Whether you just landed that promotion or have been managing teams for a while, it’s always a good idea to check yourself against a few tried and true habits of a good manager. Yes, you’ll have days where you’re not your professional best, but if you’re able to stick to these 5 key behaviors, you’ll be sure to be the best boss around.
Accept the fact that, at times, you may not be communicating clearly.
Do you find yourself consistently repeating yourself or constantly feeling misunderstood by your team? If you’re frustrated that your team still doesn’t quite get something, you may need to look at your communication skills. Make sure you’re able to clearly outline goals, deadlines and purpose and that you’re communicating in a way that works for your team, not just for you!
Manage each person you work with as an individual.
A good manager will understand that each person comes with a different personality and set of motivators. To get optimal results from those around you, you must manage and motivate accordingly. Failing to do so could potentially lead to a decrease in an employee’s productivity and commitment.
Listen more than you talk.
You’d be surprised how much a struggling employee, and even successful ones, may need to talk about a particular issue but don’t necessarily feel supported to do so. Most employees are of the mindset that their honesty will be used against them. Open the door for honest dialogue with the intention of really listening to issues and concerns. Once you hear them out, work together to come up with a solution. Things that may seem small to you as a manager may weigh heavily on employees. Offering them a safe space to get something big or small off their mind is any easy thing to do. You’ll find you have a happier and more productive team if you do.
Don’t make your employees feel they have to defend themselves.
It’s hard enough for employees to be told their numbers are low, they’re not hitting their marks or are delivering sub-par work. Rather than starting your conversations with your ideas as to why they aren’t performing (that they will be forced to either defend or refute), let them be in control of the conversation. Ask open ended questions and let them talk. Starting with “I saw your numbers dropped and I wanted to know if something’s going on and if there’s anything I can do to help” is way more effective than “Your numbers have dropped and it seems like you’re distracted by something. You have to get those numbers back up or we’re going to have to figure something out.”
Don’t feel like you have to comment on everything.
Part of letting your employees take ownership of their work is to let them have total ownership. Marshall Goldsmith, renowned executive coach, has said that if your comment as a boss only makes something 10% better, it may not be worth mentioning at all. Why? Because this small act can unknowingly undermine the work your employee just put all their energy into. A 10% improvement is probably negligible and also quite possibly just a matter of taste or opinion. Rather than coming in and making a comment that in your opinion seemingly saves or elevates the project, think twice and ask yourself if it’s really necessary.