If there is one thing that unites a workforce it is a great manager, however all of us can share stories of managers who have caused problems rather than productivity. So, what makes a great manager? Here we look at four ways that managers can encourage, educate and inspire their team to make 2017 their best year yet.
Walk the talk
Anyone can read a book and pay lip service to great management skills, but do you practice what you preach? If you demonstrate what needs doing rather than just dictate to your team, then they are far more likely to step up and follow your lead. Furthermore, by demonstrating your skills first, you are reassuring your team that a) you know what you are doing, and b) you know what their job entails. Understanding the day to day activities of your team, and therefore understanding the struggles they face, allows you to be more empathic and this will build trust and relationship; two essential items in a productive happy team.
Stop look and listen
Great managers need to be great communicators, but barking orders, stats and strategies is only part of keeping a team moving forward. It is vital that you regularly stop and look around the workplace; see who is in, who is not, who is more productive, who is overworked and who is staying too late. Identifying changes in your employee’s routines and demeanour, whether that is due to pressures at work or at home, is crucial. If employees are noticed and listened to, they will feel valued and cared for. Teams that are valued are far more likely to work hard for you and the wider company, so stop speaking and start listening to increase your productivity the right way.
Let it go
To become a great leader, you need to be given the opportunity to lead, and empowering your team like this is exactly what you must do. Micro management is not great management, and although you may be happier with all your ducks in a row, your team are going to feel demoralised if you keep looking over their shoulder. Allow them the freedom to make mistakes and then help them get it right. Alternatively, the old adage ‘sink or swim’ is sometimes just what is needed to push team members out of their comfort zone, so a dip in the deep end might reveal some excellent leadership qualities in your staff.
To be a great manager you need to know a great manager. Hopefully this will be your direct line, but if not, it is vital that you regularly rub shoulders with managers who work well with their upline and downline. You also need to be aware of your own limitations, and don’t be afraid to let your team know what these are as well. Holding up your hands and saying I don’t know the answer but I know someone who does is more powerful than pretending you are the font of all knowledge. If you demonstrate your reliance on your manager, then your team are more likely to trust in and rely upon you. Humility is a valuable quality in a manager, and sadly a rare one in some corporate scenarios, so make sure that you lead as you would want to be led.