Efficiency is a buzzword that often gets tossed around. No matter what sector you work in, efficiency strives to improve our everyday life. When it comes to making a workplace more efficient, you can look at your processes, but it’s often the people that make all the difference.
When you want to make a culture change, it’s often best to start at the top, with executives and managers. Shockingly, nearly 43% of employees thought that they could do a better job of managing people than their manager could, and this level of dissatisfaction can cause a bad environment, as well as inefficiency.
For those currently employed or looking for work, it's important not to overlook how efficient your current or prospective employer is. When interviewing for a new position, we consider company culture, our commute time, salary and job responsibilities. But, efficiency, how long it takes for you to hear back from the hiring manager, the varying communications you receive during the interview process, and so on and so forth, are strong indicators for how processes operation behind the scenes.
While people run the process, leadership sets the tone. Below are some key skills that executives and managers should embody. Important considerations if you're out there interviewing, or in between offers.
It may seem obvious that someone in an executive position should have good communication skills, but it is surprising how often a simple problem has to be escalated, simply because instructions weren’t passed on properly. Poor communication skills can cause efficiency problems such as:
- Lost orders
- Slow production
- Excess waste
- Slow response to queries
- Delays in orders or launching products
- High staff turnover
The best way to solve communication problems is to see how people are communicating right now. If they are doing everything via e-mail, and people aren’t responding right away, then you need to encourage more face to face or phone communication whenever possible. You could also offer incentives or targets for productivity, which means managers will be more likely to chase things up and seek resolutions quickly.
Ideally, employees should be able to have a one to one session with their manager every now and again. This ensures they clear up any matters that have arisen, and that the employee feels appreciated and on track.
2. Change management
Managing things on a day to day basis is one thing, but do your executives have what it takes to spearhead a major change? A big part of an executive’s job is explaining changes in procedure, and many of them could benefit from a coaching course by Humantechnics. This will allow them to mentor those under them, and to come up with training procedures that make the switchovers so much easier.
3. Developing people
Further to ensuring people are trained for changes, a good executive or manager should know exactly how to get the best out of people in order to make the business more efficient. This can include finding people’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as having the creativity to be able to use these resources to their full potential.
4. Managing risks
If executives don’t know how to manage risks, then you can end up with an incredibly sluggish, bloated organization with lots of unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork. That’s why it’s important for executives to learn appropriate risk management skills, ensuring that there’s enough risk for the company to move forward, without getting into dangerous territory. Some sectors minimize risk as much as possible, whereas others such as financial institutions, often celebrate it. That’s why it’s important to be clear with your executives exactly where your company stands and what you will tolerate.
Being an executive or manager isn’t just about knowing everything about the company, or being able to cut costs. It’s a complex job that involves creativity, analysis skills, and people skills. Strong managers will always be looking at ways to develop not only their careers, but empower and foster the employees around them.
This post was written by Samantha Merrylees. Samantha is a writer for HumanTechnics, a UK-based company specialising in coaching, learning and development, and HR. Their programmes are accredited by recognised institutions.