What Type Of Manager Are You?

There are two types of managers: leaders and directors.  One guides their team the other bosses them. Strive to be a leader and commit to supporting your team every step of the way.  By doing this, you will earn their respect, and your team will be more productive over time.

Leaders Earn Respect

A manager who chooses to direct needs to be more selective in choosing team members.  This group are usually self-motivators and tend to complete things their way. This is fine if you are looking for team members with “I” mentalities.  This seems to negate the word “team”, does it not?  By leading a team by example, and creating a sense of unity, you earn the respect of your employees.

A Routine Will Keep You on Track

Whether you choose the path of a leader or a director, developing a routine that works is vital.  You will need one for yourself, and another for your team.  Perhaps you will opt to start your week off with a Monday morning motivational meeting and end your week with a recap.  Begin each day clearing your inbox and end it in the field.  Development is key, and you need to keep your team in mind.

Demonstrate Accountability

As a manager, you expect your team to be accountable for their actions, but are you willing to be accountable for yours?  Again, lead by example.  Own up to your errors and take responsibility for your mistakes. You have no need to apologize for being human, but as a great leader you must demonstrate accountability.  Then fix the mistake and move on.  Also, when a team member makes a mistake, be willing to let them move on after they correct it.  Chances are they will feel bad enough; there is no need to hold it over their head.

Never Be Too Busy to Listen

Always take the time to listen to your team.  This will earn their respect and give you insight to what they are thinking.  It also gives you a chance to address their concerns before they become too much for them to handle. When your team knows they can come to you with any issue, they will be more likely to do so before it gets out of hand. Remember, you were given two ears and one mouth for a reason: to listen more and talk less.  When it is time to give feedback, a great manager makes it positive and constructive.

Demonstrate a Work Ethic, Don’t Push One

As a manager, you need to have a strong work ethic, but also have to accept that not all team member will possess the same.  Your team will consist of campers and climbers, and you need them both.  You need the campers to fill your standard positions (cashiers, clerks, warehouse, etc.), and you need your climbers to become future leaders (supervisors, project managers, account managers, etc.).  Both are essential and should be treated as such.

Remember, you spend a lot of time with your team, so choose wisely.  They will become your work family, and this is invaluable.  You also need to realize that your team members have lives outside of work, and as a manager you should respect that.  As you give them room to grow in their position, they will begin to develop a work ethic which includes the loyalty and respect you have earned.

Do You Manage Your Team Effectively?

My wife is always reminding me that a happy wife is a happy life.  The same goes in business: a happy employee is a happy work life.  Keep that in mind and realize that both positivity and negativity spread.  When your employees are positive, they will be more productive. The best way to accomplish this is to effectively manage your team.

Don’t Take Advantage of Helpful Team Members

Life happens.  There is no denying that.  When you get in a jam you may have specific “go-to” employees you count on.  These are the ones who always seem ready, willing, and able to help out.  It may be a quick easy solution to your problem at hand, but it will eventually burn them out.  It may get to the point that they feel they are not allowed to say “no” to you.  You may think as the manager, they should not say no to you. However, if you have given them tasks and deadlines, you are putting their reputation, along with yours, on the line.

Appreciate the Effort, Don’t Expect It

Could asking the same employee(s) cause unnecessary overtime?  As a manager, it is important to be aware that overtime is not just about money, it is about time.  At the beginning of this, I talked about happy wives and then happy employees.  Picture the wife your employee goes home to after several hours of overtime.  Now and then most spouses are understanding, knowing their husband (or wife) is working to provide and the job sometimes warrants extra time.  This is acceptable within reason.  Start making it a habit and your employees now see you as someone who expects them to come to the rescue, instead of being appreciated.

Utilize Your Entire Team

When you run into a jam, take the time to call on others, and be systematic about your approach.  Do you have any part-time employees or students available?  Make an effort to never call someone in from requested time off or, worse yet, vacation.  Always reaching out to the same people can make your other employees think you are playing favorites.  You might utilize a sign-up sheet if time allows to help cover these times.

