unnecessary meetings- schedule them only if there is a purpose that cannot be discussed over email. You should also understand and respect your employees’ personal needs and values, in addition to their professional goals.

Recognize your employees’ hard work with a celebration or a social gathering after completing any successful project. This is one manifestation of constructive criticism that allows employees to feel appreciated and valued. It can also improve an employee’s engagement level with the organization and overall emotional well-being in the workplace. You can tap into employee recognition software to periodically provide positive feedback to your employees and help them be recognized.

One of the most crucial ways you can excel as a manager is by possessing and displaying strong communication skills. Your ability to communicate with clarity distinguishes you as a good leader or manager. When it comes to interacting with employees who are junior in position than you, it is vital to be clear about how, why, and when you communicate. Good communication impacts how your team functions both independently and as part of a team. It will influence the way others perceive and interact with you.

If you are trying to determine whether you are doing a good job of communicating, ask your colleagues for feedback. Send out surveys to your primary stakeholders and try to ask for their opinion on a range of organizational issues. Based on their responses, you can maintain or modify your communication strategy to better connect with your team members.

Managing offboarding seamlessly

Like hiring, having a strategy for managing offboarding and exits is a crucial organizational priority. There are many instances in which someone stays on a team longer than they should. Such situations are not advantageous either for the individual or the team.

To manage offboarding, identify instances of where someone is effectively contributing to the team or not. When you notice dissatisfactory performance levels over a continuous period, that indicates that you need to pay greater attention to the employee. Offer plenty of second chances for improving performance but as soon as you realize that things are not improving, take swift action.

Assist with the smooth and healthy exit of employees from your company. When somebody in your organization announces that they are moving on to another opportunity, celebrate their achievement. No need to feel disappointed or let personal feelings come in the way. Wish the employee well with the future, and then concentrate on providing better opportunities for your team.

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