From self-reflection to action: how to improve your management skills
You’re trying to be a better manager. But search: “How to improve your management skills,” and…
Not everyone is cut out to be the leader of the pack. And every now and then, companies don’t necessarily get it right when appointing a manager to be the leader of a department.
As we’ve stated before people don’t quit their job, they quit their bosses.
So, if a company does not have the right people in leadership positions, it’s safe to say that it will damage the company’s turnover rates and also the employees’ attitudes for the company.
I know a lot of hiring managers, recruiters, and human resource practitioners will look at a resume for past experience and look for something to be wowed by, but then again anyone can write an exceptional summary pertaining to their work history.
The number one thing, even more than experience, that needs to be taken into account when hiring a person who is going to manage a department is their leadership abilities.
There are a lot of traits that define a good leader. Especially when it comes to getting one that will help manage a branch of a company. Is your manager a good leader? Well, look for these traits and judge for yourself:
I think one of the most under-appreciated traits that people look at when defining a leader is self-awareness. Most of the time, people get caught up in all the office politics and they think they’re truly above one another. This is one of the major reasons that flat-hierarchies have taken off in the startup world.
A small example: way back when, I was working at a fast-food chain and the managers thought they were gods. Whatever they said went, and if we didn’t do something to their liking, we would get written up or fired. In my humble opinion, I think it’s wrong for someone to boss around a couple of teenage kids and make the employees feel as if they aren’t good enough.
I’m going to assume that there are similar situations going on when people get a bigger role or powerful position within the corporate world. Let us never forget what Honest Abe said:
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Which brings me to my next point …
A lot of people think that they have themselves figured out and that they are better than what they are.
Society has gotten all self-promotion, with new social networks popping up every day, we feel like any accomplishment deserves to be lauded.
Part of being a leader … or really just an overall great person, should be being humble about any accomplishment. Just taking things as they are and not needing the social approval for something.
Maybe dealing with a lot of adversity (within a workplace or out) allows you to have all those so-called “humbling experiences” in life that make you even more humble. So embrace the nasty and be welcoming to all experiences, good or bad. And remember:
So aside from being humble and being aware, an excellent manager differs from a bad manager by having a lot of drive and motivation.
We’ve mentioned disengaged employees before, but having a disengaged manager is an absolute no-no. A great manager (or leader) has to have an intrinsic desire to not only complete their tasks, but to make sure they can make the people around them better.
If a manager is working with the sole purpose of getting the bare minimum done and collecting a paycheck, it’s not good for the company, or for employees that want to grow within the company.
There needs to be that drive to succeed and a commitment to excellence. There also needs to be a lot of communication between employees and leaders. Even if a manager has an opposing point of view from an employee, it’s important to not let ego get in the way and establish a good work relationship between the two.
The worst thing that can happen is for this kind of thing to go unnoticed and for bad managers to continue to roam workplaces, when there are plenty of good capable leaders that can do better.
Having employee engagement surveys can affect management in real-time. It’s just a matter of how it’s formatted and if they’re anonymous pulse surveys. An anonymous employee survey may serve more accurate to weed out any bad managers, or even offer some feedback so they can sharpen their skills and do better.
There are, however, more factors that go into making the ultimate leader out of a manager.
There are plenty of ways that a manager can destroy employee motivation so it takes a real great person to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those around them, in order to motivate them.
Employee motivation is a tough gig, not everybody has the mental ability, or sometimes strength, to understand. So here are some tips:
Emotional intelligence is one of the most under-appreciated factors that come with having the ability to motivate others.
I always like to allude to sports, and the best coaches (in any sport) know how their players are feeling and when it’s time to put them in, take them out, or make a decision that will impact a player.
Managers need to treat their team like they are coaching them in a sport. They have to know when and how to push their employee’s buttons and give them a challenge. They also have to know when to back off and give their employees a little bit of space and autonomy.
This is why micro-management is frowned upon.
Aside from having a lot of good personal traits, having a culture that encourages transparency to employees is significant for leaders. It’s vital to let employees be aware of what’s going on at all times.
Not only is Buffer transparent with their employees, but they also like to keep their users in the loop with how transparent they are. They even posted a blog discussing their employee salaries and their beliefs behind how (and why) they should spend their revenues.
Having an ego-maniac as a boss will lead to plenty of stressful times at work, but the worst thing that you can have as a leader is someone who isn’t true to themselves or true to their employees.
When a manager can’t admit that they’re wrong, they’re proving that they aren’t meant to lead and are incapable of making tough decisions. Also, the inability to admit a wrong can lead to lack of innovation.
Well, there is no safe route when it comes to innovation and a great leader is aware that failure is a possibility. A bad leader will blindly ignore that fact and ask that their team succeeds at doing the tasks.
A good leader will know and admit what they did wrong. A bad manager will often blame the people or the process as a way of covering up the insecurity that comes with failing at something.
To sum it up, bad managers can kill creativity, innovation, and motivation.
Can a manager lead the pack? Is he or she going to be the person that is able to be a visionary and drive the company or department to prominence?
Having a great leader as a manager means that the person will have to be a person to lean on when things get rough and seek advice from when you’ve tried every solution and things haven’t worked out.
This person has to be indispensable in order to become a great leader. Everyone relies on this person to be the source of the company’s mojo, for innovation, and for being able to use smarts and wits to get out of any situation.
If you don’t know if your manager is a great leader or not, just simply ask yourself if you’d be willing to go above and beyond for them.
If you want to be a better leader, then you have to be able to be that kind of person. The type of person that will lay it out on the line for the people around them.
Are you a manager just seeking to be a better leader? It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone. I will give you three quick tips/traits to be a better leader:
Honesty ties in a lot with transparency. I’ve already touched up on it, but it’s vital that you have clear communication between you and your employees or colleagues. If something’s bad, give them the vegetables, if things are great, give them the dessert.
You also have to gain the ability to delegate tasks properly. I can’t stress this one enough, but if you’re going to have someone do the tasks, make sure they’re the right person for the job. Know your team well enough to know their strengths and weaknesses, and when that’s done, give out assignments accordingly.
No great manager is going to ask a designer to do a huge sales pitch and a salesperson to go draw up some new online marketing ads. It’s a bit of an exaggerated example, but I hope you get the point.
Lastly, have a positive outlook on things. They say your attitude determines your altitude, so keep your head up high when things get rough. Don’t look at a downfall or a misstep as such a bad thing, view it as a part of growing. It sucks, but adversity and tough times makes us better people.
Also, use that positive attitude to make the people around you feel better. One of the best way to cheer up anyone is with a quick laugh or some water cooler talk about nothing. It’s the times that we spend “not doing work” that allows us to really love what we do.
It’s hard to really determine these kinds of things. You may have a great manager, but a poor leader. Either way, lets hear your opinion. Contact us on Twitter @Officevibe and let’s have a conversation.