Be Realistic

Deadlines must be met; however, you still need to be realistic in your requests.  If your team is unable to accomplish something, they may feel like failures and will never achieve success.  It will also result in a delay in completion, causing you to miss your deadline anyway.  On the same hand if you promise something to your team, you need to follow through.  If you don’t follow through, you will lose their respect.

Ideas Can Come from Anywhere (and Anyone!)

When working with your team, everyone should be contributing to the success.  Take the time to listen to your team and consider any idea they may have.  The idea may not work, but they will still feel like they were part of the process.  If the idea does work, then you and the team will benefit.  Whenever you use an employee’s idea, give them credit.  There is nothing worse than a manager that takes all the credit, especially when the idea did not come from him. Earn the respect of your employees, as well as the company’s, by sharing the credit.  Always make your team feel valued and be sure to reward those who go above and beyond.  Let them know that you appreciate all that they have done.

Autonomy: It’s a Beautiful Thing

Naturally you want the project to be successful so give your team the necessary space to work.  Let them work through the challenges and find possible solutions. Give them a chance to make, and learn from, mistakes.  Be available as a leader and be willing to get your hands dirty but refrain from micromanaging.  This will just cause them to back off, and you could miss out on some great ideas.

Take the Time to Listen

Work-related group activities are essential and should be scheduled regularly to increase team morale. When you start engaging in one-on-one interests with an employee, you begin sending mixed messages about your role as a manager.  Establish a healthy line and take care not to cross it.  Listening to your employees about their hobbies is one thing, but a good manager keeps the relationship professional and does not partake in those activities with their employees.  It is always good to show interest in your employees and listen to their stories. Maybe they want to talk about their weekend, or the home run their son hit.  Taking a few minutes to exchange pleasantries makes your employees comfortable and it makes you approachable.  Make sure you are there for your team and take the time to listen.  You were given two ears for listening and only one mouth for talking for a reason.

Go Manage Yourself!!!

An old adage says that before you take care of anyone else, you have to take care of yourself.  Ask any mom how she handles kids, a home, and an exhausted husband at the end of a long day.  You’ll hear everything from a bath, a good book, a cup of coffee, or a long massage.  All of these things are FOR HER and gets her ready for the next round.

Be Available

It’s no different in business.  To be an effective leader, you need to take care of yourself personally, but also professionally, before focusing on your team.  Manage yourself, check your attitude, and be ready.  One way to increase your chance of success is to make sure you are accessible to your team.  A surefire way to do this is to keep an open-door policy.  This tells your team you are there for them.  Be open to hearing their feedback, even when they disagree with you.  You should never be afraid to admit you made a mistake, and you are open to other suggestions.  Your will earn the respect of your team this way and they will take more pride in their work.  There is always room for improvement in your performance, as well as your team’s.

Knowledge is Power

The more knowledge you can pass on to your team, the more powerful they will be.  Keep striving to master your skills, demonstrating to your team that you are always seeking to improve.  This will help you continue to succeed and set a good example for your team.  Win, win.

Communication is key, and simplification is equally important.  If you can’t explain it simply, you probably don’t know it well enough yourself.  Do not try to impress your team with your knowledge.  You are here to instruct them and build their knowledge.  That is what will impress them in the end.

What’s Next, Boss?

Keep your team informed and let them know their interests are part of your plans.  Even if what you are involved in doesn’t directly involve them, keep them apprised of your projects.  Let them see how you set up for success.  Be willing to mentor them so they can understand how you do your job.  They don’t have to be able to do it, but they should have an understanding of it.  Conversely, you should have an understanding of their jobs.  You don’t have to know how to specifically perform their tasks, but you should have a clear overview of them.  This is yet another way to earn your teams respect.

Everyone Matters

You should always be firm, but fair.  Treat everyone the same. Allow for flexibility on your part, and always look for feedback.  Your team needs to know they matter and that you appreciate their efforts.  Tell them you value them as a team member.  Give them tasks on a regular basis.  This gives them a feeling of value.  Delegating not only frees you up to handle the more important tasks, it allows your employees to feel like part of the team.  Not only does this give value to your team, it also keeps you from spreading yourself to thin.