There are two types of managers in business. You have your good managers who encourage their team and make the office an enjoyable place to work, and you have your bad managers who create a toxic working culture that doesn’t just stall productivity, but ends up setting it back time and again.
As a manager, it’s obvious which side of the coin you want to be on. But how do you know you’re a good manager. It’s not enough to be their friend, you need to act like a manager, and part of this is learning how to lead the way effectively.
Once you get to the manager position, you might think that your days in the trenches are over. Now, you can sit back, relax, and watch your team do all the running around. However, this is not the way an effective leader works. It is the opposite.
Ask yourself how you would feel if you were forced to go above and beyond expectations while your boss sat around waiting to take the credit. If this sounds like something that would demotivate you, you’ll understand why it’s vital that managers get involved with the business on a more in-depth level. It’s not enough to stand and watch. You must be a part of the team and help with projects and tasks, no matter how grimy they might seem.
Listen To Everybody
Even if you’ve made it to a management position, this does not mean you know it all. Bad managers will take their word as gospel and fail to listen to what others suggest and recommend.
The problem with this is that you have only your perspective on things, and while this perspective can be useful, it is not always the best way to approach challenges. By listening to your team, you can get various ideas that can help tackle problems and overcome them with ease. What’s more, people like to be listened to and heard, so creating a culture like this will ensure everyone can confidently have their say.
Practice What You Preach
It’s not enough for you to say how to do things or which measures to take. You must practice what you preach. If you fail to do this, you don’t give your staff any reason to follow your lead.
Whether you want to introduce eco friendly branding to increase sustainable practices and boost your reputation or try to encourage a healthier working environment, the onus is on you to lead the way when it comes to these changes. You can’t expect your team to adopt new practices and habits merely because you said so. No matter how well you get along with them, you must show that you are willing to push yourself.
Be Careful With Your Words
Poor word choices can have a severe impact on team morale. Even if you consider yourself naturally sarcastic or use tough love to motivate your team, you must adapt your approach to prevent the slippery slope of abuse occurring within the office.
The idea of workplace banter can create a toxic environment, so be careful how you speak to people, as your staff may see you use overtly negative (and even abusive) language and take that as a model for how to talk to one another. Not only is this unprofessional, but it can also spiral out of hand faster than you expect. Treat each other with respect and address any serious concerns over performance in private while praising in public.
Being the manager means being in control and responsible for everything. Because of this, it’s very easy to fall into micromanagement mode. However, people want autonomy in their professional lives. While they will accept guidance here and there, they will not appreciate the feeling of you breathing down their neck and checking in on them every 10 minutes.
If you trust your team to do something, they will perform better. They will not experience as much stress, which will result in a successful project regardless of its scale.
One of the best traits of a good leader is to take responsibility if something goes wrong, even if it was not you who made the mistake. As with any position of power, the buck stops with you, and if you don’t believe you can handle it, you shouldn’t be a manager to begin with.
If you try to pass on the blame to your team, you will come across as cowardly and incapable of owning up to mistakes. This is not what people want to see from a leader, so you must avoid it at all costs.
Leading The Way
Too many managers fall into the trap of letting everyone else do the heavy lifting for them. But this is not how you successfully build an environment where everyone works for everybody else. If you want to cement yourself as a good leader and support your team in their professional growth, you must lead from the front rather than barking orders from the rear.
HR Future Staff writer.