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Becoming a Resource
by Mike McKinley

Every business manager/leader needs to learn how to become a resource. Managers should ask themselves, “How can I develop myself and continue to develop the people around me?” Those who can relax their egos can even ask others to assist in the process. Here are a few suggestions:

Learn from other people's experience—Keep looking and asking others for help and feedback. There is no reason to redo what others have already done. Keep a journal if you desire. Who knows—it may even become a best-seller someday! Stay healthy—You can't be a resource if your human machine is not functioning. Mental and physical well-being is a constant struggle, but you need to make it a top priority. Use your time well—Constantly question the number of meetings your organization holds. (You don't want to die at a meeting; it looks bad in your obituary.) Balance home life and work—Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! A good resource person doesn't take a pager and cellular phone to a Little League game. Taking vacation is mandatory. And don't take just a day here and there. You must get completely away to allow yourself freedom, but more importantly, to allow your people to work independently of you. A manager who functions as a resource is different from a manager who functions as a dictator or a doer. If you want to become a resource to your people, you must:

Allow feelings.
This advice is probably the most difficult to take. Sometimes your heart has the right answer. Nothing is cut-and-dried (except at a hair salon).

Be open to employee concerns.
If managers provide the right environment, people will help them run the business. Meetings need to feature managers listening as well as talking. If you say you'll do something, do it. Then follow up, follow up, follow up.

Correct only to help.
Many times we hurt with words and body language. While correction of inappropriate or inefficient activity is important, how and when we do the correction has long-term benefits or detriments, depending on how we handle it.

Assign projects to help people progress.
Think through the following: How will this project help our organization and this person grow? What are the objectives and expected results? How will the communication work during the life of the project? What type of celebration will occur when the project is completed?

Support ongoing personal improvement in all employees.
Most organizations have some sort of personnel evaluation program. If there is not an educational program along with the evaluation process, then we've missed an opportunity to move people to the next level.

Choose the right kind of support.
Timing is everything, and individualized support is the key. What works for one person, won't work for another. When all else fails, ask your people how and when they want you to support them.

Be objective when listening.
Get the complete story, and make sure to ask questions while you are listening. Jumping to conclusions means you probably leaped too soon.

Help people develop their careers.
Determine how you can be the teacher. What are your short- and long-term plans to help people move their careers along? What will people have to give up to achieve their goals?

When managers become resources, their work often becomes more productive and less stressful, as does that of their workers. Everyone wins when people want to be at their jobs. Try it!

Michael McKinley, CSP, CPAE, is a professional speaker who builds and delivers personalized presentations on business topics for corporations and professional associations. He owns McKinley Companies, Inc., whose Thinking Publications division publishes resources for speech-language pathologists. Mike's Alive! Alive! Associates division markets his speaking and consulting services.

Copyright Michael McKinley. All Rights Reserved.

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