A recent survey determined that ‘dislike of their boss’ is the reason 31% of employees give for quitting their job. No one wants to be that boss. You know the one... the boss who micromanages the smallest details, complains constantly about how difficult their job is, and doesn’t seem to understand the ‘constructive’ part of constructive criticism.
Fortunately, being this type of boss is easily avoided. It may take a little effort on your part, but adopting a constructive management style and taking the management tips below to heart will vastly improve your working environment.
Whether you’re a freshly minted supervisor who’s recently been promote to a position of authority (congratulations!) or have years of experience in a managerial role, it’s never too late to be a better boss. These 10 management tips are a start:
1. Be a leader, not a dictator
The difference between asking and telling is a stark one. If you make demands and speak harshly with employees, resentment is a sure thing. Ask for change and lead with respect. Chances are your employees understand what they should be doing. Check in regularly to make sure they’re on target and ask how you can help them meet their personal work goals and overarching company goals. This kind of support structure is more productive than making demands and micromanaging.
2. Listen to your employees
Any guide on effective management styles will tell you that communication is essential. Remember that keeping the lines of communication open is a two way street. To be an effective manager, you need to communicate your expectations to employees, but you also need to let them do the same. If your employees need support or want to share feedback with you, good or bad, they should feel comfortable doing so. Lend your ear and make an honest attempt to understand their point of view. If they come to you with grievances, don’t brush them off. Instead help devise solutions that address the root problem.
3. Consider yourself a part of the team
The most effective managers understand they’re a part of the team they manage. Sure, you’re the one giving directives and delegating tasks, but that doesn’t mean you’re ‘above’ your team. Thinking of yourself as ‘one of the team’ will help you understand your subordinates’ mindset and ensure you’re able to provide assistance when they need support. If you recognize your team is a unit, it’s easy to see you must work together and support one another with your individual strengths. That includes yours.
4. Hire the right talent
Great bosses surround themselves with highly qualified talent they can trust to get the job done. As a leader you have to be able to delegate tasks amongst your team. If you hire the right people to disperse those tasks to, your job is easier, as are all the jobs of all others on your team. A network of talented professionals who all support, collaborate and complement one another is the key to a strong team.
5. Be a mentor
As a supervisor, you probably have more work experience than those who work below you. Instead of hoarding your experience for yourself, share it! Mentoring employees will help them grow and expand on their existing talents. Mentoring your employees shows you care about their career trajectory beyond what they can do for you. If you’re a really good mentor, your employees will be all the better for sharing your experience.
6. Lead by example
It can be easy for managers to get sucked into the mentality that they must be “managerial” and not get stuck in the trenches with their employees. This is the wrong way of looking at your role. As the head of your team, it’s up to you to set the standard. Show how you want things done rather than telling. Employees are more likely to respect managers that follow their own rules.
7. Build trust
There are many ways to build trust. In fact, many of the other points on this list are about building employee trust and respect. The simple fact is employees that believe in you and your abilities are more likely to put in effort. If they respect you, they’ll probably also want to impress you with their passion and dedication to work.
8. Don’t make praise taboo
Too many bosses spend their time correcting employees and lecturing them about the “right” way to do things. This accomplishes little beyond breeding resentful employees. While it’s probably not a good idea to make praise your only form of communication with employees, don’t let it fall to the wayside either. When one of your employees does something well, let them know it! This doesn’t mean constructive criticism isn’t on the table. It simply means recognizing the good in addition to areas for improvement. Employees are most likely to thrive in an balanced environment that includes both.
9. Set reasonable goals
Setting goals for both yourself and your team is an important part of moving forward. A team without goals can be directionless. Make sure you and your employees have something to reach for, and communicate these goals with them. Regular team meetings are a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has planned a route to success.
10. Encourage problem-solving
As a boss, you don’t have to solve every problem on your own. If you’ve been following along so far, you recognize that your employees are your best asset. If you’ve hired talented individuals, your team should be self-sufficient to a degree. They’re as capable of solving problems as you are. You shouldn’t have to step in to constantly to put out fires if you’ve got a capable team surrounding you.
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