Problem: How can you become a manager you’d love to work for?
A good boss is a critical piece of employees’ productivity and well-being, and effective leadership is a key factor in motivating workers to stay in their current job instead of chasing an outside offer. In a labor market like this, you can’t afford to be a lousy manager.
There’s the old saying that people leave managers, they don’t leave companies. And it really is true. If you have a great manager and know that they care about you and are helping you grow and achieve your goals, then they’re not gonna leave for a few bucks. And with the Great Resignation right now, it’s even more important.
Be Active and Not Passive in Growth as a Leader
The skills required for a management role, much like the necessary skills for any job, can be learned. The right resources exist– you just need to take advantage of them.
A lot of individual contributors are promoted into management without receiving any training. So just because they were great at coding or creating sales copy it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to lead people well. First of all, they need some great training to make sure that they are leading people in the best way.
Tip #1: Understand the Three Components of Leadership
A strong management style requires a balancing act. You can’t be a pushover– but you can’t be a tyrant, either. You must be able not only to meet people where they are but to inspire them to become better versions of themselves.
We think of it as a three-legged stool, with management, leadership, and coaching. Management is about making all those tough decisions that you have to make as a manager: where people sit, what work they’re going to work on, what their goals are, things like that. And then leadership, we consider influence. So, having influence with your people, you know, having them do the things that they want to because they want to. And then coaching, helping them grow and get better. So, as a three-legged stool, if you are missing one of those legs, you’ll tip right over and you won’t be as successful as a manager.
Tip #2: Set Concrete Goals
Your employees want to do great work. But before they can, they need a North Star to guide their efforts and focus. That’s where you come in. Set aside time to engage deeply with your workers’ barriers and motivations.
People crave achievement. If you don’t set the bar on that, then they don’t know if they’ve achieved anything. I’m a big fan of one-on-ones. Probably the favorite part of my week is getting to sit down with each of my direct reports and talk about how I can help them grow, clear any blockers, clear up any miscommunication. Communication is hard and, through those one-on-ones, we’ve cleared up things so much earlier than we would have if we waited two weeks or if we waited for the next team meeting or halfway through a project.
Tip #3: Know Yourself and Your Employees
People are complicated and unique, which means a one-size-fits-all management approach simply won’t work. Take time and leverage the resources at hand to truly understand what makes your workers tick. Then, watch communication issues and minor frustrations melt away.
We have this concept of the user manual. When you buy a refrigerator, it comes with a product manual on how to best use that refrigerator, right? Or vacuum. We, as people, are the most complex machines on the planet, so we should come with a user manual too.
Tip #4: Leverage Technology to Keep Your Team Whole
It’s especially challenging to maintain cohesiveness and high morale in this era of remote work. But it doesn’t have to be.
We have software called Mantra 360. it’s in the Microsoft Teams environment. So, if you’re already living in Teams, it’s a great way to manage your team from there. You can set your goals, you can up your one-on-ones and team meetings, do performance reviews if you want. There’s also a great dashboard that shows your agenda. It shows you your individual team members’ health, so to speak. So, where are they on their goals?