Global Leadership Network UK & Ireland

GLN UK & Ireland

A Beginner’s Guide to Managing Staff – Part 3: The Foundations – John Truscott

One-to-one meeting

We’ve considered your attitude and personality. Now for something much more basic.

You cannot manage anyone if you do not understand what they are supposed to be achieving, the kind of person you need them to be, and the context of the employment agreement.

If you manage someone, your job is to ensure you both know these three points, check them out regularly, and tweak them if necessary.

Job description

No surprises here. But is this a good job description? Is it a short document that breathes life into this post or a boring listing that has been based on a clumsy pro-forma? Too many I see resemble shopping lists. Think in rather different terms.

1. Why am I here?
The first part answers this key question. This is not the same as a summary of No.3 below. Construct it in these terms: “This person’s purpose is to …. so that ….”. It needs to challenge, to clarify, to enable priorities to be set and to get the person out of bed each morning.

2. Whom do I relate to?
Responsible to, responsible for, liaising with: a short listing of groups or individuals that the post-holder has to relate to in some way. They cannot work solo.

3. What do I do?
A short list of broad responsibilities for most jobs, giving enough framework to be clear but not so much as to stop the post-holder using initiative.

For more on this, check out this link: https://www.bit.ly/eTVbLO.

Person profile

This may come as a surprise. Most posts have a person profile for interview which is then filed. But the Bible says little about job descriptions and a great deal about the kind of people we should be.

So why not see this as a current document, to be checked over every year and to challenge the post-holder to live up to whatever is described in it affecting experience, personal qualities, skills, work experience and Christian character?

In my experience such practice is as rare as those blue moons. I would love to see that change.

It will show up training needs, challenge the worker to live up to the requirements of the post, and link job performance and discipleship. In Christian service, character matters.

Employment terms

My third piece of foundational paperwork may make you wonder if I’m really into controlling the worker. Not so! But an athlete does not win races without discipline. An employee will not develop into the best they can be without their contract.

The employment terms and conditions tell manager and worker where the boundaries lie. If they say the hours are 40 a week and leave is taken with certain permissions, the worker cannot just choose to take a day off. This document should only have to be called upon when things go wrong, but it’s part of the employment deal.

So there are my three basic documents on which to build development. Each one has a different use, but each is vital. The manager needs to hold and to know all three. My experience is that they are often forgotten or ignored.

John Truscott