Have you ever heard someone say, “Actually, I have to admit that I think I am really bad at managing other people. My staff all hate me and I’m incapable of doing my job”.
The answer is no, of course. No one says this either because they don’t believe it, or because they don’t want to appear incompetent. Unfortunately research tells us that from employees’ perspective, there aren’t that many terrific managers out there.
What should we take out of this dichotomy? Perhaps at least, we could all admit to ourselves that there is room for some improvement in way we lead others. After all, it’s not sort of skill that is easy to get 100% right all of time. It might just be that we don’t specifically know what improvements to make, so here’s 10 ways to start:
1.Get a reality check Finding out what others think of our leadership style can be real eye-opener, and is often most powerful driver for change. Using a 360 survey where you receive feedback from your staff, peers and manager, gives you some concrete information on a sometimes intangible subject. Use an existing tool (and there are some highly regarded ones out there) or else simply let your staff know that you are seeking feedback from them in order to improve your style.
A word of caution though, your staff may not feel safe in giving feedback if they believe you are going to use it against them, or become defensive about what they say. It’s up to you to create a safe environment so they feel comfortable in being open and honest with you.
2.Don’t use power of your position to get things done If people are questioning why certain things are done, or logic of decisions, never pull rank in response. A critical component of effective leadership is getting buy-in from your team and colleagues. You don’t get buy-in by telling them that decision is right one because you are boss and you made it. Your team may not always agree with what is being done, but they are more likely to respect you if you take time to explain your rationale.
3.Don’t think of employees as things that need to be controlled or managed Instead, give them latitude to take actions and make decisions. Trust is a vital component of leadership. If you can’t trust people to do their jobs well, then you either have wrong people in jobs, or you have right people but you haven’t trained them sufficiently. Let them do what they are there to do, without leaning over their shoulders all time, or demanind to know how they spend each minute of their time.
4.Listen, listen listen If there are unhappy or disgruntled people in your business, you can guarantee that at some stage they’ve tried to tell you what problem is. It’s likely you weren’t listening (or didn’t want to listen), or perhaps your initial reaction made person think twice about bringing problem to you. Truly listening is one of greatest skills to develop, regardless of your role. Good listeners are genuinely interested, convey empathy, and want to find out what’s behind conversation. Great leaders are great listeners –without exception.