Some of you have worked very hard to get where you are at, have had constructive ideas, have great management techniques, and have the ambition to achieve more in life. Your hard work has paid off and you’ve had your deserved promotion or you finally have the ambition needed to start your own business. Whatever the circumstances, the fact is – you now have a team to manage, whether you are naturally gifted at it or not.
Management Techniques: What should a first-time manager do with this extra responsibility?
There are thousand of management techniques out there such as lead by example, talk to your team members individually, and be motivating and encouraging. These are all good recommendations, but they usually lack practical solutions that a first-time manager can start implementing right away. We at Weekdone help managers daily across the world, from SMEs and start-ups to Fortune 500 hundred and public companies to maximize their team potential. Therefore, we would like to share our best management techniques that have proved to be useful to hundreds of other managers.
First and foremost, take a step back and evaluate your current situation and needs. Chances are that there are already so many things that need your immediate attention.
Management Techniques: Setting goals
It’s time to look at the bigger picture. Start off by setting goals your company and team want to achieve. Then set key results to track your progress towards these goals. According to Steve Martin from Harvard Business Review, a well-constructed and thoughtfully considered goal can be extremely motivating and rewarding. There is a methodology that helps you to set and track goals.
It is called Objectives and Key Results – OKRs. Used by the likes of Google, Zynga, and LinkedIn. The surprising aspect of OKRs is that it really suits everyone, regardless of their industry or size. It’s a simple and straightforward management method for setting and tracking objectives. It consists of a list of objectives, with 3-5 measurable key results under each one of these objectives.
You could use an excel sheet or a google doc, although we believe that the easiest way to implement it in your team is to use a tool that doesn’t take up so much of your precious time. Weekdone lets you set objectives and key results on three different levels – company, team, and personal OKRs.
- 3 objectives at any time
- 3 key results per objective
- Set quarterly
- Review monthly or weekly
- Public and online in front of all employees
- 70% sweet spot to achieve 5 of the results
As a first-time manager, using OKRs helps you personally distinguish the important from the unimportant. Your team members will love it for the clarity of knowing what’s expected from them. Now that you have a clear goal in sight, it is time to build your team’s work process and structure in order to achieve your objectives.
Management Techniques: Building a self-sufficient work process and structure
Implementing an automatic work process and structure will save you time and makes sure that you can measure your team’s progress. If you don’t know which process you need, PPP is the de facto standard to start from. Progress Plans and Problems is a management technique that is used by the likes of Skype, eBay, and Facebook.
The goal of the PPP reports is to enhance team collaboration and bring everyone on the same page. Emi Gal the CEO of Brainient points out: “PPP works great because it keeps everyone on the team informed”. Since the method itself is simple and flexible, it could be used in different industries and in various companies.
Progress is where you and your employee’s accomplishments, finished items, and closed tasks for the period ending are displayed. This is all about the question, “What have you done?”.
Plans are the goals and objectives for the next reporting period (preferably weekly). All of the items listed under Plans are potential items of Progress. This is all about the question, “What are you going to do next?”.
Problems are items that for some reason cannot be finished. Quite often problems need some extra input from someone else on the team. This is all about the question, “Are there any problems you are facing?”.
Best practices and suggestions for your team:
- Write the report in a way you would like to see it coming from your other team members, so that you would read it.
- Make each item understandable by others, not just you. Keep the items short but rich in information.
- If needed, use facts, numbers, and background information. External web links can be helpful.
- Have a maximum of 5-7 items in each category, not more. Up to 5 is ideal. Nobody reads long reports.
For a first-time manager, having weekly or monthly PPP reports at hand can save you hours of time from useless meetings. Applying your best management techniques makes sure team members know what their co-workers are doing, so it improves collaboration and makes sure everybody is moving in the right direction.
Management Techniques: Being a cutting-edge manager
Leadership has a funny way of exposing weaknesses. To avoid that, don’t undertake all the managerial responsibilities at once, but focus on creating the right working environment for your team to thrive. Start off by implementing the right management techniques and build a work process that allows you to successfully manage your team.
To build better management techniques we urge all the first-time managers to use OKR and PPP methodology as it is being used by other successful managers and companies. Furthermore, we suggest to use online tools like Weekdone that help you easily implement these management techniques with your team. After all, it is the 21st century and being a cutting-edge manager means that you use all the additional help technology has to offer.