6 Tips for Auditing Manager Effectiveness
By Marla Rosner, Senior Training Consultant, MSA Worldwide
Franchise companies are not like other companies. Not only do most franchisors support franchise units, many have a substantial number of company-owned locations requiring their own infrastructure. There are managers at the home office and potentially hundreds, if not thousands of managers at the unit level, all focused on getting results through other people. Management effectiveness is critical.
How can franchisors and franchisees monitor manager effectiveness? What should you look for?
Following are tips for examining manager performance both at the unit level, and at the franchisor home office.
1. Is the manager a role model?
If the answer is “I’d like everyone reporting to this manager to pattern themselves after his or her interpersonal communication skills (no gossip, good eye contact, amiable greeting), reliability, solid work ethic, objectivity, sense of urgency to accomplish projects, personal presentation (e.g., appropriate attire, appropriate language at work, etc.)” – that’s a good thing. If that is not your answer, you have some coaching and development to do with that manager.
2. Does the manager convey to his or her team not only the team’s goals, but how their work fits into the franchise system's goals and strategy?
You can find this out through casual conversation with the manager’s direct reports. Also, whether you are the executive looking at corporate managers or the franchisee looking at unit managers, ask yourself if you’ve conveyed the company’s goals and strategies to the manager in question.
This communication should be a cascading process that starts at the top of the organization and works its way to all employees via their managers.
3. Does the manager provide clear direction to his or her direct reports?
This starts from the moment a new employee is brought onto the team. Does the manager have a checklist to onboard the new employee?
Are all employees given clear expectations for projects and performance? Does the manager make clear what interdependencies may be part of getting the job done; what people or departments need to be in the loop?
4. Does the manager assess what training and development needs each of his or her direct reports requires to be successful?
Every project or task requires certain knowledge and skills for successful accomplishment. Does the manager take into account the team’s repository of skills and knowledge, and do the projects or duties assigned match what each individual is capable of delivering? If not, does the manager take measures to augment employee skills and knowledge?
5. Does the manager have regularly scheduled meetings with his or her direct reports to provide direction and performance feedback, as well as being a sounding board for problem solving?
In an age when many managers’ plates are full to overflowing, the foundation of every effective management relationship – regular communication – often falls by the wayside.
In particular, the massive drift toward a reliance on electronic communication reinforces the illusion that everything can easily be communicated via email or text messages. If managers have shifted from face-to-face and/or phone meetings (in which more nuanced communication occurs) to mostly email or texting, it’s likely that they do not have their fingers on the emotional pulse of the team, e.g., individual project challenges, interpersonal communication issues with other team members, motivation issues, obstacles with resources or other departments, etc.
6. Does the manager provide positive acknowledgement for a job well done?
Research shows that the number one reason for leaving a job is a lack of recognition for contributions employees make on the job. Though company-wide programs that provide rewards and recognition are good, the manager’s acknowledgment of employee accomplishments has a much bigger impact on retention.
How do you know if managers are praising good performance? You can ask the manager directly for examples of the last time they provided positive feedback to someone about their work and be clear that you expect this to occur on a daily basis. Also, start by examining your own feedback habits. It’s likely that managers who report to you think of you as their role model and echo many of your management practices. Ask yourself, “Do I catch people doing things right? Or do I only make mention of problems and poor performance?” If your answer is the latter, you may need to modify your own management style before you can help your managers improve theirs.