Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

A Lesson From Father Christmas: 7 Tips For Becoming a Great Manager

By Father Christmas | Dec 14, 2015 | Staff Retention

Father ChristmasTis’ the season to be jolly… so we thought we’d get a little more festive this week.

And who better to spread the festive cheer than the main man himself!

That’s right; we’ve invited Father Christmas to share with us how he manages to keep his little helpers engaged, happy and efficient throughout the year.

And let’s be honest, if there’s one team who are happy, pretty damn skilled and know how to hit deadlines – it’s the elves!

So here we are… your seven tips for being a better Manager, from Father Christmas.

1. Be Jolly.

santa smilingFirst things first, where have all the jolly people gone?

I know, the world is only getting tougher and more competitive but it’s your job, as the Manager, to keep your staff upbeat, positive and motivated.

I simply can’t imagine anything worse than watching my elves work away, miserable and demotivated!

They are so much more likely to respond to a jolly boss who is friendly, happy and who takes the time to have a chat with them, than a miserable so-and-so (have you never heard of Mr. Scrooge?)!

The point is; engaged and happy staff will be more efficient, loyal and will work harder for your business – it really is win-win!

2. Be Firm.

Santa with a naughty listOf course, just because you’re jolly, doesn’t mean you should be a pushover.

Nice behaviour should be rewarded. Bad behaviour should not! Why do you think I have my lists?

Unfortunately, there are some who would take advantage of good-natured managers (their names crop up on my naughty list every year).

Perhaps they’re always running late or can’t quite seem to knuckle down to work. Maybe they bring down the rest of the office by complaining about others… all because they can get away with it.

In the case of these bad eggs, the best thing you can do is act quickly.

Offer them any support they need and always give warnings before making any rash decisions, but if they won’t change, then perhaps it’s time to reassess their suitability at your business.

3. Set Clear Expectations.

I’m pretty lucky in that way – my team know exactly what’s expected from them every year and they also know that they have a (very) strict deadline to stick to.

Why do you think companies like Netflix and Virgin can afford to offer their staff unlimited holidays? Because in the back of their mind, their staff still always know what must be done and by when.

(To learn more about such a policy could work for your business, check out this article from HR Magazine.)

Recruiter Pro Tip.

When setting goals for your staff, don’t forget that they should always be SMART!

  • S – Specific.
  • M – Measurable.
  • A – Achievable.
  • R – Relevant.
  • T – Time Based.

You need to challenge your employees so that they don’t get complacent, but there’s really no point setting goals that they could never achieve. That’s a recipe for an unhappy workforce.

You can come up with smart goals for all of your staff members, not just salespeople – a certain number of projects to finish, a number of support calls to make, so many words to write…

And if they hit their targets, always reward them!

4. Keep up with the times.

Hipster Santa

Perhaps Hipster Santa is a little too far!

I’ve been around for a long time and things have certainly changed since little boys and girls would ask for spinning tops and skipping ropes for Christmas.

Can you imagine the complexities of building an iPad?

To be a great manager, you must be ready for change and to adapt the way you and your team work, to become more efficient and more relevant.

Always invest in training and never turn someone down if they want to learn and grow.

Offering such opportunities will increase employee engagement and happiness (they’ll care about your business) and it will also mean you have more skills at your fingertips… so why not?

5. Hire well.

bad elfThis is a strange one because it seems so simple, yet people often ignore it.

It’s essential that you are fussy when you hire new staff for your business.

(I hired a human once – that went awfully wrong…)

Not only is it important that they have the right skills and knowledge, but they also need to be able to fit in with the team, without clashing and without causing trouble.

There are plenty of people on my naughty list who are incredibly intelligent and very skilled, but just don’t play well with others.

Don’t be tempted to sacrifice the team culture for the sake of a particular skill set – you’ll regret it.

(Of course, other than the culture implications, it will also cost you dearly).

6. Nurture your team.

office christmas party - employees drinkingIt is vitally important that you nurture your staff as as team.

It’s something that managers tend to forget about, especially when it’s an incredibly busy time of year, but having a team that work together, towards the same goal and actually care about each other and the business is like finding gold dust.

Host team-building events throughout the year (not just at Christmas), come up with team targets, encourage staff to bond and you’ll soon notice an increase in productivity and cheer.

Humans are sociable creatures (for the most part) and building relationships will make them happier; they will work harder to make your business a success.

7. Be nice.

Angry SantaDo you think I ever shout at my elves?

Believe me, during December, things do get a little heated, but I just take a timeout, sit myself down with a mug of hot chocolate and relax for five minutes.

I have authority because my little helpers respect me, not because I scare the living daylights out of them.

People never really respect a manager they’re afraid of, they won’t speak up when you need them too and as soon as they get a chance they’ll be out of the door.

You do need to be firm and your staff do need to know that there are consequences, but you don’t need to build a culture based on fear.

If you do – then you’ve lost control – and you’re officially a bad boss.

End the year on a high!

As the year end approaches, it’s high time you say a big thank you to your staff for their hard work.

I’m sure you’ve either already had or got a Christmas party booked, but there are plenty of other little rewards you could incorporate into the festive season (click here for some ideas).

If there are any issues or problems, try and sort them out now so you can enter 2016 on a good, positive note!

Did you find these 7 tips on how to be a great Manager helpful?

If you’d like to read more similar articles, click here to subscribe to the Coburg Banks blog and receive a weekly update with the latest, most relevant guidance on attracting, assessing and engaging new staff members.

Be good – don’t forget… I’m always watching.

- Father Christmas
Anthony Hughes as Santa

Father Christmas

Father Christmas, AKA Santa Claus,  is a rather round & jolly deliveryman. Every year, on 24th December, he flies across the world in his reindeer-pulled sleigh with gifts for nice children. His current whereabouts are unknown, but rumour has it that he lives in the North Pole and commutes to a factory in Lapland every day to manage his team of toy-making elves.

> More blog posts by Father Christmas

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