Rule No 1 – The Functions of a Manager are clear!
Pay Yourself First
In essence, the functions of a manager are crucial. That said, “Paying yourself first”is probably one of the most underrated or forgotten parts of your functionality and therefore your income stream which you can take for granted. How can you be happy managing your team if you haven’t got your self worth right? Stick with me as this will be a light bulb moment for some of you or a lay down in a dark room for others. But first create a file in the cloud for your personal use only. Call it (Your Name – Career Plan). Here are some excellent free tools:
You should be able to access this 24/7 wherever in the world you are either on your smart phone, tablet or PC. Furthermore – you will have all these important documents to hand without having to search endlessly through your work PC or even worse that allusive hard copy.
The 3 Questions you need to ask yourself to Function as a Manager
- Do you understand your job description?
- Is your remuneration package reflective of your responsibility?
- Do you have a personal development career plan?
Functions of a Job Description for a Manager
When we first accept the position there is, in all honesty, functions of the job we will never do or even attempt to do. In reality all JDs are outdated. A relic document of the HR dept who have never updated the specification……why would they? I mean…. the Job is the Job! Despite this I have known executives who have not had a JD reviewed in 10 years, or even, HR did not even have a copy. In comparison the employees didn’t have a copy either and have drifted into new responsibilities without even knowing it. Then again, I have also known junior managers to balk at what their actual duties are so its always good to have them refreshed and up to date to kindly remind them. Let’s get back to you.
So, let’s tackle the functions of a manager head on:
Definition of a Job Description
- Dust down the JD. Speak to HR. Obtain a copy and read it thoroughly. Then read it again and highlight any parts of it that quite frankly you or your team are or are not responsible for. For deeper understanding of your role copy paste the JD into a word cloud and like magic your most key constituent behavioural parts will leap out at you. This applies if you are in a new position or been at the company years. This is an actual example for a Sales & Marketing Director role for a Logistics Business. A main board position reporting to the MD. It is headed up by the following brief: Responsible for Marketing, Lead generation, The sales process, Sales solutions, New customer uptake, Growth of existing customers.
So there you have it the three main focus points:
Develop – Business – Customers.
© Follow The Leader 2020
What Job Description?
- Ensure that your JD is reviewed yearly. In some cases, if there are added manage responsibilities that you have had to pick up during the course of the financial year, the JD is all written up to justify that increase in salary. Even more important if the managment responsibilities within the JD are linked to a bonus.
- Within a JD you may also get an Org chart. Review it. I jest not, you might find your budget is being used up by staff who are not even in your team. Or you get to see staff who are on long time sick that nobody seems to talk about anymore or even special dispensation for a staff member that was only due to last 3 weeks but 18 months later it’s still happening. Call it a legacy issue……get to HR and get it reviewed. Your P&L will thank you for it.
- Repeat again for your staff to complete. Explain the reasoning and ask them to be brutal but honest. The functions of a manager should always be transparent. Note in calendar and review every 12 months.
- Action – Back up the JD in your personal cloud file. One day you may need this.
Now stop shaking your head. “Of course it’s right I’m not daft”. Look, the point to this is are you really maximising your functions as a manager? Let me explain:
- Are you maximising your pension? Remember that pension you signed for that flopped through your letterbox one Saturday morning. Sure, I know you signed it, but did you really understand it. I mean REALY UNDERSTAND IT? Most company pensions will contribute a % if you contribute a %……but have you asked if you have reached the maximum input? You may be pleasantly surprise as an extra 1% from you may result in another 2% by the company and a timely added contribution from HMRC as well.
Do you understand your pension?
- Do you understand the options you have of how your pension is invested? Call the HR dept & Pension providers and ask what fund you are contributing too. I am not a financial adviser but do look out for and focus on:
- What are the annual charges?
- How exactly is your fund managed……and in what? Global, UK Or EU investments.
- What is the annual return year on year? See Morning Star for a good appraisal of the performance.
- Assess the performance and move to the best strategy for you. A great reference point is The Escape artist.
- Action – upload to your cloud.
How many pensions do you have?
- Combine pensions. How many pensions do you think you have? The days of final salary have gone but if like me you have 3 or 4 pensions languishing and performing at under 3% per year consider consolidating in a SIPP. Vanguard offer excellent financial products that could get those pensions combined working for you at a more ambitious return you will probably be experiencing. Meanwhile, keep paying into your company scheme as well. The functions of a manager are long term.
- Bonus scheme. If you can’t explain it to yourself under 60 seconds you don’t really understand it. What are the key elements for you to hit the bonus? EBITA? Sales turnover? Cost reduction? OTIF? Ensure you understand the key metrics. If in doubt go and speak to finance. Once finance confirm the mechanics of it set up a daily/weekly monthly KPI report to ensure you track your key metric. Action – upload to the cloud.
