Unless you have been incredibly lucky, you’ve probably had a bad manager at least once in your career. This doesn’t mean they weren’t a good person, they just fell into some easy management pitfalls.
Whether it’s your first leadership role, or you’re just checking your strategy, we’ve compiled 8 simple rules to help you overcome those same hurdles.
Do not try and do everything yourself. You will not be able to.
Delegation is your friend – it breeds both responsibility and accountability. In order to delegate successfully, you need to know your employees. What are they good at? Do they work well under pressure? There’s no point giving Nervy Norris the task that has a next-day-deadline, no matter how good he is at the subject.
You want to play to their strengths but develop their weaknesses. If there’s an opportunity for an employee to pick up some new skills on a relaxed project, it will benefit you in the long run while showing them you trust them.
For a comprehensive set of steps on how to delegate successfully, read this article by The Guardian.
2. DO NOT MICROMANAGE
The Journal of Experimental Psychology has shown that obsessing over your employees work, and even hovering over them, is detrimental to their performance.
Micromanaging shows lack of confidence in both your team and yourself. You should trust and respect them enough to let them make their own decisions. But you should also trust your decision to hire them and the methods of training you have given.
3. COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
Effective communication is linked to productivity.
I can gurantee that you’ve been in a meeting that has lasted too long. Your attention dwindles and your productivity hits the floor. When you are the one giving the meetings, keep them brief. Get everyone together for a general meeting, to keep them in mind of the bigger picture, but do the specifics individually or in smaller groups. This allows for clear instruction for each task and will improve focus.
Just as crucial: when you are giving instruction, explain yourself. Let your employees know how their efforts will affect the overall goal. This will make them feel included but will also let them understand why they are doing their task.
4. LET THEM MAKE MISTAKES
And, when they do, let them learn from them. It has been scientifically proven that we do learn best from out mistakes. It will happen.
Never berate them infront on co-workers or clients, call them into your office. Stay calm and outline the problem. Let them explain their mindset and motives and actually listen. Ensure they understand the issue and then stop. Ask them how they could learn from it and then let them get back to their work. Shouting someone into the ground for 20 minutes is a waste of your time and theirs and will create resentment.
5. GIVE FEEDBACK
40% of workers become ‘actively disengaged’ when they don’t recieve feedback and 65% said they wanted more.
It has been shown that the best frequency for feedback is monthly. This needs to be detailed. Too often and it will prevent employees from seeing the bigger picture, too rare and it will lead to apathy. Nobody wants to wait until the end of the quarter to hear about something they did 2 months prior.
Keep engaging with your employees throughout the month, weekly reviews are a great was to do this, but don’t give overly-detailed feedback each time. With new employees, you are benefitted by giving corrective feedback more immediately as it is a learning curve but, once they settle in, make it a monthly routine.
Keep it constructive. While you should definitely praise their efforts, explain where they can improve and, more than that, discuss.
6. EMPOWER THEM
They’re not going to start a revolution, or ‘take back control’. Surveys find that feeling valued improves performance in the workplace.
Encourage your employess to suggest improvements of internal systems or products and discuss them. Ask for their input and, if they aren’t quite hitting the mark, let them know why. A fresh perspective is invaluable. If you want to hear their ideas, they will want to give them to you.
7. DON’T GOSSIP
While there is temptation to seem approachable, and even fun, by partaking in the office gossip, don’t give in to it. It is unprofessional and will have the opposite effect you desire.
Similarly, when you are given instruction from those above you, don’t talk negatively about the decisions made or the people making them. This destroys the chain of command and completely undermines authority for all involved. It will set the example that your employees can talk about your decisions in that way and offers up an immediate lack of trust.
If you don’t agree with a project set by your own manager, discuss it with them. When you address your team you have to be as on board with the project as possible. If you aren’t, they will be uninspired and will not look at their tasks within the project with a positive mindset.
8. BE PRESENT
Always let your employees know that you are available to help them. Check in with each one at different points in the week to ask how they’re finding their work.
Walk around. They will be disconnected from you if you are only ever in your office and will only speak to them by apointment. Create a good relationship with your employees because it will encourage them to do well.
The overall message here is to be nice but professional. The environment in which you work will vary greatly from industry to industry but people management alters very little. Keep the team positive. Communicate with them and trust them.
If you have the experience in your field and think you’ve got what it takes to move into a managerial position, we have plenty of senior appointments on our Job Board. Follow the link to apply!