Guest post by Jason Lauritsen
We love to blame managers when things go wrong.
Employee turnover goes up—it’s because they are leaving their manager.
Performance goes down—it’s probably because the manager isn’t providing feedback.
The survey says employees are disengaged—we look to the manager as the cause.
And while there is some truth in all of this, it can’t all be the manager’s fault, can it?
Being a manager is hard work. The job comes with a lot of responsibility and, often, not enough training or support for how to do the job well. As a result, a lot of managers end up repeating the mistakes of the bad managers they’ve had in the past.
Then, they get blamed whenever anything goes wrong.
The good news is that being a good manager isn’t all that complicated. It all starts with forming a healthy, positive relationship with each of the people you manage. If you think about what you do to maintain good relationships with the most important people in your life (your significant other, close friends, family, etc.), you can find some good clues there:
1. See the best in them.
When we look at our best friends, we see the positives and we reinforce them. We don’t focus on negatives or beat them up over mistakes. If we did, we wouldn’t have any friends. Each member of your team shows up to work every day wanting to do a good job and make a positive contribution. Look for the best in each person and use that as a starting point for every conversation.
2. Show some interest.
Just the other day, a friend shared with me how disheartening it was when someone she met with failed to ask her a single question during their time together. Be curious about your people. Ask questions to learn more about who they are outside of work. Get to know what’s important to them and demonstrate you care by asking follow-up questions regularly.
3. Say “thank you.”
Research from the book, How Full is Your Bucket, shows that more than two-thirds of employees report receiving zero recognition each year. Working for fifty-two weeks without feeling noticed is pretty demoralizing. Make sure your people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts. Thank them for their hard work. Give them a high five or send them a quick email letting them know you appreciate them. The more your employees feel appreciated and valued, the better your team will function.
4. Make time for them.
I once asked my seven-year-old daughter how she knows if someone loves her. One of the first things she said was, “they spend time with me.” Even as children we know that where we choose to spend our time is incredibly meaningful. Set aside one-on-one time for employees on a regular interval. Just the act of making time will send a powerful message.
These are four simple yet powerful steps towards being a good manager. When your people feel like you know them and care about them, you will have created a foundation that makes managing easier and more productive.