Many times in my career I have managed people. Sometimes small teams and sometimes large ones. I believe management, like most things in life, is a skill that is developed and honed over time. Much like parenting, you want your employees to respect and trust your judgment enough to emulate it in your absence. You want them to want to succeed and do their very best whether you are there to see it them do it or not. And like parenting, sometimes those hopes are more easily fulfilled than others.
Sometimes employees march to the beat of the corporate objective without pause and sometimes they fight every step of the way. It is not uncommon to have two employees who sit right next to each other perceive the company or your management style differently. Your influence on their behavior is sometimes great, and sometimes not accepted at all. Much like parenting, managing is not always easy, yet can often be one of the most rewarding things you do.
Unlike parenting, it is often easier to take a step back and subjectively evaluate a situation. It is after all, business. It’s not personal. Good managers know when to shift away from emotion and manage a situation based on facts and the logic that follows those facts. Therein lies the challenge, however. What are the facts? Unfortunately, managers are often forced to make very important decisions about employees and situations based on hearsay and assumptions. A lot of the tactical day-to-day work that employees do is often immeasurable or difficult to capture. It is also more and more common for businesses to allow employees to work from home and many positions (like sales for example) require off site flexibility. That makes facts even more difficult to capture.
What is the solution to the problem? Establish a measurable criteria that can be managed within a CRM system. Truth be told, good managers do NOT want to micromanage their employees. If they do, they don’t belong in management. Good managers want to surround themselves with people who are better than them at what they do, give them the tools to get it done and stand back and watch all the pieces come together the way they are suppose to. That being said, they also need visibility to progress on an individual and collective basis. The way to accomplish those objectives simultaneously is through a CRM system that captures predefined employee activity in a way that progress is measureable.
For employees, this is nothing to be afraid of. It is a good thing to capture the activity of those who are successful so that their committed efforts are documented and their activity can be emulated by others in the organization who may need guidance. As for management, the objective is not to micromanage every employee entry, but rather to capture the progress of individuals and the department as a whole in a quantifiable manner. When a difficult situation does arise you are able to assess the facts that led to that situation. Where did the breakdown occur? How can it be prevented in the future? Is it a common problem among many employees or an isolated problem with a single employee? What actions are required to fix this problem and by whom?
Part of the solution provided by CRM in this environment is an upfront agreement to a mutual goal. Don’t keep the expectations or quantifiable targets a secret. Share them with everyone and obtain their agreement to achieving them. Ensure they understand how achieving those objectives impact the overall success of the organization. Paint the picture that their contribution, no matter how big or small, is in part how the doors to your company are kept open every day. When used effectively CRM software can be a very powerful culture foundation to focus employees on a single target. The success of the company.