Are you thinking about being a manager? It is easy to get caught up in your company and climb up the ladder. I started out working in fast food, quit my first job due to favoritism over hard work. I was given supervisory jobs without the payment or the title. My second job was in grocery; I climbed the ladder from cashier to front line supervisor and office personal, this time I got the pay and the recognition for my hard work. Due to changes in policy years later, I quit and went back to fast food. I climbed the ladder from order taker to assistant manager until I became sick and quit. The next job was at a game retail store, and I was being taught supervisory work, just the hours were not cutting it to pay the bills. I even tried my hand at property management, due to medical problems and being honest to the residents; I was let go. I noticed everywhere I went; I climbed the corporate ladder. I achieved my ambitions by hard work and being fair.
I have been contacted by my former coworkers wishing I never quit; they didn’t appreciate the new management. Former residents have come to my spouse and contacted me through Facebook wishing I was still there. Such words put a smile on my face. Now, with my medical complications, I cannot work like I once did. Writing is my sole outlet, and someday my income. And is the reason I am expressing what I gained as a manager to you.
Big Ego Manager:
The only time I have seen a ‘Big Ego Manager’ is when they know nothing can happen to them, they are a transfer manager, or they are new to management. I suppose we all get this way, at first, when we get our first management job. I was, for a brief time, a ‘Big Ego Manager,’ but I learned fast that that is not the way to go. You lose respect you got from your colleagues as a hard-working employee. I was on my ego trip for a week; then I was back to my old self.
Now, I have individuals who come up and tell me about their managers. How their managers would walk in snapping their fingers and barking orders. Stepping on supervisors’ toes, or just disregarding them altogether. The employees would tell the franchise managers about the ‘Big Ego Manager,’ but nothing transpires. Nothing gets resolved, and the franchise manager doesn’t understand why their employees, especially the good ones, are quitting.
Get off your high horse:
Being a ‘Big Ego Manager' will not earn you respect from your employees. You will end up losing your employees. In 2008, Gallup said 17% of employees quit their jobs due to insufficient management. In 2015, Gallup noted that “Employees feel miserable while at work, and that misery follows them home, compounding their stress and negatively affecting their overall well-being.”(Harter & Adkins, 2015).
I am aware there is high turnover in places such as fast food restaurants, but employees are employees no matter where they work and no matter what age they are. No matter how short or long employees have been there, you ‘the manager’ need to treat each employee with respect. You need to trust your supervisors to know what they are doing to run an efficient team.
Example: Say you are a transfer manager, you are snapping your fingers and barking orders. You do not communicate with any of the other managing staff, such as the supervisors. You run things your way without getting to know the crew. You shut down things during peak times to have them cleaned, like a french-fry station. You have lines of customers inside the restaurant and in the drive-thru waiting on french-fries, because you could not wait three hours. A little tip: french-fry stations should be clean before the store opens or after the store closes, and after each rush, not during rushes.
How can you improve as a manager? It is simpler than what you expect.
You need to remember you started off at the bottom and worked your way up. I will assume that you worked your way up by hard work and not by favoritism or manipulation. Just because you are now in management, does not mean you get to relax.
You need to know everything. Being a manager, you need to know how to use everything in your store. Once again, I will use fast food as an example. You need to know how to:
- take customers’ orders
- to count money
- to clean the dining room
- take out the trash
- run the machines
- clean the machines
- use the grill
- prepare the food
- ordering for the store
- handle customer complaints
- handle employee complaints
- count the cashier drawers
- bank drops
- keep the outside and inside of the store clean
- interview future employees
- train employees
- test employees
- and so much more……
Stop being a Boss
You may be a manager and a ‘boss’ by title, but you are more than that. You are a leader to your employees. They look up to you to lead them. To do so is to work with them, as a TEAM. Example: Closing, when I got my ‘manager’ work done I would help the rest of the team. I would help clean the appliances, the grill, dishes, I would take out the trash, and anything I could do to help them complete their duties. I did not stand back and bark orders and just stand around waiting on them. I jumped in and helped.
Take Control When Need Be
We all lean and talk when we should be stocking and cleaning. It happens, the solution is to make certain it does not happen constantly. I have had individuals come up to tell me their coworkers go wandering off. Disappearing for an hour or so, allegedly having a smoke break or taking the trash out. If your employees do those things or hanging out in a different area, there is a problem that needs to be resolved. You can try talking to the area supervisor to see why he/she is letting her team wonder off. The supervisor may be busy doing a job or the wondering employee(s) lied to their supervisor about ‘getting a drink,” or “taking a smoke break,” again the supervisor may not care. The aim is to stop the wondering employees and get them back to work.
Help your management team by making certain all employees are working. I have people coming up to me saying how some of their colleagues are just standing around and talking, not doing any work, or barking orders themselves. If you see the area supervisor having complications with certain employees, then provide help. Support the supervisor by backing his/her judgment to write them up. Threaten with decreasing the employee’s hours until they recognize they are there to work. Hard work equals a bigger paycheck; less work equals a smaller paycheck, no work equals no paycheck. At the grocery store I worked for, one of the store managers would not give hours to anybody who was not working or pulling their weight, or he'll give them one day (just a couple of hours) to see if they would improve. The employee either straighten up or quit. He gave the hours to those who wanted to work.
Help your team to improve, test them on their speed, accuracy, and knowledge. I was a floor supervisor at a grocery store; I had to evaluate the cashiers during peak times. From their communication with their customers, treatment of their customers, to how quick they got the customers through their lanes. At the fast food restaurant, I had to test the employees to make sure they knew what they were doing from the grill to counting the money back to the customers. The idea is to expect excellence, not just from yourself, but for the whole staff. Make sure your employees have their area clean and rush ready and inspection ready.
Trust your management team. Your franchise-managers, store managers, co-managers, assistant managers and supervisors, trust them. They have those titles for a reason like you have yours. So, trust in them, they know what they are doing. If you try to do everything yourself, you will drive yourself crazy. Delegation is the key.
In a nutshell, to be a good manager you need to be a good employee. To be a good manager lead your team, don’t boss your team. Remember, you are a team working together to reach a common goal, satisfied customers. Remember your team are humans, not robots (not yet, anyway). Communicate with all staff members, calmly without barking and the evil eye. Encourage your team, don’t discourage. Take charge when need be and trust yourself and your team. Once you deflate that ‘Big Ego’ power trip and work with everyone, you will notice a change in overall morale of the staff, how they treat each other and how they treat you. Remember, bad management leads to bad employees, which leads to bad customer service. Good Luck.