Whether you’ve been slowly working up to a management role, you’ve jumped straight into one, or you’ve been finding your feet for a while, there are plenty of ways you can improve your approach, in order to have a positive impact on your team and earn their respect.
You may have an impressive amount of sector experience behind your back but managing people is a whole other skill. Being honest, genuine, and having the ability to make timely decisions are all necessary skills from strong managers. As Inc.’s career expert and LinkedIn influencer Jeff Haden points out: “Good bosses look good on paper. Great bosses look great in person; their actions show their values.”
Getting management ‘right’ is just as much about learning to build good working relationships with your employees as it is about knowing your ‘stuff’. Read on for seven actionable ways to boost your career and join the ranks of exceptional managers.
Lead By Example
You might not think it at first but the persona you portray can definitely rub off on your team. Think about it, employees will look to you to take the lead: everything from your actions and behaviour should set the example for them to follow.
Having high standards gives you a better chance for these to be reflected among your team. If you are producing quality work, visibly putting in the hours, and you have a positive demeanour, this can go a long way.
In order to earn the respect of your colleagues, they’ll need to be able to relate to you. If you’re that boss who enters the office every morning in a bad mood, seems to be sat daydreaming all day, is out the door again before the clock strikes, and takes extended annual leave, your colleagues will notice this and be far less motivated to do their own work.
Set the bar for them to work towards by being conscious of your own behaviour and actions.
Tailor Your Approach
Contrary to what you might think, there’s no one way to be a manager. In the same way as you’ll need to set individual goals for your employees, you should tailor your management approach to each member.
Everyone benefits from a different style of management. David Goleman’s outline of emotional leadership styles is widely accepted among the creative industries. He suggests that there are six leadership styles:
- The coercive style takes a dictator approach, leading every member of the team and making all of the decisions and outlining a plan from the outset.
- The authoritative style focuses on an end goal or vision for the future, inspiring others to work towards this direction.
- The affiliative style is all about teambuilding and creating emotional bonds to help your team succeed as a whole and dispel any conflict.
- The democratic style requires you to be a strong listener, which is especially helpful when trying to involve many people in the decision-making process and earn a wide consensus.
- The pacesetting style succeeds when a manager sets the example by working to high standards and motivating the team to do likewise.
- The coaching style nurtures individual strengths, encouraging people to build the skills that will allow them to become future leaders.
Applying this to your day-to-day management role you might find that some people work most effectively if they are constantly reminded about deadlines, others prefer to be left to their own devices to conscientiously complete tasks, some team members may achieve the most when they are given the chance to work collaboratively, and others still benefit from regular face-to-face meetings to catch up vocally on progress.
Stay in Touch with Your Team
As mentioned before, playing the absent boss card is unlikely to sit well with your team. Schedule in regular one-to-one meetings as well as team catch-ups – these are not only beneficial for you as a manager, but also for each individual.
Presenting yourself as a boss who your team can talk to in confidence (especially about sensitive topics) is really important. Show that you respect each member of the team and are always there as a listening ear and to offer support. The best bosses outline their transparency from the beginning.
Inspire and Encourage Career Progression
Harnessing your whole team’s potential is crucial in any management role, but most important of all is to highlight each individual’s strengths (and weaknesses), setting goals to match these.
Especially among younger employees who may be fresh out of university, the manager-employee relationship can take the form of a teacher-student relationship. With this in mind, many people will want a manager who they can learn from, and one who will outline a career progression path for them to journey along.
Sit down and talk to your employees individually to ask about their future career goals and align a progression plan with these in mind.
Learn to Delegate Certain Work
Delegating work is often a problematic subject. On the one hand you don’t want to look like you’re shirting your responsibilities onto someone else, but on the other hand you can’t juggle everything yourself.
If certain aspects of your day-to-day or weekly routine are rather time-consuming it might be worth considering if these are things that can be passed on to a member of your team to complete. It may seem natural to want to hoard certain tasks or duties – whether to prevent someone else the pain of an arduous task or through fear that someone else won’t be able to complete the task to as high a standard nor as quickly – but sharing your own workload can have many benefits.
When performed well, delegation can free up a lot of your time, letting you get on to more important tasks. Also, it gives your team the chance to learn and develop new skills. Just remember: you’ll need to make sure that the person you delegate work to is completely clear on the task, how to complete it, and the timeframe they should work to.
Acknowledge and Celebrate Successes
Feeling valued within a company is a key part of employee satisfaction. Therefore, as a great manager one of your priorities should be to highlight and reward successes where appropriate. Acknowledging when a member (or the whole) of your team does well creates the kind of positive buzz that every office needs. Placing your colleagues in the spotlight – whether by vocally commending them, by offering a personal gesture, or by presenting some kind of reward – can keep motivation levels high and, in the long term, boost retention.
After all, who doesn’t like being complemented, congratulated or rewarded based on the amazing work or results they put so much time and effort into achieving.
Forgive and Forget
On the flip side, if an employee makes a mistake it can be easy to hold a grudge or come down hard on them. As a manager, an important part of your role is to work together to resolve issues, complications or errors. Think of these moments as minor weaknesses of your employees and help them to build up the confidence and skills to prevent similar incidences occurring in the future.
Which skill do you think is the most essential for being a better manager? Let us know on Twitter @CelebriciousCom.