So, you want a smooth-running operation and a productive team. The first thing to know is this: your people don’t want to be managed. They want a manager who provides leadership, opportunity and support. If you’re going to manage anyone, manage yourself. That means keeping a cool head and a steady presence under the daily pressures that all of you face. Your job is to help your team be successful. Like a sports coach, get to know each player’s strengths and offer roles that leverage those strengths. People who utilize their strengths at work are over seven times more productive than those who do not.
Put people first. Provide training and professional development that enable team members to add value and advance their career paths. Cultivate strong relationships with upper management so you’ll be in a position to advocate for the resources your team needs. “My boss genuinely cares about my welfare,” says Pat, an energy consultant. “At the end of every one-to-one, he asks if there’s anything I need from him.”
Barring emergency, command and control management is best left to the military. Rather than dictate, create an exploration zone where your team can address challenges, generate ideas, and determine options for moving forward. Questions like “What’s on your mind?” and “What do you suggest?” promote shared responsibility.
Involve your people in decision-making as much as possible. They will be far more invested in change if they have had a hand in shaping it.
Show interest in who people are outside of work. Inquire about their families and hobbies. What inspires Mark to coach his son’s Little League team? What does Anne enjoy about cycling?
Finally, champion your team members with timely recognition of good work. “Thank-you, I couldn’t have done it better!” will be incentivizing and deeply appreciated.
By: Sally Ward
Sally Ward is an executive coach who works with leaders to be the best they can be. Contact her at www.WardLeadership.com