As human beings, we like to think of ourselves as social animals. But when it comes to managing other people, it turns out that this skill set is not necessarily intuitive. Effective management requires the ability to articulate both your own intentions and the larger intentions of the firm. In addition, managers must be aware of the patterns in their organisation and the shifts that need to occur to embrace change.
Anecdotal reports suggest that managers are aware when requests and orders are not filled correctly or in a timely fashion, but do not know how to identify what stops this from happening. This lack of knowledge can lead to complaints from staff about intimidation, micro-management, inadequate supervision, incomplete instructions, and lack of access to their managers.
Formal training in managing people is a relatively new concept and is often applied reactively when a manager becomes the subject of too many complaints. Most managers won their first positions by becoming sufficiently competent in their own field that they were promoted out of it to manage others. However, there are interventions that can be implemented to improve communication and create a more positive workplace culture.
One effective method to promote a questioning culture in the workplace is to encourage staff to ask questions of their superiors to clarify their understanding. This intervention prompts staff to ask for managers’ intentions and information to clarify unclear or unusual requests. Over time, the quality of communication improves throughout the organisation and dialogue becomes more acceptable. A built-in by-product is that more work is done in a timely fashion as staff are operating inside a known context.
Another intervention is to teach managers to identify and articulate their intentions to staff so work orders exist inside a frame of the firm’s direction. When this class of information cascades down throughout a firm, staff and managers at all levels carry clear representations of the firm’s direction and the destination and function of their own work and other related activity. Learning to identify and articulate intentions for all requests, instructions, and orders is a simple matter as the benefits become apparent to learners immediately.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) can also be a valuable tool in business to improve communication and identify patterns in an organisation. NLP can help managers analyse language patterns to understand how staff members are responding to requests and orders. By analysing patterns, managers can identify the various shifts that need to occur for an organisation to embrace change. It is possible to identify the priority functions, projects, and teams to work with to move quickly towards desired outcomes and goals.
In conclusion, managing people is a skill that requires conscious effort and effective communication. By creating a questioning culture and teaching managers to identify and articulate their intentions, organisations can improve communication and create a more positive workplace culture. Additionally, tools like natural language processing can help identify patterns and facilitate change. With these interventions, managers can become more effective in their roles and help their organisations achieve their goals.
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