Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.-John Maxwell
I have had the privilege to work with and interview some very committed managers. They were also leaders. There are really three common practices successful managers commit to doing consistently:
1. Successful managers recognize efforts
I often hear that many managers spend most of their time finding what their direct reports are doing wrong. While constructive criticism is important in developing people, more managers need to make a focused effort to recognize what their teams are doing right.
As a manager, I make it a habit to look for the positive in people, and then let any areas of improvement surface as I build a relationship of trust and partnership with each member of my team.
If a manager sees their role as controlling or changing their direct reports, they will never be able to get to a position of trust; they will miss out on the ability to drive improved business outcomes.
Idea: Managers, take the time to be kind to your team members. Set out to find the best in them, you will be energized by what you see. If you see an area for improvement, coach them with a caring mindset.
2. Successful managers empower
We read a lot about the positive impacts of empowering employees to improve their work environment and the customer experience. Supporting this concept is not just another employee engagement tactic. It also gives power back to the employee to receive the true value from the work to which they commit and for which they long.
Many managers are afraid to relinquish control over their teams and the work that they do, because it may make them look bad, or even worse, make one of their team members look good! Temkin Group research points to the fact engaged employees are 78% more likely to do something that is good for their company even if it is not expected of them. Temkin also uncovered that “companies with superior financial performance have 1.6 times as many engaged employees as do companies with lagging financial performance.”
I recently had the opportunity to interview a couple very strong and caring managers for a customer of mine. The habit that spoke to me the loudest was that they put their full trust in their team members to deliver a great customer experience to their customers.
Does it always happen? Not always, but it happens most of the time.
Do the managers coach and provide the required tools and direction for their teams to thrive? Absolutely!
In the end, though, it was the managers’ expectations and trust that their team members were just as committed as they were to being their best for the customer that made all of the difference.
We all want to have some ownership in the work that we do every day. This is a crucial component for long-term customer and employee retention.
Once managers realize that empowering employees also increases their career dividends, they can truly begin to have a positive organizational impact.
Idea: Managers, loosen up a bit. Trust that you hired the right people to do good work and let them shine!
3. Successful managers commit to one-on-one time
In my work with teams, the one thing that they appreciated most was the one-on-one meetings I scheduled with them on a regular basis.
Managers are busy.
I get it.
Interestingly enough, a manager can get more done when they set that focused time to connect with their direct reports, because they can accomplish more through others. I know that it may be difficult for a manager to commit to weekly meetings, but bi-weekly or even monthly meetings can still work if they are hard-wired into the manager’s calendar and they are meaningful.
Click Here to download a free tip sheet for some valuable guidance for having meaningful one-on-one conversations with team members.
I am all too aware that manager’s days are bogged down with tactical work that they are required to do. This commitment to their team members will not only go a long way to building deeper team connections, but they will also bear more fruit by being a caring manager.
Idea: Managers, stop what you are doing now and schedule one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports. You will not regret it. In fact, you may even get more done as a result!
These three practices are extremely undervalued my many managers, but not by their teams. If you are struggling to achieve team goals or organizational directives, I would highly recommend that you consider these practices.
Be energized by the positive change you will experience!
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