How to Choose a Manager for Your Business
Business is booming, orders are up, customers are happy, taking on more staff, happy days…. Yes? Hmmm…
This is what I’ve always wanted.
Why am I feeling so stressed?
I can’t do everything. I’ve always thought I was good with people. But if I am going to build this business — and that was always the plan — I haven’t got time to deal with all the issues my larger workforce is bringing to me.
I could carry on as we are, save money on manager wages and not have to deal with the fallout when I decide who’s got the job.
Or, my costs could soar and I could start to lose money. Good people might start to leave and take their experience with them because they don’t feel listened to or valued….because I just don’t have enough time to spend with them.
So that’s it! Easy decision made – let’s hire a manager.
Which is the next challenge:
Who should it be? Does the business need just one more manager, or several? What do I want them to do? How do I want them to do it? Should I look to a new hire, or promote from within the organization?
My best operator is not necessarily going to be a good manager. Managing requires a different skill set, but what are they?
I need someone who can plan and organize a team and resources effectively. Someone who can adapt their behavior and management style to each situation, the needs of team members and the business.
In addition, they will have to communicate effectively — with me and the team — particularly when the messages are complicated and difficult to hear.
I want them to motivate the team to want to work hard for me and this business.
Commercially the right person will understand the business drivers, our customers, market nuances and will manage the team to improve performance year over year.
They probably need some experience in my business area, but their management experience is far more important to me.
Ok, so that’s how I want them to behave.
How many do I need?
Research and experience tells me somewhere between 4 and 7 direct reports usually works best.
Too many and the team may feel disengaged, too few and there is the temptation to micro manage them.
I need to think about what I want them to do.
As we grow, the new manager will have to recruit new team members, source candidates through the assessment process, make hiring decisions and offer prospects the deal.
From there they will have to train and coach team members so they are confident in all tasks I expect them to perform. Set performance standards for all tasks and manage the team to deliver, by regularly monitoring, reviewing and providing exceptional feedback.
Other things they might need to do are:
Keep the team up to date with what’s happening in the business, how we are performing, why we’ve made certain decisions and define future opportunities.
Solve problems, resolve conflicts, and gather and implement improvement ideas.
Support me to grow the business, set goals, make plans and exceed customer expectations.
I just need to find someone who can match up.
Getting the right person in is just the start, I need to set them up to succeed in People Management
There are a couple of people who already work here who may be good but this role is important enough to test who’s out in the market too. It’s worth investing to get the right person. My existing people know the business but someone from outside may give us more challenge and alternative perspective.
At least now I have criteria which I can use to evaluate each candidate for the role, and they also get a good idea about what the role will involve and the behaviors and values I want them to role model to help them decide if this business is a good match for them.
All this should make sure I recruit the right person the first time. Getting this decision wrong could cost me more money than not recruiting at all.
I also have a decent framework to use when they start the role with which to agree on expectations, targets, and performance standards.
I need to manage this individual in the same way I expect them to manage the team, collaboratively, with regular feedback and review.
Personal values of honesty and integrity with a huge dollop of positivity and confidence should seal the deal.
If I get this right, the possibilities are endless.