Expectations of Managers
It is the goal of all quality organizations to provide its employees with a superior opportunity to grow, both individually and as professionals. Nothing has a greater impact than hiring the right people and having them develop simultaneously with the company’s own growth. It has been frequently shown that appreciation and growth can be stronger motivators for an employee than money and can result in reduced turnover, improved customer service and ultimately generates superior profits for the company. With this in mind, it is best to lay out clear expectations for performance so that employees can achieve both personal and professional growth. Employees should understand that their employer is committed to making every effort to educate them so that they can expand their horizons and take on new responsibilities over time.
A system like this provides some transparency to the “mysterious” process of promotion and professional growth that many employees think is biased, unfair, or a function of pure politics. These beliefs can cause people and organizations to stagnate as everyone becomes resigned to the fact that they cannot compete based on some untrue belief. The following article makes more transparent what people must do to move up the organizational ladder and achieve certain career goals. Publishing it inside your company can make it clear to your employees that rewards and promotions are there for those people that earn them, and not for those that play politics, look busy, or cozy up to the boss.
In the top organizations, the reward is always based on merit and political factors are simply a way to generate more opportunities for visibility. The following is designed to describe the typical expectations of employees at various levels, and to provide a framework for their personal and professional development. It should have a huge impact on many people and hence your entire organization.
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(Also appropriate in new working relationships in order to get up to speed on each other’s strengths, weaknesses and styles.)
Management by Objective (MBO)
(Including some Supervisors)
Management by Exception (MBE)
Business Managers, CEOs, GM, Managing Directors
Click Here for a more complete description of the above mentioned management methods.
Expectations of Individual Contributors:
Employees at this level require daily supervision, if not even more frequently. As such, they are "micromanaged" and cannot be expected to pursue larger objectives than fairly simple, straightforward and repetitive tasks (See article on Management Methods). The bulk of all employees falls into this category and will stay there until they are shown how to develop into a management level employee. The necessary skills and traits for this level are as follows:
- Can identify, resolve and avoid basic problems in their narrow functional area of the business.
- Can interact and influence co-workers, customers, clients, suppliers, vendors and job applicants in a courteous and professional manner to produce favorable results.
- These employees are expected to effectively and efficiently manage their time, materials and space.
- Can proactively initiate ideas, set simple goals and account for results.
- These employees are expected to be bright and have a positive, can-do attitude. Clearly there is a law of averages here in larger companies, but bright employees should warrant additional compensation and all businesses should strive to hire the best people it can find.
- Can perform specific short-term tasks with no more than daily management/supervision.
- Some younger employees may not have developed a specific valuable skill set, or decided on a career path, but all employees are expected to seek the training and practical experiences they need to carry out their responsibilities and improve themselves.
- Need to work on their ability to understand the business and organization as a whole.
- Need to work on their ability to plan in advance and therefore deliver projects on time.
- Seek to inform their manager of ways to improve customer service and increase productivity.
- Help others in their group achieve their goals by filling in where necessary and cross-training.
- Need to develop a consistent positive attitude and a plan for skill set development.
- Generally, only expected to work 40-45 hours per week. A greater level of commitment in time for self-development will be necessary for advancement to managerial responsibilities.
Supervisor - A supervisor is someone who is capable of managing a small group (1-7 people) with a specific skill set (i.e. Telemarketing, physical jobs). Generally, they have done the job before and understand all of its requirements. Although many of the skills of a manager would be beneficial, this is a much less demanding position. It requires the expertise to hire, train, and fire people and to plan one week to one month in advance for workload variations. A supervisor may be working on becoming a manager, or alternatively, could be a career supervisor, who has reached their limits, or desire, for professional growth.
Additional Expectations of Managers: (Includes all of the above PLUS:)
Employees at this level can be “managed by objective” (MBO) and left to “take a small hill” by themselves. They do not require "micromanagement". A weekly meeting with their superior is generally all that is needed. (See article on Management Methods) Typically, a company needs one manager for each 5-8 employees, although this can vary greatly. A good manager can effectively manage this number of people well and still complete the work necessary for their own projects (scope). A manager must have the following skills and traits:
- Good working relationship with people and is considered "fair" and consistent. Has the ability to manage 1 to 25 people effectively with 3 to 7 direct reports.
- Can communicate effectively with subordinates, peers and other functional areas in writing and orally.
- Documents well, so that everyone above and below them knows what happened or is going to happen, in advance when appropriate, and can leverage their work product, not repeat it.
- Can evaluate, hire, fire and train people to perform all tasks in their department (understands each area well).
- Can develop written short term (1 month) and long term (1 year) plans, set priorities and allocate resources.
- Can anticipate all the needs of their department for at least one year in advance (both people and other resources) and prepares in advance of the need (i.e. Find people in advance of need, so they arrive just-in-time).
- Measures performance (quality and quantity) in their area and aggressively fine-tunes it (quality and quantity). Is constantly improving the efficiency of their department and its people as well as developing the skills of those people.
- Delivers promised projects on-time and within budget. If a project will be late, they always give plenty of advanced notice of this to their superior and all others to whom the project may impact.
- Always keeps their people highly utilized.
- Does whatever it takes to deliver output on-time, including being proactive enough to find out what they need to know to achieve their goals and make quality decisions. Unfortunately, this is a skill possessed by less than five percent of all people. It is “self-actualization” or an inherent drive to improve themselves. This is someone who is aware of what they don't know, and seeks to learn it in advance of the need. They are not only thinking ahead, but also always improving themselves to be prepared for those future requirements. Without this skill, an employee is not likely to make it to the executive level on merit and will not keep up with a fast-growing company.
11. Has good overall judgment and knows the limits of their knowledge and that of others to avoid making decisions that should be brought before their superiors. (A fallback to the previous requirement when there is not enough time to learn everything needed).
12. Can budget for a department and manage within those financial limitations at all times.
13. Can negotiate with outside vendors to get a good deal in the business.
14. Needs direction from their superior on a weekly to monthly basis.
15. Manages their superiors (managing up) and keeps them informed of all successes and failures with advance notice on important issues.
16. Works 50 hours minimum and 60 to 70 hour weeks when and as needed (not all the time or even on site, but as needed) to achieve promised goals.
17. Sets an example of professionalism, quality, effort and positive attitude.
18. Works at developing a greater level of understanding of the other functional areas of the business.
19. Understands who is responsible for everything done in the organization and confers with other managers and executives as needed.
20. Expected to ignore, not create, bureaucracy except as absolutely needed and circumvents it when needed to perform quickly.
21. Anxious to take on new responsibilities, but they know when to avoid this because of resource constraints, among other things.
22. Responsible for representing the company positively to all employees and the outside world.
23. Should develop their abilities to "sell" their ideas and the company, both internally and to the outside world.
Additional Expectations of Executives: (Directors and Vice Presidents)
(Includes all of the above PLUS:)
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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.
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