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Every business owner is also a manager. According to Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman in their book First, Break All the Rules (which I highly recommend and upon which this article is based) there are twelve questions that every manager should ask of their staff. These questions measure the core elements that are needed to attract, focus and retain the most talented employees. These questions, to be scored on a scale of 1-5 are as follows:
- 1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- 2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
- 3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- 4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- 5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
- 6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- 7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- 8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
- 9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
- 10. Do I have a best friend at work?
- 11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
- 12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
According to Buckingham, research has shown that the manager, not pay, benefits, perks or a charismatic corporate leader- was the critical player in building a strong workplace.
As a manager, if you want to know what you should do to build a strong and productive workplace, securing 5's to the first six questions, is an excellent place to start.
What all great managers should know:
-People don't change that much
-Don't waste time trying to correct weaknesses
-Instead draw out the employee's strengths
What Great Managers Do
- The manager role is to reach inside each employee and release his unique talents into performance.
- To get positive answers to the first six questions a manager must be able to do four things well.
- Select a person
- To score a 5 on question #3 you need to understand how much a person can change. Know the difference between a skill, knowledge and talent. You need to know what can be taught and what must be hired.
- Set expectations
- To obtain 5's on questions 1 & 2, you must be able to set accurate performance expectations, which is more than simple goals
- Motivate the person
- To obtain 5's in question, 4 & 5, invest time in your employees. Since you only have so much time to invest make sure you spend that time motivating your most productive people first.
- Develop your employees. Provide growth opportunities and look for ways to keep your employees engaged.
Remember every business owner is also a manager. As a individual you will accomplish the most if you work to your strengths. The same is true with your employees. Make sure each employee is performing the work that they do best.