Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Manager, Leader, Teacher or Coach?

In the fight to win employment after redundancy, you need to be more than ahead of the game, you need to be the prize, the person that everyone wants to employ.

So you’ve been a Manager before, you’ve worked hard, made your mark on the business, excelled in customer relations, increased business three-fold and still you can’t secure employment – Why?

The game has changed. No longer are you expected to just ‘manage’ the business and the people, you are expected to combine managing, with leadership, teaching and coaching as well.

With company cutbacks due to the poor economic climate, businesses are expecting more from their Managers and more from their employees. They rely on the Manager to get the employees to do more work, to work harder and to work smarter. How can they do that if they are merely managing the team?

A Manager in the basic sense of the word directs their employees, prioritises their workload and delegates tasks to co-ordinate activities to create the desired action needed to meet the required goals of the business. They work within prescribed guidelines, policies and procedures using various systems and are often good problem solvers. It’s only when a Manager starts incorporating the skills outlined below, that they become more successful at managing, add more value to a business and become more in demand as an employee.

A Leader shows people the right way of working by example, they speak with conviction, have a hands-on, can-do attitude and consistently exhibit best practice and behaviour by having high standards and inspiring others to achieve more. They have an air of authority about them and are respected by their superiors. They actively use effective communication techniques to work with their people instead of talking at them, creating a sense of team unity with staff that are happy to help them.

A Teacher works with a team and individuals on a one-to-one basis, to enable their learning, using a variety of techniques and incorporating different learning styles. They explain what needs to be learnt, give the reasons why, demonstrate how and empower them to achieve it by giving them the tools to put that learning into practice. The teacher updates the employees’ skills when a new policy, procedure, product or service comes into effect.

A Coach holds regular meetings with employees in order to make them feel valued and to monitor their performance. They encourage them to raise any issues of concern through open dialogue and discussion and to come up with their own resolutions to any problems. Thus employees take ownership of their part in the business, have a sense of responsibility and are motivated to improve their own performance, thereby increasing productivity.

During my fifteen-year career in retail, seven of which were spent within management roles, I came across many different types of Managers, some had many years of experience but lacked the people management skills needed to lead their team and to get them on-board with working towards company objectives, targets and KPIs. They would expect their team to just do their job, without giving them the tools, the guidance, the support and the open dialogue needed to get their team to do the work and to be happy to do it. Nowadays the Manager needs to be so much more. As employees take on multiple-tasks due to increased workloads, the Manager needs to pay closer attention to the health, safety and personal wellbeing of their staff. As companies try to fight to stay in business, they are constantly changing the way things are done, so flexibility and adaptability are essential. As a result of these changes, new policies and procedures are brought in and the Manager is expected to teach their staff the new way of doing things, then to coach them on their performance to highlight strengths and weaknesses and to sift out the low performers. All this results in more paperwork and more time management.  In a nutshell, a Manager now has to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Therefore in order to improve your chances of employment and lead a team to victory, you must ensure you are displaying your management, leadership, teaching and coaching abilities, throughout your CV, your cover letter and at every interview. If you don’t possess all of those skills then maybe it’s time you upgraded yours?


Written by Sandra Bellamy, Redundancy and Unemployment Specialist Support Advisor, Consultant, Trainer and Writer at beatredundancyblues.
You can find her on Twitter and on Facebook

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