You must have read lots of articles related to this topic already. What I’m sharing with you today is a feedback from my very own experience. I’ve been working in a few different sectors for the past years and I had the chance to supervise people with different ages & backgrounds. Now, let’s try to answer this question ” What are the qualities of a good manager ?”
We could gather the required qualities in 3 groups such as :
- Competencies : use your skills to manage, support and guide your team in their career, daily tasks & issues encountered.
- Behaviour : be an example for your team. Your words and actions, your overall energy will influence them.
- Experience : get the most out of your professional background will help you cope with different personalities and daily unpredictable situations.
How to actually do it ?
Be a good listener
It may sound a bit cliché but it’s so true. Show that you care and do care (for real!) about your team. Having empathy helps a lot building a good relationship with your team. Besides, by putting yourself in their shoes you will be able to better understand what they don’t say to you and even what they don’t know yet.
Don’t try to cheat. Don’t try to be someone else than what you are. If you were nominated Manager, it means that you have what it takes to do the job with what you already are. Be sure of that. We all have our weaknesses but focus on your strengths. It will then be easier for you to keep up your posture as manager. As a manager, remind that you will face various situations and cope with sometimes complicated personalities. If you pretend to be someone that you are not, you will find very hard to be consistent in your behaviour. And you will lose credit. To be legitimate in the eyes of your team you need to be stable. In your words & acts. This is one of the key to gain their respect.
If you tell your team that you will do something. Do it. That must be your priority. Especially if you are building your relationship with your team. One must know that human nature is suspicious. You must set an example to build up the trust with someone. Be exemplary for your own sake. If for some reasons you cannot keep up your work, tell them. But first, ask yourself if you have good reasons for that. That this is not an excuse that you give to yourself. If not, tell them. Explain pedagogically the reasons but don’t go too deep in detail. Never excuse yourself. Otherwise, they might take it the wrong way.
Take the first step. Trust them. Believe in them and they will trust you in return.
You cannot change people, all you can do is adapt yourself to the person your are facing. Also, show flexibility when a person ask you to leave early for personal reasons. Even better : push them towards having a personal life, extra professional activities. Any individuals with a happy personal life will be more loyal, committed and performing in his work.
Stay calm as much as you can. Live communications are the most difficult situations. To help you keep your mind clear, remember not to take anything personally. If you are facing an aggressive situation, don’t reply. Leave you ego behind (it has never helped anyway). End quickly your conversation and reschedule a meeting. It is better to run away from a difficult situation than risking losing control of yourself and saying things that you may regret. In writing communications such as emails it is much easier. Remember to chose wisely your words. If you cannot help but writing, write a DRAFT first. Don’t send it yet. Force yourself to quit your desk for a while, go outside for a quick walk, breath and clear your head. When you feel calm, come back to your laptop, open your draft, go through it and make the required modifications.
Keep in mind that writing remains. Don’t jeopardize your career for a brief adrenaline rush.
Take risks and assume the impacts. Assume responsibility for your team. If a team member has an inappropriate behaviour or is not performing his duties, put him in his place. However, remember to give him a chance to change his behaviour and/or improve his performance, always. Convoke him to a, let’s say, “rein in meeting” if it’s the first time. Otherwise, harden the language and call it a “disciplinary interview”.
Be a mentor
Inspire your team. Give them a vision, a long-term goal. Get them aligned and focused on it. Your mindset is crucial. Don’t go bossy, show them what to do instead of just telling them. Help them prioritize their tasks. Arbitrate when needed.
Easier said than done you’d say ? Here are my best practices to help your succeed 🙂
Tips & tricks
Beware of TEAM SIZING
To take good care of the people in your team, it is crucial to have a team size adapted to the time you can spend with each of them. Lots of variables can be taken into account like the maturity of your team (most juniors/seniors/both ?), their personalities (some can be very time-consuming), your own experience as a manager etc. In any case, if this is your first time as a manager, refuse to get a bigger team. Don’t be greedy: know for a fact that your relationship with your team will suffer if your not available for them. But this is just recommendation 🙂
Beyond setting up meetings in your team member’s agenda, it is essential that you keep up with that. At first, we feel very motivated but in the long run if you are not working on the same projects as your team, you can be overwhelmed by your daily tasks and find excuses to postpone your team meeting. Which is a mistake. My tip : within your first day with your team, I strongly recommend you to plan a meeting with every single member of 30 minutes to an hour (from my experience it is closer to an hour-meeting) so that you can clarify your way of working, get to know your team and tell what you expect from them.
Build a TEAM SPIRIT
Offer coffee, in France we used to buy “croissants” but pastries will do the job too ! Bring your team out even just for lunch. A restaurant would be a start. If for any reasons, it’s not easy to meet outside with your team, propose special themed lunch. Be creative or ask your team to make proposals :).
COMMUNICATE with your team
Communication is the key to build and maintain your relationship. Ask how they are doing, show interests in their life, their hobbies, their family, their kids ! Get to know your team. Check on everyone at least once a week. Besides, you will get precious info as to where they are in their lives, difficulties that they are facing etc. So that you can try to make their life easier at work as much as you can
And be thankful. Give credits to boost their confidence. Show to your team your appreciation. That you are aware of the hard work they are performing. It is an ideal way to develop happiness at your workplace !
Be FAIR at all times
Treat your team members with equity otherwise you leave the door open to frustrations, discouragement, maybe even a loss of team’s solidarity. Simply put, you may bring a negative atmosphere in your team. My tip : ensure that no one is ever forgotten. Even in simple things such as an email sent to the team to organize an outdoor team activity, a lunch break etc.
Make them autonomous as quick as you can. Encourage them. Motivate, help them maintain their efforts over time. Above all, make them achieve their own potential. Help them develop and discover their abilities. Not only they will be happier but they will also become more productive !
Don’t micromanage, DELEGATE !
I never tried to micromanage but delegate was the one thing that I was terrible at. But I’ve learned over the years and know what ? It is saving me now SO much time that I don’t understand why I did not do it earlier. Anyways, please, for your own good : delegate some of your work. Start with lower priority tasks.
Last but not least…Be POSITIVE !
If you follow my tips, I’m sure you will be a perfect manager ! In any case, stay optimistic. After all we learn more from failure then success 😉
Thank you for reading this post until the end ! Feel free to share your thoughts and leave your comments right below !
Founder of happyethics.com