- As above – repeat for your team. You will be astounded how few understand the bonus system. Dear God….and this is the team you are relying on to hit YOUR bonus. If in doubt how to approach this go and try the Van Halen method. You will of course get a whole host of reasons as to why they don’t understand it:
- “I’ve never had a bonus, so I’ve given up thinking about it”
- “I don’t need the money”
- “I didn’t know I qualified for a bonus”
- Company car. Whilst I appreciate the thought of the new A5 Audi S hatchback is appealing can I ask you how much tax you are paying? A function of a manager is not to pay tax when you can legally avoid it. The cost of a company car is without doubt one of the biggest drains on your personal salary. Add the fuel card benefit as well and the cost racks up. There’s a specific tax associated with your company car. How much you pay depends on things like fuel type, CO2 emissions data and the brand and model. The HMRC class the company car as a ‘benefit in kind’ – or BIK – and add the vehicle’s value to your salary. And even the most tax-ignorant among us know this means unsavoury news come filing day. The taxman do cometh. The addition could push you into another tax threshold. Therefore, someone who is below the tax threshold of £11,500 may well go from paying zero tax to 20% on anything above that. For those who were earning £45,000 before receiving a company car (just inside the 20% tax bracket), the Audi would certainly push you into the 40% tax bracket – which could mean a hefty tax bill. If in doubt do your homework and calculate your car tax at HMRC.
- Generally speaking, one of the best kept secrets in most companies is the car allowance or even “opt out scheme”. In fact, companies will deter you from this as they want the best buying price with the lease company…. more cars leased better deal for the business. That’s not the best deal for you. In all instances always exploit the car allowance scheme you will save £s per calendar/tax year and that is straight into your pocket. In practice you pay tax on the car allowance and your salary at source. You also have the advantage of picking the car you want to the spec you require. Bear in mind you don’t always have to pick the car nearest to your allowance. On the whole, I’d step down one and invest the rest in your company pension. If you’re lucky to already own a car you really have hit the jackpot. Granted you will have to pay for your insurance, servicing but at the end of the year you will have saved.
- Perks. Do you stay in hotels or fly? In any case, ensure you select a company where you can glean points. Points make prizes. To illustrate, my business trips took me all over Europe and I stuck with one brand whilst ensuring I stayed within the company guidelines. This resulted in me taking my family to Florida for a week & stayed in a Holiday Inn. When I checked out, I owed $1.98 for a call that I had made. I ensured that when I was collecting the points, I stayed at a Holiday Inn, & paid with my IHG card to double the points. As a result I figured I could have stayed in a Holiday Inn for 6 months without paying a penny. Always, always collect the points. That 2 night a month stay for the board meeting in Hampshire each month will glean results sooner than you think. Just as important you will get a room upgrade in most cases. The experts are The Points Guy UK. These chaps take it to another level?
- Salary. Are you paid enough for your current position? It is always healthy once very 6 to 12 months to benchmark your responsibilities and salary. This is a basic principle in functioning as a manager. LinkedIn provides a really good guide to see if you are within the right salary band. More importantly, don’t be afraid of having that discussion with your HR team regards your worth….especially if you have excelled within your appraisal KPIs.
- Expenses. Do you really claim all your expenses, or do you let the odd lunch / coffee slip by because you lost the receipt? In addition, do you actually know what you can claim for? It’s amazing that most companies will allow for broadband costs, but we fail to claim for it and if you work from home ensure that you are claiming from the HMRC for the costs associated as such.
There is a whole host of receipt trackers for smart phones which are ideal. These are my favourites:
Do you have a management career plan?
Well do you? Do you know where you want to go? Have you assessed what skills you need to take the next step to function as a manager? Do you dread the board meetings because you don’t really understand EBITA, the PESTEL analysis that everyone keeps talking about or the new forecasting tool which quite frankly seems like a PHD in maths.
Please, please do not become one of those grey people who state “I’m happy in my job as I am”. If so…….hear me out. I don’t think for one moment when you were skipping around the playground in your early years that your future life was solely within the operations or sales department of a manufacturing plant for garden furniture.
Appraisal. Do you have one? I know the HR Manual dictates that you should have one but do you? To begin with like me you will/may experience the normal appraisal nonsense that seems to happen every year to justify a managers bonus. All done in 5 mins the day before Xmas eve. But the point is it’s more than just a poor attempt to justify the bonus. So what is it really? Without doubt, any professional appraisal should detail your KPIs for the year, what training you require and exactly what your objectives and career aspirations are within the business.
In short, this is your salary increase foundations for the future. How can any business develop succession planning unless they sit with their staff and spend quality time to discuss. Ideally, I would advise this is done quarterly to ensure both you and your team are on the right track. It also ensures that you/or your staff can identify issues both inside or outside of the business. In fact this is key in performance management and gives you the path for you to build your career and find the managers of tomorrow. Your appraisal is you career plan. Load it up in the cloud!
Last but not least, it’s equally important to translate your key functional managerial achievements, KPIs and future foundations of your career appraisal into your CV. Always, always have this document updated and loaded in your cloud. The rules for CVs are simple but effective if done in the right way or devastating if done incorrectly. Nevertheless, some of the CVs I have seen have been toe curling and that’s from candidates who boast MBAs, private education and an over reliance on a 6 page CV.(yes seriously 6 pages…..with a facial picture to boot).
Review all of these management functions actions every 3 months….it will take you no longer than 1 hour. Action one hour blocked in your diary as personal development time for you. Pay yourself first. Why wouldn’t you? It is one of the most important functions of a manager.