Whether you have been managing for 25 years or a few months, ask yourself the question – has anyone taught you how to manage or are you trying to figure it out as you go? Managing employees well leads to impressive outcomes and unparalleled team success, but how do you know if you are doing it right?
There are numerous books on how to manage. Some companies provide Manager 101 type classes, but few managers are given the necessary tools to be able to manage well. Improperly trained managers fail often, and their failures lead to excessive and costly talent turnover.
Here are tips to aid in your successful management journey:
- DO listen to what your employees are saying. Each employee brings a unique perspective to solving problems and you WILL learn something every day from your subordinates. Try it out. Ask them how they would tackle a new project or address an issue that you might be facing. You may be surprised and you WILL learn something new.
- DO NOT act like a parent. If you are managing employees there is a good chance they are adults, just like you. Make sure to check your parenting skills at the door and be a good manager not a parent.
- DO find a mentor. Having an unbiased party with whom you can explore ideas, or difficult situations will help make a win-win situation for everyone. Having a mentor will make you an outstanding leader. Also consider selecting an executive coach to help expand your mind around better leadership skills and help you to identify target areas to work on.
- DO NOT tease, yell, scold, or bully employees. This conduct might be misconstrued as harassment, but in all cases everyone needs to be treated with respect. Set an example for your employees by being an open manager that enables employees to thrive in each of their careers. Every employee contributes worthwhile ideas to the discussion.
- DO acknowledge successes with the team. Everyone loves praise and being recognized for a job well done. Figure out how your employees like to be recognized (i.e. in front of the team, possibly being able to leave a few minutes early, or just a quick thank you email). Find their feedback needs and you will get some significant returns on your time investment.
- DO NOT embarrass an employee by pointing out a mistake in front of others. If the employee is in the wrong discuss the matter behind closed doors and ask the employee how he/she would fix the situation. We are human, we all make mistakes, and in most cases the employee is hardest on him/herself versus you.
- DO ask for feedback on what else you could be providing your employees. It could be by supporting them differently, possible training, communication, etc. Whatever the feedback is, it is amazing when we open ourselves up to improving our management skills from the employee feedback we receive. Think about asking one of your employees for his/her honest opinion about what they need from you.
- DO NOT hold things back from employees when you don’t have to. Being transparent with employees about what is going on in the organization may help you find solutions. Do not break confidentiality, but sharing relevant information with employees can minimize false rumors or correct inaccurate information.
- DO delegate. Most employees love to be responsible and like to take on important challenges. As a good manager, you probably already have amazing talent who want to try new things. Remember you are training future leaders.
- DO NOT forget to say thanks. Some employees live and breathe for their careers and a genuine thank you will go a long way. Maybe you are the worst communicator, but you are trying – just a simple thank you (even via email) should provide valuable returns.
Every day you have the opportunity to enhance your management skills. Take the time to seek out a mentor or coach to help you, find a notable management book, and/or attend a well-regarded Manager 101 class . All of these things can help you become an exceptional leader.
Stephanie Nelson is the Chief Executive Officer of Blue Fire, LLC, a Human Resources consultancy based in Chicago, IL. Ms. Nelson has more than 18 years of human resources experience in healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and non-profit fields. Previously, she was the Vice President of Human Resources at the American Osteopathic Association and a Senior Executive Director with the American Hospital Association. Stephanie is a certified professional coach, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Dayton and an Executive MBA from Thomas More College. Follow her on Twitter.