I have been in private business, Design and printing to be exact for more than 10 years. I started out as a one man team. Designing, following up prints and supervising Delivery through the numerous and trust worthy Boda Bodas in Kampala then. That simple a tusk it was! Clients had to send in their work via email and I had designing space at home. I have always believed in my products and services marketing themselves through clientele referrals. My concept has been “A happy Client means atleast 5 happy referrals”. This has been achieved through detailing clients’ needs, advising the clients in design concepts and functionality there by kicking out the enormous marketing budgets and teams. In short Business grew so did the clientele and automatically the team. I have never held interviews for my team but entirely based on my ‘gut feelings’ for the person holding out for a slot. I have had to personally train and impart skills, though the time to commit is not available any more.

The KLH executive management coaching program for leaders has been designed to impart management skills for business owners like me. If there a heart beat in executive management then it rhymes Hands on and Check-ins. This, I take with me from this management class.

  1. Hiring a team: As earlier confessed, I have never officially hired a team, but always believed in people’s willingness to work and my ability to personally train them in the skills I needed from them. This is changing with the enormous clientele demand and growth of the team. Currently, I have to hire professionals; this management class has given me insight on how to hire superstars, stating what I really want, building a pool of candidates, screening candidates, looking out for ‘Must haves’ and ‘Nice to haves’ and picking the right pod out of the pool. It is hitting the bull’s eye in terms of building a perfect and diverse team of professionals.
  2. Managing a team: Leading a team is not having the best of titles but working towards having an optimum best output of results and services from the team, discovering each member of team’s super powers, having a hands-on and check-ins approach for the team. This motivates the team for better results. I have had to focus more on creating high performance cultures in office by being relentless in pursuit of success; have the team give and scrutinize ideas, being accountable to the team, enforcing transparency and mission integrity. I have had to review my areas of responsibilities, realigning of my team’s roles which has relatively eased the clashing and tension hence better yields. The teams’ strategy has been resonated and realistic goals and timelines set for various activities.
  3. Delegating Effectively: Truth be told, one can only be in a place at a time, do one task effectively at a time! There is a lot to do in a short period of time. This has stretched me and my team to the effect that we are thin on ground. The executive coaching class has taught me to learn and evaluate my team. Performance evaluations give you an insight about your team’s grey areas and strengths which eases the manager’s effective delegation capabilities. Effective delegation makes the business entity effectively and smartly achieve more with in less time and with a small team. Beating clients expectations and securing that deal.
  4. Developing my team: Through this class I have realized that, developing my team largely depends on check-ins and performance evaluations of the individual team members. Performance evaluations is entirely a new concept but integral part of team development. This highlights the team’s best performed activities, those that need polish up, and those that need introduction to develop skills. For long I have been giving unclassified feedback to both clientele and my team. Largely it has been corrective feedback and this makes the team act defensive, the client feels helpless. My take away is to give Positive, Developmental and Corrective feedback where necessary. This is turning us into a team of high performers. Also, we are working on our personal relationships and celebration of personal milestones so that members feel part of this team.
  5. Exercising authority: One of the topics that stood out for me was exercising Authority over the team. This topic highlighted how to be an assertive manager and how to handle rewards and punishments for the team. Rewards and Punishments must be clearly spelled out for the team. Though I still believe balancing WIMPINESS, TYRANNY and ASSERTIVENESS depending on the situation and team at hand, gives off desired results.

In conclusion As person striving to be a better manager, I have had to review my personal managerial behavior and plan to work on; managing my calendar better, creating slices, delegation using comparative advantage, giving feed back to both the team and clientele, having business idea development meetings with clients, being more of an assertive manager. Most importantly, good managers are always hands on!