Remember when you were a kid – and you thought your parents had it made? After all, they could go to bed whenever they wanted. And, if they so chose, your parents could also eat ice cream for dinner.
Then, you became an adult and realized that your parents didn’t have it so easy. When you thought they were taking the world by storm after your bedtime, they were actually dozing off during Seinfeld reruns. Plus, after many a medical catastrophe, you now know that eating ice cream for dinner isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.
Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side. No more is this notion evident than when you graduate into a leadership position at work. Don’t get us wrong, this is a hugely beneficial benchmark in your career.
But as you had those minor moments of frustration with your manager (as we all do), you probably mistook their increased list of responsibilities as a free ride. Now, you’re a manager, and you’re beginning to see just how tough it can be to facilitate, coordinate, and motivate a team.
Don’t sweat it though, we’ve got you covered with some savvy management tips:
Think “Macro” instead of “Micro”
It’s incredible how although micromanagement is continually criticized in the professional world, many managers still make this fatal mistake.
We can only assume it comes down to self-unawareness and a matter of feeling in control of your team’s workflow.
As a manager, you’re relying on other people to do the job right. For new managers who’ve predominantly just been charged with their own work, this is a huge leap to make. You now must let go and be confident in your guidance and support for your team.
Don’t focus on minuscule details—think big picture. If the team is struggling with something, do what you can to pinpoint the problem. Then, offer advice and pass on wisdom rather than interfering and nitpicking with every step of the process.
Leave no stone unturned with your communications. That doesn’t mean prattle on endlessly during meetings. Just do everything in your power to be clear and concise.
Obviously, high-level communication is easier said than done – but keep editing yourself and improving as you go. Research the styles and techniques that work for other manages, then assess which methods generate the best results.
Also, be aware of your verbal and body language, as well as how you present yourself. For instance, if you’re overly aggressive or loud, you may come across as unapproachable. Or if you struggle to make eye contact and speak too softly, it’ll be hard to hold people’s attention. Furthermore, a lack of eye contact makes it hard to trust a speaker.
Patience is a Virtue
No matter your industry, your team will make mistakes. Especially new hires.
Well, managers are in a perpetual state of learning. And training staff while learning is incredibly valuable – but it can also be a combustible element. Grasping new concepts mixed with someone else’s blank slate can sometimes necessitate some deep meditative breathing.
Regardless, don’t lose your cool. Trust the organization’s hiring process and know that any missteps will be rectified. Even if a team member isn’t new, instead of “disciplining” them for coming up short, use it as an actionable teachable moment.
When motivated team members don’t feel like they’ll get lambasted for failure, they’re more likely to take risks that improve the overall business.
Know the Line
People management really is a delicate balance. You don’t want to be feared and loathed by your team – but you don’t want to be a pushover, either.
So, draw a line in the sand and make clear what is and isn’t acceptable. No, don’t walk around like the new sheriff in town. However, sometimes teams require an added bit of motivation—especially if they’re feeling a little too comfortable and unchallenged.
There’s no need to yell and scream. It’s a matter of keeping calm and collected while challenging any offending parties to improve their performance or behavior, depending on the scenario.
Lead by Example
One of the easiest ways to ‘lose the room’ and turn your team against you is failing to practice what you preach.
If you’re continually talking up arriving early and leaving late, you better be doing precisely that, day-in and day-out.
Do harp on your team about attention to detail? Then you’ll leave yourself open to significant ridicule if you send out emails with typos or reports with the wrong information.
Your team will take on your personality. So, if you’re saying one thing and doing something else, your staff will do the same.
Encourage Your Team to Take Ownership
It’s all too often that employees start feeling like insignificant cogs in a machine that can be easily replaced.
Even when things seem perfect, there’s a need to keep your team motivated and let them know they directly impact the business. This way, your staff will feel like a vital piece of the puzzle who’ll add input and make a real difference in revenue and operations.
Adapt to Any Situation
You’ll learn fast that things change on the fly in business, particularly in fast-paced, thriving organizations. Team members will get promoted, some will resign, and execs will change policies and procedures at the blink of an eye.
Some of these changes might not align with your skillset. This obstacle is part of being a manager. You can’t have a fear of leaving your comfort zone – you must be willing to fall flat on your face and learn quickly as a result.
Harness an Innovative Culture
It doesn’t matter what kind of company you work for – encourage your team to be creative. Whether it’s with organizational methods, sales techniques, team-building exercises, or anything else you can think of.
You might retort by saying, “if it isn’t broken, then why should we fix it?”
Well, you should analyze and assess things from every perspective, and listen to those directly involved in the process (i.e., your team). Failing to do so is an easy way to fall behind the times and lose your competitive edge.
We hope our people management tips help take your leadership game to the next level.