Being a manager in any industry can be a fulfilling job, but it can also be a difficult one. You will need to find the right balance of friendliness and authority. You will need to create a good team atmosphere whilst achieving the bigger goals. So how do you strike that balance?
1. Do Your Job
First and foremost do your own job. Managing people isn’t an excuse to let them do the work whilst you look on. Of course, sometimes your job may involve being more strategic but your staff will respect you for doing what needs to be done and being willing to pitch in like everyone else at times. Many of us have had managers who use their role as an excuse to do less or attend more meetings. Get the balance right and earn respect from your staff.
2. Acknowledge The Positive
See the positives in your staff and their work. Don’t be one of those bosses who only sees what’s missing rather than what’s been achieved. It is demoralizing for staff to have someone only see what they have done ‘wrong’. Positivity breeds positivity. Genuine and meaningful praise goes a long way. If this is difficult for you, get in the habit of noting down positive things you notice about how your staff work. Give feedback regularly and let them know that you see the good work they do.
Things don’t always go smoothly in any workplace. You are a manager, so you must be willing to manage. Some people find it hard to set boundaries or give feedback but it is important to get over that hurdle. If you need some help with this don’t be afraid to ask your own boss for help or request training. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. You can make a work situation worse by not being clear with staff if you are hesitant about managing. People appreciate genuine leadership. Practice managing and making the tough decisions. These things get easier with practice but people will appreciate knowing where you stand and any changes they need to make.
3. Be Vulnerable
If you make a mistake, be big about it and apologize. It can be scary and seem like you are making yourself vulnerable, but your staff will appreciate your honesty. No one expects a manager to be super human. Everyone likes someone who takes responsibility for your actions. Being honest will help you create a culture of honesty.
4. Be Real With People
The way we work is changing. You don’t have to be superhuman or untouchable. Be the real human being that you are. Let people at work know about your life and find out about others. If you let people know the “real you” it is much easier than having different personalities for your work and home life.
Let your staff know what’s going on behind the scenes, as appropriate. If something will affect a member of staff, make sure they are included in the communication. This doesn’t mean you have to let your staff know everything. Sometimes keeping communications back until the correct time can save panic and needless worrying. Communicate appropriately and consistently but be aware of how communication (or lack of it) can affect your staff.
5. Lead By Example
If you want your staff to behave in a certain way (professional, good team players), then lead by example. It is not fair to expect your staff to do something if you are not doing it yourself.
6. Be Self Aware
Be aware of your moods and how you communicate. You may not realise how much of an impact you have on your team as a manager. You may know you are in a bad mood about the dog chewing your shoes this morning but staff may feel that they have done something wrong if they don’t know this! Be aware of how and what you communicate. Your team will pick up on it.
7. Have Fun
Having fun at work can help make the work easier for everyone, forge positive relationships and strengthen your team. There is usually room for more fun in any work environment, but if the nature of your work makes that difficult, be sure to schedule fun activities when you can. Meeting for lunch or drinks after work can help build relationships and help your team to see you and each other in a new light. If you create a positive work atmosphere it also becomes easier to deal with challenges as they arise.
8. Trust Yourself
At the end of the day, there is no one right way to be a manager. Trust yourself and learn through your mistakes. Managing others is a great way to develop and enhance your leadership skills and create a positive work experience for yourself and others.
Are you or have you been a manager? What advice would you add to this list?
(Image courtesy of planetlight under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.)
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